“40 Years of Making Year End Music Lists: 1979-2018” by Johnny Cole

What does “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp (1979) and “Sideshow Love” by Will Kimbrough (2014) have in common? In the year of their release, they were both named my favorite album of the year. The same can be said of such albums as 1982’s “Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen, 1989’s “New York” by Lou Reed, 2013’s The Ghost of Escondido” by Escondido and 2017’s “First Cigarette” by Travis Meadows.

Songs (singles/album tracks) like the mid-Eighties hits “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen (1984), “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds (1985) and “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood (1986) would top my year end “Favorite Songs” list during their years of release, too.

Beginning in 1979 to most recently in 2018, I have consecutively made a year end list ranking my favorite 100 or more albums and songs. Of course, taste in music does change and quite possibly what I may like now didn’t rank as high or even appear on the original list.

In the late Seventies, a love for Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, an avid study of Billboard magazine and Rolling Stone’s year end album lists became contributing factors in what I would do for many years to come. As a “young music geek”, I would archive setlists, music charts and tour schedules. Long before the internet, a number of like minded serious fans of music (aka “music geeks”) developed a system of sharing our finds and research with one another via fax or the old fashioned way, the U.S. Postal Service. This may now seem to some to have been a colossal waste of time, but in the coming years it would assist some of us with a enjoyable careers of doing what we love.

Inspired by the 1968 animated feature film The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”, Elvis Presley’s 1973 international satellite broadcast of “Aloha from Hawaii” and even my very first concert to attend on Wednesday, June 20, 1973 “Elvis Live at Mobile Municipal Auditorium”, I have developed an ongoing desire of following music to the extent of attending 300+ shows annually (in the Eighties, I began adding a listing of favorite shows to the mix).

My Top 100 lists have been included in various outlets both in print and online. Regardless of where a list appears, it has always been done because of a love of music and the fulfillment of my boyhood dreams.

My #1s from 1979-2018

Here are the top choices as they were listed each year beginning in 1979 to the present :

☆ 1979:
> Album:
• Breakfast in America – Supertramp (released Mar. 1979)
> Single/Track(s): 3 songs tied for #1
• “Logical Song” – Supertramp (Mar. 1979)
• “Lonesome Loser” – Little River Band (July 1979)
• “All My Love” – Led Zeppelin (Aug. 1979)

_______________

☆ 1980:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• The River – Bruce Springsteen (released Oct. 1980)
• Double Fantasy – John Lennon & Yoko Ono (released Nov. 1980)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Hungry Heart” – Bruce Springsteen (Oct. 1980)
• “(Just Like) Starting Over” – John Lennon (Oct. 1980)

_______________

☆ 1981:
> Album(s): 3 albums tied for #1
• Long Distance Voyager – Moody Blues (released May 1981)
• Bella Donna – Stevie Nicks (released July 1981)
• Freeze Frame – J. Geils Band (released Oct. 1981)

> Single/Track:
• “Really Wanna Know You” (July 1981)- Gary Wright
_______________

☆ 1982:
> Album:
• Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen (released Sept. 1982)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Gypsy” – Fleetwood Mac (Aug. 1982)
• “Steppin’ Out” – Joe Jackson (August 1982)

_______________

☆ 1983:
> Album(s): 3 albums tied for #1
• Murmur – R.E.M. (released Apr. 1983)
• Synchronicity – The Police (released June 1983)
• The Wild Heart – Stevie Nicks (released June 1983)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Stand Back” – Stevie Nicks (May 1983)
• “Every Breath You Take” – The Police (May 1983)

_______________

☆ 1984:
> Album:
Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen (released June 1984)
> Single/Track:
“Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen (May 1984)
_______________

☆ 1985:
> Album:
• Southern Accents – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (released Mar. 1985)
> Single/Track:
• “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds (Feb. 1985) *This song would top my decade’s end chart too.
_______________

☆ 1986:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• Back in the High Life – Steve Winwood (released May 1986)
• Live 1975–85 – Bruce Springsteen (released Nov. 1986)

> Single/Track:
• “Higher Love” – Steve Winwood (June 1986)
_______________

☆ 1987:
> Album:
• Tunnel of Love – Bruce Springsteen (released Oct.1987)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Luka” – Suzanne Vega (Apr. 1987)
• “Brilliant Disguise” – Bruce Springsteen (Oct. 1987)

_______________

☆ 1988:
> Album:
• The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 – The Traveling Wilburys (released Oct. 1988)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “The Flame” – Cheap Trick (Mar. 1988)
• “Tougher Than the Rest – Bruce Springsteen (June 1988)

_______________

☆ 1989:
> Album:
• New York – Lou Reed (released Jan. 1989)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Dirty Blvd.” – Lou Reed (Jan. 1989)
• “Downtown Train” – Rod Stewart (Nov. 1989)

_______________

☆ 1990:
> Album:
• No Depression – Uncle Tupelo (released June 1990)
> Single/Track:
“Wicked Game” – Chris Isaak (Nov. 1990 * the song did appear in 1989’s David Lynch film “Wild at Heart”.
_______________

☆ 1991:
> Album:
Out of Time – R.E.M. (released Mar. 1991)
> Single/Track:
“Losing My Religion” – R.E.M. (Feb. 1991)
_______________

☆ 1992:
> Album:
• Automatic for the People – R.E.M. (released Oct. 1992)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
“One” – U2 (Feb.1992)
• “Creep” – Radiohead (Sept. 1992)

_______________

☆ 1993:
> Album:
• Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell – Meat Loaf (released Sept. 1993)
> Single/Tracks(s): 3 songs tied for #1
• “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M. (Apr. 1993 )
• “Runaway Train” – Soul Asylum (June 1993)
• “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” – Meat Loaf (Sept. 1993)

_______________

☆ 1994:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• What a Crying Shame – The Mavericks (released Feb. 1994)
• Wildflowers – Tom Petty (released Nov. 1994)

> Single/Track(s): 3 songs tied for #1
• “The Streets of Philadelphia” – Bruce Springsteen (Feb. 1994)
• “Fade into You” – Mazzy Star (Apr. 1994)
• “Lightning Crashes” – Live (Sept. 1994)

_______________

☆ 1995:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette (released June 1995)
• Garbage by Garbage (released Aug. 1995)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “One of Us” – Joan Osborne (Feb. 1995)
• “Only Happy When it Rains” – Garbage (Sept. 1995)

_______________

☆ 1996:
> Album:
• New Adventures in Hi-Fi – R.E.M. (released Sept. 1996)
> Single/Track:
• “Stupid Girl – Garbage (Mar. 1996)
_______________

☆ 1997:
> Album:
• Time Out of Mind – Bob Dylan (released Sept. 1997)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Bitter Sweet Symphony” – The Verve (June 1997)
• “Not Dark Yet” – Bob Dylan (Sept. 1997)

_______________

☆ 1998:
> Album:
Up – R.E.M. (released Oct. 1998)
> Single/Track:
“You Get What You Give” – New Radicals (Nov. 1998)
_______________

☆ 1999:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• No Exit – Blondie (released Feb. 1999)
• “Hours” – David Bowie (released Sept. 1999)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Maria” – Blondie (Feb. 1999)
• “Thursday’s Child” – David Bowie (Sept. 1999)

_______________

☆ 2000:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• Two Against Nature – Steely Dan (released Feb. 2000)
• All That You Can’t Leave Behind – U2 (released Oct. 2000)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Yellow” – Coldplay (June 2000)
• “Beautiful Day” – U2 (Oct. 2000)

_______________

☆ 2001:
> Album:
•  Love and Theft – Bob Dylan (released Sept. 2001)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “This is Where I Came In – Bee Gees” (Apr. 2001)
• “God Gave Me Everything” – Mick Jagger (Nov. 2001)

_______________

☆ 2002:
> Album:
• The Rising – Bruce Springsteen (released July 2002)
> Single/Track:
• “The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen (June 2002)
_______________

☆ 2003:
> Album:
• Elephant – The White Stripes (released Apr. 2003)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Hurt” – Johnny Cash (officially released – Feb. 2003)
• “Clocks” – Coldplay (Mar. 2003)

☆ 2004:
> Album:
• How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb – U2 (released Nov. 2004)
> Single/Track:
• “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” – Jet (U.S. release May 2004)
_______________

☆ 2005:
> Album:
• Devils & Dust – Bruce Springsteen (released Apr. 2005)
> Single/Track:
• “Best of You” – Foo Fighters (May 2005)
_______________

☆ 2006:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions – Bruce Springsteen (released Apr. 2006)
• Modern Times – Bob Dylan (released Aug. 2006)

> Single/Track:
• “Rehab” – Amy Winehouse (Oct. 2006)
_______________

☆ 2007:
> Album:
• Magic – Bruce Springsteen (released Sept. 2007)
☆ Single/Track:
• “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” – Bruce Springsteen (Sept. 2007; would be officially released as a single in Jan. 2008)
_______________

☆ 2008:
> Album:
• Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends – Coldplay (released June 2008)
> Single/Track:
• “Viva la Vida” – Coldplay (released May 2008)
_______________

☆ 2009:
> Album:
• Working on a Dream – Bruce Springsteen (released Jan. 2009)
> Single/Track:
• “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga (released Oct. 2009)
_______________

☆ 2010:
> Album:
• The Union – Elton John & Leon Russell (released Oct. 2010)
> Single/Track:
“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons (U S. release Feb. 2010)
_______________

☆ 2011:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• Bon Iver – Bon Iver (released June 2011)
• The Harrow & The Harvest – Gillian Welch (released June 2011)

> Single/Track:
• “Holocene” – Bon Iver (Sept. 2011)
_______________

☆ 2012:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• Wrecking Ball – Bruce Springsteen (released Mar. 2012)
• Time to Begin – Rosco Bandana (released Sept. 2012)

> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “California” – Anna Harwood (July 2012)
• “Long Way Down” – Rosco Bandana (Sept. 2012)
_______________

☆ 2013:
> Album:
The Ghost of Escondido – Escondido (released Feb. 2013);
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
“Bad Without You” – Escondido (Feb. 2013)
• “Cold October” – Escondido (Feb. 2013)

_______________

☆ 2014:
> Album:
• Sideshow Love – Will Kimbrough (released Feb. 2014)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “Stubborn Love” – Larkin Poe (Aug. 2014)
• “Overachiever” – Larkin Poe (Aug. 2014)

_______________

☆ 2015:
> Album:
Complicated Game – James McMurtry (released Feb. 2015)
> Single/Track(s):
“Museums” – John Calvin Abney (Jan. 2015)
_______________

☆ 2016:
> Album:
• Walking with A Stranger – Escondido (released Feb. 2016)
> Single/Track(s): 2 songs tied for #1
• “After the Mardi Gras – Anthony Crawford (May 2016)
• “Million Reasons” – Lady Gaga (Nov. 2016)

_______________

☆ 2017:
> Album:
• First Cigarette – Travis Meadows (released Oct. 2017)
> Single/Track:
• “Pray for Jungleland” – Travis Meadows (Oct. 2017)
_______________

☆ 2018:
> Album(s): 2 albums tied for #1
• It’s Not Like You Don’t Know Me – Eric Erdman (released Feb. 2018)
• Warning Bells – Escondido (released Sept. 2018)

> Single/Track:
“Broken Heart Mender” – Anthony Crawford (Apr. 2018)
_______________

* On occasion, certain songs topped my year-end chart as an album track, though it would officially be released as a single the following year.

* The album collage was designed by J. Cole. It features albums that made the annual list and/or featured top songs during the 40 years (1979-2018).

 

© The Southland Music Line. 2019. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line

 

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