Drink and dance
and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)
– Dorothy Parker, Death and Taxes (1931)
Friends, here we are at the letter Y in our Musical A to Z.
The end of the alphabet is seriously nigh.
And I regret to inform you we have discovered a small … glitch in our musical programming here at Baby Gates Down.
We haven’t thought beyond the end of the alphabet and don’t really know where we’re going musically after Z here on the blog.
But don’t worry.
I’m sure we’ll figure it out.
It’s about as serious a problem as the whole Y2K thing turned out to be.
Anyone needing a refresher, basically there was this fear that due to computer programmers programming years with two digits rather than four – eg: ’99 instead of 1999, when 2000 hit, e-world and everything it supported would go haywire.
Seeing we’re all still here, you’ve probably figured out it didn’t.
But it made for a great New Years’ Eve party that year (I spent it at Houlihan’s for any Ottawa nostalgics reading) and, the general sense of worlds ending in the approach to 2000 that made for some fun music and pop culture in the late ’90s.
So with that said, for the letter Y, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999.
1. 1999 – Prince and the Revolution (1982)
[Fall 2018 update: Since Prince’s regrettable death, this is my third update of the link as various videos go offline. I had first found material suddenly availably online – then the one I chose went missing. So I updated again. And now again in Fall 2018. Below is the text from my original post. The world lost a musical genius with Prince’s passing.]
So things doing these music posts have taught me? Prince very intentionally doesn’t really exist on YouTube. But here’s the band, with a different singer. The other performance I considered was this Limp Bizkit cover, because they top the list when I think late 90s bands, but it doesn’t really feel like my 1999 memories… So you get the Revolution. Minus Prince. Which is a shame, because I own quite a bit of his stuff and love his music.
Other things I remember about the late 90s? Power ballads, Ben Affleck, and movies about the world ending. While I am also a fan of Independence Day and Will Smith playing Will Smith, the animal cracker scene kind of covers the gist for most of these movies. You know, before the BOOM!
3. It’s the End of the World – R.E.M. (1987)
Yup. That’s what was supposed to happen.
4. Chelsea Hotel – Dan Bern (1998)
Only it didn’t. This one is a bit of a “cheat” for me on this list as I didn’t discover Dan Bern until 2003. I had just started dating my husband, had a friend in town from England, and his friend dragged us out to see Dan Bern – the next Dylan! – at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec.
The song always makes me think of early days post 2000 and early days with my now husband. But the lyrics also fit with tonight’s theme:
I was starting to think
The world was going to end when the calendar turns
But now you’re here
I see the future, baby
And they can let the calendar burn
5. Smooth – Santana with Rob Thomas (1999)
But let’s get back to 1999. I had to check because I couldn’t remember but according to Billboard Mainstream Top 40 charts, this was the #1 hit at the end of 1999.
And – well, what with having made you revisit memories of the impending non-end of the world – I thought I’d leave you all with a:
BOY BAND BONUS!!!
Bye Bye Bye – NSYNC (2000)
This song popped up on a number of my “Y2K songs” searches and made me smile because while it was recorded in July 1999, it was released January 11, 2000, so I’m kind of picturing them waving bye bye bye to the ’90s. It also didn’t feel right doing a post about Y2K music without a boy band, so why not the one with Justin Timberlake in it? I thought they could sing us out while we all gave a passing nostalgic thought to the other guys in the band (bonus points if you can name all four without resorting to a Google search).
What about you? Favourite songs from the 90s? Any 1999 or Y2K music memories to share?