Songs By 6 Artists We're Supposed To Know: Part I

Songs By 6 Artists We're Supposed To Know: Part I

Whether it's critics, your much cooler friends, or that ancient Rock radio DJ, there will always be, for most of us, a large contingent of music artists we're supposed to know.  Now, maybe we've heard the names Garland Jeffreys and Graham Parker and Sonic Youth and Richard (formerly of Richard & Linda) Thompson, but could you name one of their songs?  Could you state the kind of music they've created?  That's what this is about.  Songs by these artists we're supposed to know so that we do.

Songs By Artists We're Supposed To Know: Part I

In Part I, we'll feature 6 different artists.  Give each the same chance, say, two minutes.  You should know by then (sorry, perfect album-sides in today's culture aren't in the cards for anyone except the heartiest souls) what their music is kind of like and if you'd like to explore some more.  By all means, go ahead and do so.

We won't always be featuring an artist's signature song for this series.  Instead, we'll find something that we like and share it with you.  So no more waiting.  Here are today's 6 artists we're supposed to know and a song by each.

1.  Garland Jeffreys

This song goes back to 1973, although Jeffreys goes back to the late-1960s.  He's been a contemporary of Lou Reed and influenced artists like Bruce Springsteen.  He's still around playing and recording.  Give a listen to "Wild In The Streets."

2.  Sonic Youth

Want to stir some passion?  Tell somebody who likes Sonic Youth that Sonic Youth sucks.  Be ready to tuck and roll, because they'll come out swinging.  

Sonic Youth are an American band that dates back to New York City around 1981.  They pioneered the Alternative movement that took hold at the end of the decade and mixed different sounds and tunings with lyrics and an attitude that you can trace back to Punk with a trace of New Wave.  They played and recorded all the way into the 21st century.  "Schizophrenia" is off of the band's 1987 album, Sister.

3.  Graham Parker

An Englishman who had a band called The Rumour (note the Englishman spelling).  He's almost always been a critic's darling.  You can see the current state of his career in the 2012 Judd Apatow movie, This Is 40.  "Get Started, Start A Fire" is from Parker's solo album in 1988, The Mona Lisa's Sister.

4.  Moby Grape

San Francisco, 1960s.  Think about a burgeoning Hippy movement and early corporate record companies trying to capitalize on the culture.  Moby Grape grew out of that scene and released 5 albums between 1967 and 1971.  "Omaha" is from their first album, Moby Grape, and was the only single to chart.  The album itself reached #24.  

5.  Richard & Linda Thompson

While this song is credited to Richard and his then-wife, Linda, it's all Richard Thompson.  There's some great guitar work here.  That's why some people consider him to be the one of the greatest guitarists of all-time.  The song is from '81 or '82, depending upon where you do your research.  This is a good one.

6.  Solomon Burke

This is from 1965 and you have to wonder if Paul McCartney liked the title so much he had to name a song in a similar way (I'm thinking "Got To Get You Into My Life").  Probably.  He and Lennon were great at paying homage to the greats (just listen to their renditions of "Kansas City" and "Please Mr. Postman.").  

That said, Solomon Burke was one an early R&B/Soul singer, a little smoother than James Brown.  You can compare him to Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett and then say to yourself, 'How come I've never heard of Solomon Burke?'  We don't have an answer.  For a great version of a Solomon Burke song, watch the original Blues Brothers movie and listen to "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love."  Ahh, we'll just give it to ya after "Got To Get You Off My Mind."  We hope you're okay with that.

Who's on your list of artists you think we should all know?

Dave Philp is Assistant Professor of Music Management at William Paterson University and Chief Organizer Guy of YouChoose, a live events music fundraising and social media company that has raised many, many thousands of dollars for non-profit causes. Join the good fight and help change your corner of the world by visiting YouChoose now: To sign up for our email newsletter, click HERE. Mmkay?