Underrated Artists From Decades Past
By Yasmin Ettobi
Who is the first artist that you think of when asked about “older music?” Chances are, influential groups such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or David Bowie are probably some of the first to cross your mind. These music pioneers have been around for decades, and have influenced huge numbers of musicians to this day. But sometimes, when we think about music back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, we forget that there were huge quantities of artists right alongside the greats. Though many of these musicians were making stellar tunes, they never got recognized to quite the degree as someone like Elton John. Here are just a couple of these underrated artists, and a reason or two to explain why they’re worth listening to in 2017.
Daryl Hall & John Oates
You’ve probably heard the 1980 smash hit “You Make My Dreams Come True” and 1982’s “Maneater,” but few people are aware of this power duo’s discography other than that. Before the years of their danceable pop tracks, the sound of Hall & Oates was a lot more smooth and soulful. Their debut album Whole Oats was released back in 1972, and though it was a bit of a flop, the two just kept making better and better music. Abandoned Luncheonette was released the following year and to this day is considered one of the group’s best albums. Daryl Hall’s crooning vocals combined with John Oates’ powerful voice makes for an overall unforgettable listening experience.
Songs to listen to: “She’s Gone,” “Sarah Smile,” “Do What You Want, Be As You Are”
Few bands of the 1970s personify glam-rock quite like T. Rex did. The English rock band was formed by Marc Bolan and faced a decade-long career composed of many ups and downs. At their peak, the hype surrounding these rockers was comparable to that of Beatlemania. The swirling electric guitar and gritty vocals featured in their greatest work makes it near impossible not to love. Unfortunately, the band came to a horrific halt in 1977 when Bolan was killed in a car accident. Though a tragic story, the legacy of T. Rex lives on even today. Artists such as Garrett Borns have sited Bolan’s band as a source of inspiration, and have even been said to inspire the legendary David Bowie.
Songs to listen to: “Solid Gold Easy Action,” “Jeepster,” “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”
Even if you’ve never heard of Carole King, you most likely know some of her work without realizing it. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by the Shirelles, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, and the theme song to Gilmore Girls are all songs composed by King. In the 1960s, King and her husband Gerry Goffin wrote over two dozen hits for other artists with each other. She did not emerge as her own artist until the 1970s, with 1971’s Tapestry catapulting her into stardome. King’s unique, throaty voice, heartbreaking lyrics and gorgeous piano segments are just some of the reasons why she is so beloved today. Though underrated, King has recently received some well-deserved attention with the release of a Broadway musical called Beautiful, which tells the story of her life.
Songs to listen to: “Beautiful,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “It’s Too Late”
You know that one super cool song in The Breakfast Club that repeats the phrase “don’t you forget about me” over and over again? That fantastic track is the product of the Scottish rock band, Simple Minds. Though most widely known for “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” Simple Minds is one of the most talented yet underrated newwave groups of the 1980s. Any fan of Duran Duran would immediately fall in love with Simple Mind’s sound. The synth heavy tracks which hold a flair of post-punk make it sound like you’re walking through the hallways of a classic 80s movie.
Songs to listen to: “Sanctify Yourself,” “All The Things She Said,” “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”