What does that song mean?

Blasting Back to the Past: 5 Older Artists You Should Revisit

Posted Feb 11th 2011, 01:12

With the advent of iPhones, iPods, and iEverything, or so it seems, it's a lot easier for anyone to get their hands (and ears) on music for some much needed downtime and reflection. The newest pop stars and rock bands like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Muse dominate iTunes and the music charts, but we would make a mistake of epic proportions – equivalent only to Ashlee Simpson caught lip-syncing live on national television – if we failed to remember the talented chords of memory every once awhile.

With that said, here is Lyric Interpretations' list of five older artists we think you should revisit – and all the reasons why – starting with No.1 on our countdown:

  1. Johnny Cash

With the economy still in tatters and unemployment up, the gravely-voiced Man in Black stirs the chords of memory with his bluesy lyrics and biblical remonstrations. The best hits are the old hits, and you’re sure to feel better about your circumstances when you hear Cash opine about others in “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire,” and “I Walk the Line.” Still, you're not properly commiserating with Cash until you hear his Grammy Award-winning rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.”

  1. Michael Jackson

You can't make a list of five older artists without including the late King of Pop; somewhere, somehow, it has to be a breach of something important. Michael Jackson lived to become an institution in the music industry and redefine an upbeat style of expression once relegated to Motown. If you’re in the mood for pop sensations guaranteed to make you smile, moonwalk your iPod or iPhone music selection to Jackson’s “Beat it,” “Thriller,” or “Billie Jean.”

  1. Queen – and Freddie Mercury

When you think of the 1980’s, you either think of the aforementioned King of Pop – or you think of a five-member band called Queen, not excluding Freddie Mercury, its iconic front man. Together with Mercury, the group produced such rousing period pieces as “Barcelona,” “We are the Champions,” “Don't Stop Me Now,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” These fiery, inspiring performances are sure to start a bounce in your leg and a beat in your head.


  1. Billie Holiday

All the more reason you should add to your musical repertoire and listen to Billie Holiday, a.k.a. Eleanora Fagan, if you're struggling to remember this soothing siren. An iconic singer whose voice earned her a place in the minds of her people, Holiday gave birth to a new tempo and vocal pattern with memorable hits like “Don't Explain,” “Fine and Mellow,” and – her most trendsetting performance – “Lady Sings the Blues.”

  1. Elvis Presley

Rounding out No. 5 on Lyric Interpretations’ “Blasting Back to the Past” countdown is the King of Rock and Roll. His hypnotic hip gyrations may be outdated, but the rock star who hailed from Memphis and forever changed the landscape of American music. “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Rock Around the Clock,” and “Burning Love” all spring to mind a pelvis-shaking time in rock and roll folklore.


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