2017 hasn’t turned out to be quite as disastrous (musically at least) as 2016. Many deaths to be mourned in 2017, but not to the extent as in 2016. Luckily, there have been many great moments, concert-wise as well as new releases.
Even though 2017 hasn’t surpassed 2016, many great musicians have passed away:
Gregg Allman, Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Chuck Berry, John Blackwell, Charles Bradley, Glen Campbell, David Cassidy, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Holger Czukay, Pat DiNizio (The Smithereens), Fats Domino, Gordon Downie (The Tragically Hip), J. Geils, Johnny Hallyday, Grant Hart (ex Hüsker Dü), Al Jarreau, Tom Petty, Peter Sarstedt, Joni Sledge, Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown drummer), Hans Vermeulen, Leon Ware, John Wetton, George Young (member of the Easybeats, AC/DC producer), Malcolm Young (composer and guitarist AC/DC)
May 22nd, 2017
It almost could get no worse, for music lovers anyway: the shocking attack during the Eagles Of Death Metal concert in Paris on November 13th, 2015 at Le Bataclan. After the attack 90 dead and over 200 wounded were mourned.
Ever since concerts are more heavily secured, something I encounter regularly.
Yet, on May 22nd, 2017, it all went terribly wrong again: an attack after an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester. The visitors, which consisted largely of children, were leaving the hall, when a bomb exploded: 22 dead and over 120 wounded, the youngest victim being only 8 years old.
Under the moniker One Love Manchester a benefit was organized within 2 weeks, where Grande was accompanied by many (international) stars.
Luckily this year had some major highlights:
- On March 8th Thundercat released his new album Drunk;
- On March 19th Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis gave a great concert;
- On June 17th Arcade Fire performed on the Best Kept Secret Festival;
- On June 23rd thePurple Rain Deluxe Expanded was released, containing unreleased and (also for me) unknown material;
- On July 7th Grace Jones performed on day 1 of the North Sea Jazz Festival;
- On July 8th Solange performed on day 2 of the North Sea Jazz Festival;
- On July 28th Arcade Fire released Everything Now;
- On September 2nd LCD Soundsystem released their highly anticipated new album American Dream;
- On September 12th LCD Soundsystem performed at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, playing a highly energetic and tight show;
- On October 1st Kamasi Washington released Harmony Of Difference;
- On October 6th Nick Cave overwhelmed the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam with an impressive concert and did that again one week later in Antwerp;
- On December 5th Ibeyi surprised me with an original and infectious show.
N.B.: All concert urls point to the Dutch A Pop Life site, and are therefore only available in Dutch.
The past year had many jubilees to be celebrated. (A selection of) The next albums had an anniversary this year:
- 60 years old:
Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album
- 50 years old:
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Doors – The Doors, Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?, The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
- 45 years old:
David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, Can – Ege Bamyasi, Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come, Miles Davis – On The Corner, Neil Diamond – Hot August Night, Donny Hathaway – Live, Curtis Mayfield – Superfly, Lou Reed – Transformer, Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything?, Neil Young – Harvest, The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
- 40 years old:
AC/DC – Let There Be Rock, David Bowie – Low en “Heroes”, Bootsy Collins – Ahh… The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!, The Congos – Heart Of The Congos, Culture – Two Sevens Clash, Devo – Satisfaction (single), Earth, Wind & Fire – All ‘N All, Fleetwood Mac – Rumours, Junior Murvin – Police & Thieves, Kiss – Alive II, Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express, Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus, Maze – Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, O.S.T. – Saturday Night Fever, Parliament – Live: P-Funk Earth Tour en Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome, Iggy Pop – Lust For Life, Queen – News Of The World, The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks… Here’s The Sex Pistols, Donna Summer – I Feel Love (single), Talking Heads – 77, Television – Marquee Moon, Peter Tosh – Equal Rights
- 35 years old:
ABBA – The Singles: The First Ten Years, King Sunny Adé – Juju Music, Bauhaus – Press The Eject And Give Me The Tape, Kate Bush – The Dreaming, Crass – Christ, The Album and How Does It Feel? (single), Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Tropical Gangsters, Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, Divine – My First Album, Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age Of Wireless, Duran Duran – Rio, The Ex – History Is What’s Happening, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message, Icehouse – Primitive Man, Imagination – In The Heat Of The Night, Joe Jackson – Night And Day, Michael Jackson – Thriller, The Jam – Dig the New Breed, Mick Karn – Titles, Killing Joke – Revelations, King Crimson – Beat, Prince – 1999, Prince Charles & The City Beat Band – Stone Killers, Roxy Music – Avalon, Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park, Simple Minds – New Gold Dream, Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska, Talking Heads – The Name Of This Band Is, Time – What Time Is It?, Vanity 6 – Vanity 6, Zapp – Zapp II
- 30 years old:
Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded, Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers – Live ’87, The Cult – Electric, Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full, Richie Havens – Sings Beatles and Dylan, Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction, Michael Jackson – Bad, Jill Jones – Jill Jones, LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer, Madhouse – 8 and 16, Prince – Sign O’ The Times and The Black Album, R.E.M. – Document, Replacements – Pleased To Meet Me, Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson, Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel Of Love, Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline According To Terence Trent D’Arby, U2 – The Joshua Tree, Wendy & Lisa – Wendy & Lisa
- 25 years old:
Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…, Dr Dre – The Chronic, James Brown – Love Power Peace – Live At The Olympia, Paris, 1971, Prince & The New Power Generation- O(+>, R.E.M. – Automatic For The People, Stereo MC’s – Connected, Sugar – Copper Blue, Neil Young – Harvest Moon
- 20 years old:
Erykah Badu – Baduizm, Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole, Imani Coppola – Chupacabra, Daft Punk – Homework, Howie B – Turn The Dark Off, Junkie XL – Saturday Teenage Kick, Pavement – Brighten The Corners, Radiohead – OK Computer, Reprazent – New Forms, U2 – Pop, Us3 – Broadway & 52nd, The Verve – Urban Hymns
- 15 years old:
2 Many DJ’s – As Heard On Radio Soulwax, pt. 2, Cody Chesnutt – The Headphone Masterpiece, Peter Gabriel – Up, Danko Jones – Born A Lion, Prince – One Nite Alone… en One Nite Alone… Live!, Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf, Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
- 10 years old:
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible, Battles – Mirrored, The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Grinderman – Grinderman, Interpol – Our Love To Admire, LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver, Janelle Monáe – Metropolis, Prince – Planet Earth, Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals, Neil Young – Live At Massey Hall 1971
- 5 years old:
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave, Cat Power – Sun, Cody Chesnutt – Landing On A Hundred, Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city, Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE, Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
This past year was the first full year of my blog. I’m very pleased with how the year turned out, which produced 82 stories and 11 reviews.
Average number of articles
In the last year I published one article each 4.5 days on average. In 2016 the average was one article in each 6.5 days. In the Closing of 2016 article I wrote that that average would decrease, because of the amount of time my blog consumed. Clearly, I did not succeed to live up to that claim. Regardless, I hereby renew my intention of decreasing the amount of output, preferably to one article every week.
Average number of readers
At the end of 2016 the average number of readers per article was 140. This number increased significantly over the course of 2017: now my Dutch articles are read by 233 readers on average. My English articles are read by 678 (!) readers on average.
N.B.: The number of readers of my 2016 articles have more than doubled over the course of 2017!
Number of readers
The number of articles, which have been read by over 1,000 people (combined), is high. What stands out is that the top 10 of best read articles for 2017 only consists of Prince or Prince related stories. But other stories did well also. In 2017 29 of my stories were read by over 1,000 people. I think that’s quite a lot. There are a few articles that stand out. The Sign O’ The Times article is read by over 14,500 readers! Needless to say, but I am very pleased with that.
The feedback I receive from all different parts of the world is positive and more than welcome.
Feedback from persons I write about is rather special. On three stories I received feedback by people directly involved in the subject matter:
- Sign O’ The Times: Coke Johnson, co-engineer on the album;
- Jill Jones: two (!) replies by Jill Jones herself;
- Crass: reply by Penny Rimbaud, co-founder of Crass.
I was, and still am, very proud of those replies.
Facebook is my main social media outlet through which I announce new articles. During the months October and November I was banned from posting to Facebook groups for three weeks. The reasoning behind my ban remains unclear. Facebook is not that informative.
The three week ban had its impact on the read-numbers, which dropped with more than 80% during that period. Since then I have added A Pop Life to Pinterest and Tumblr. Just to be sure, I announce new articles in less Facebook groups.
The Huffington Post
During the course of this year I was approached by Aisha K. Staggers, a writer for The Huffington Post. She wanted to interview me on my blog and, particularly, my stories. I was truly honored by the gesture. Recently, I answered her questions by mail. The article was published yesterday, December 29th, 2017: A Pop Life: The Music of Black America from Outside of America, One Blogger’s View. A very proud moment!
My personal favorite articles:
My both Prince series are favorites as well.
Prince in 1987:
|Madhouse: Prince and jazz|
|Prince is victorious (once again) with Sign O’ The Times|
|Jill Jones, one of the best Prince satellite acts|
|The Black Album: Prince gets funky|
Prince in 1982:
|Vanity 6: sex sells, or something more?|
|What Time Is It? The Story Of The Time|
|1999: Prince on his way to the top|
Most popular stories
The ten most read stories from 2017 (measured on 12/27/2016 00:00AM):
|Number of showings|
|Prince is victorious (once again) with Sign O’ The Times||894||13821||14715|
|Jill Jones, one of the best Prince satellite acts||414||7186||7600|
|RIP, John Blackwell||778||2691||3469|
|What Time Is It? The Story Of The Time||364||3069||3433|
|1999: Prince on his way to the top||356||3017||3373|
|The Black Album: Prince gets funky||525||2765||3290|
|Prince – Deliverance||524||2711||3235|
|Vanity 6: sex sells, or something more?||454||2534||2988|
|Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain Deluxe Expanded||445||2303||2748|
|One Nite Alone… Solo piano and voice by Prince||405||2064||2469|
2017 was a decent music-year, just like 2016. Many great albums and two or three which will be remembered in a decade or so. Once again no Sign O’ The Times or Voodoo, genius, albums this year. I did see some truly remarkable concerts this past year.
The top 10 albums and top 5 concerts are mentioned below (not in order of rating).
Top 10 albums
- Arcade Fire – Everything Now
- Beck – Colors
- Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
- Foxygen – Hang
- Kelela – Take Me Apart
- LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
- Soulwax – From Deewee
- Spoon – Hot Thoughts
- Thundercat – Drunk
- Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference
Top 5 concerts
- Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis, 19-03, Amsterdam
- Arcade Fire, 17-06, Beekse Bergen
- Solange, 08-07, Rotterdam
- LCD Soundsystem, 12-09, Amsterdam
- Nick Cave, 06-10, Amsterdam
What do you think of 2017? A great year for music or mediocre? Let me know and leave a reply!
22-05-2017 Who Is Smaller? & Prince – Forever In My Life images: unknown
Thundercat – Drunk image: pitchfork.com
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Advertentie & U2 – Popmart – The Lemon & Prince – The Black Album – CD & The Time – Live images: pinterest.com
Simple Minds – New Gold Dream image: simpleminds.com
Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full & Pavement – Brighten The Corners images: genius.com
Grinderman – Grinderman image: grinderman.com
Bowie 1976 & 2016 image: reddit.com
AC/DC Live 1977 image: cnn.com
Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing band lineup image: punkygibbon.co.uk
Joe Jackson – Live Rockpalast 1983 image: mig-music.de
Talking Heads Live 1977 image: vulture.com
Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel Of Love era image: rollingstone.com
Miles Davis Live 1972 image: odibellamusic.com
Crass image: bombedoutpunk.com
Saturday Night Fever – Album gatefold image: medium.com
Madhouse SOTT tour 1987 image: discogs.com
Jill Jones – Mia Bocca clip image: dailymotion.com
Vanity 6 image: tumblr.com
Prince – Live 1999 Tour image: prince.org
LCD Soundsystem – American Dream image: lcdsoundsystem.com