Anyone who knows me knows I'm a major music nerd. Major. I have my iPod on from the time I get up in the morning until I get home from work and even then, I usually have a couple more hours of listening before bedtime. Last Christmas I got a new computer. The first thing I did was transfer over my music library from the old computer to this one. All my music is stored in iTunes (and on a second back up drive). The one downside of moving the music is the play counts on all my tracks got reset. That kind of annoyed me because I made a point of going through and making sure everything had been played at least once since being added to the iTunes library. Now I had 85,000 songs with a big fat ZERO in the plays column. So naturally, being the OCD kind of guy I can be, I set out to listen to everything again. I set up all new playlists. I made one for each genre. I made one for each decade. I made one for each year. I wanted to make sure I had a good representation of music on my iPod at all times. A couple of months ago I got an idea. I wanted to start listening to everything in chronological order. So I started with my year by year playlists and began listening to the earliest one. And I've been going through, one year at a time, listening to the gradual evolution of popular music. Now I don't listen to stuff like this every single day. That could get pretty boring pretty quickly, but at least two or three days a week I do. I started listening to 1930s stuff and have managed to work my way up to 1973, which is what I'm currently listening to (Diana Ross' album FIRST TIME I SAW HIM, to be specific). It's been fascinating listening to stuff this way. A few weeks ago I noticed a definite shift in style. The year was 1971 and there was a definite line drawn separating stuff that's considered Oldies from the beginnings of the modern easy listening radio format.
Something else I've noticed as I've been progressing through the years is back in the 50s and 60s, it wasn't uncommon for someone to release two or even three albums in a single year. As time is going on via my iPod, I'm noticing the frequency is getting a little further apart. It's still not uncommon to see two releases from an artist (for example, Diana Ross' FIRST TIME I SAW HIM was one of two albums she had out that year), but it's more likely they'd be putting out one in one year and following up the next year. Nowadays it's almost unheard of two put two albums out in back to back years, let alone in the same year.
I'm having a blast making my way through time. I'm edging closer and closer to the disco era. A few more weeks and I'll be there. And before you know it, I'll be firmly entrenched into the New Wave era, something I'm seriously looking forward to. That's the stuff from my high school years and stuff that I've never tired of.