MLK Day never fails to find us reflecting on Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. As a lifelong record collector, musician and now Music Curator for Pandora – it also reminds me how the birth of the Civil Rights Movement was a groundbreaking time in music. It was a time that inspired songwriters of many genres to pen some of the most powerful and beautiful songs in the history of recorded music. During this part of the 1960s and 1970s, Gospel, Folk, Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues and even Jazz included musicians singing about themes of freedom and equal rights.
To commemorate this incredibly important time in history, we’ve made a Pandora Mix Tape: Songs Of Change.
As much as I dig all kinds of new music, it’s the songs recorded during this time that tend to populate most of my music collection – my Pandora profile alone is telltale proof of my love for the classics. My generation’s musicians are lucky in that they never had to muse on the draft or the kinds of segregation that existed in the past.
With 2014 around the corner, let’s rewind through 2013 to capture some of the most memorable musical moments with our End of Year genre stations.
Pop music reached record popularity in 2013 with the help of gigantic crossover hits from Rock, R&B, Hip Hop and Dance. Check out 2013 Top Pop for the biggest Pop chart-toppers on Pandora. It was a very good year for TV alums, veteran Justin Timberlake and newcomer Ariana Grande both made a huge splash. Beyond all the hype, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez delivered with the biggest hits of their career. And of course one of the most anticipated releases of the year was from One Direction, following their multi-monster singles. Finally, leading up to his 2014 Superbowl performance, Bruno Mars proved to be a superstar with the energetic “Locked out of Heaven” and “Treasure” to the more emotional “When I Was Your Man”. …
Long before the inception of Pandora, I can vividly recall the very first thumbs-down that I gave to a song. It also happened to be my first time butting heads with my parents on musical taste. It was Christmas of 1980 and my father had just dropped the hi-fi needle on a scratchy 45-rpm copy of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “A Night To Remember.” Even though I was only nine-years-old, I knew before the first chorus that I didn’t like his voice.
“What is this?” I asked. My father replied, “It’s my favorite Christmas song by Engelbert Humperdinck.” I remember suddenly laughing uncontrollably.
“What? What’s so funny?” My dad demanded. “That’s not his real name,” I insisted. Now my father’s face was starting to redden as he retorted, “The man has a terrific voice. He’s English…just like The Beatles!” …