Seven Decades of Song (6)
My latest series of monthly strolls down memory lane is Seven Decades of Song, reflections on music through the years. So far we have visited the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s. This month, we reach the 2000s.
The Millennium was a focal point for so many of us for such a long time; it’s hard to believe it’s more than seventeen years since we stood on the brink of a new century, waiting for a bright new Star-Trek inspired technological future— that’s if the dreaded Millennium Bug didn’t cause the end of civilisation as we knew it.
Running my eyes over the charts for this decade, I am again struck by a couple of thoughts. Even more so than in the 1990s, I don’t recognise many of the artists or their songs. And secondly, of the names I do recognise, there are far fewer superstars and a lot more who came to our attention via the reality shows. The chart is topped by Will Young and Gareth Gates, both of whom won fame via Pop Idol. They are closely followed by Alexandra Burke, Shayne Ward, and Leona Lewis, all graduates of X-Factor. In fact, nearly half the top twenty selling singles of the 2000s came from reality stars.
Failing to find inspiration or memories from singles, I turn to the album charts. And find some old friends. Right up there at number one, with more than 30 million sales are The Beatles. Of course, this doesn’t herald the great re-uniting that many people hoped for after the band split in 1970. In fact, only Paul and Ringo were still with us by the year 2000. The album is called 1 and is a compilation of virtually all the chart toppers they had in the eight-year period of their existence. And right there we have a catalogue not only of a great band’s own success, but the source of so many cover records, choir performances and even orchestral concerts over the years.
In the 1960s, I let Tom Jones push Paul McCartney out of my personal number one spot. Now, forty years later, it’s time to redress the balance. It really has been a Long and Winding Road.