The Year of the Rat is underway, so we're paying tribute to songs celebrating specific years in hopes that 2020 will be joyous and unforgettable (in a majorly good way).
Track 1: 1979 - Year of the Goat
Written by Billy Corgan, 1979 was released in 1996 as the second single from the Smashing Pumpkins' album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Corgan was 12 years old in 1979, and the song represents a nostalgic coming of age. It landed in the Top 20 in several countries, peaking at No. 12 in the US, and was nominated for two Grammys.
Track 2: 1901 - Year of the Ox
Released in 2009 as the lead single from their fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, 1901 is by French indie pop band, Phoenix. About early 20th century Paris, the song became the band's first hit in the US, peaking at No. 84 on Billboard Hot 100.
Track 3: Miami 2017 - Year of the Rooster
Miami 2017 (I've Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) is from Billy Joel's 1979 album, Turnstiles. Written in the 70s as the city of New York was about to declare bankruptcy, Joel has described the song as a science fiction, apocalyptic tale as told by a narrator, who had witnessed the events, to his grandchildren. Joel performed the song in a benefit concert after the 9/11 attacks.
Track 4: December, 1963 - Year of the Rabbit
December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) is by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and was included on their 1975 album, Who Loves You. Written by keyboardist Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker, his wife, the song was originally titled "December 5th, 1933" and celebrated the repeal of Prohibition. Franki Valli suggested the title be changed and that the song be about a man’s first love affair with a woman. It hit No. 1 in both the UK in 1975 and the US in 1976.
Track 5: Summer of '69 - Year of the Rooster
From Bryan Adams’ fourth album, Reckless (1984), Summer of ’69 was partially inspired by sexual relationships and partly inspired by Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty, which references 1965 and 1969, and the 1971 movie Summer of ’42. The song peaked at No. 5 on Billboard Hot 100.
Track 6: 1990 - Year of the Horse
From The Temptations' 1973 album 1990, the song 1990 was not released as a single. The album was the last the Temptations would record with Motown producer, Norman Whitfield. Tired of Whitfield's socially conscious messages because they were failing commercially, the group wanted to get back to singing ballads. Songs like 1990 were sandwiched between more commercially viable tracks.
Track 7: 1999 - Year of the Rabbit
The title track from Prince’s 1982 album 1999, 1999 was not meant to be a New Year’s Eve party song. Written during the height of the Cold War, the song is about the fear of nuclear Armageddon. When originally released in 1983, it peaked at No. 44 on Billboard Hot 100. It was re-released the next year as a double A-side to Little Red Corvette, this time peaking at No. 12. The first week of January, 1999, the song re-entered the charts at No. 40. Following Prince’s death, it entered a fourth time at No. 41, later moving up to No. 27.