To celebrate KCSBfm’s 60th anniversary, the music department, with the help of DJ Darla Bea, created a playlist showcasing our favorite tunes from each decade since KCSB’s inception.
1960s – MARION
I’ll preface this by saying that KCSB did play classical music for the first few years of our existence in order to prevent people from complaining about us playing rock n’ roll music (which was a controversial genre in some circles of the time). But these picks are what I imagine the founders of the station wanted to be playing.
- Good Thing – Paul Revere & The Raiders
– I dare you to try to listen to this one without dancing (or at the very least bobbing your head)! This band sounds like a slightly more rowdy Beach Boys, and this song is a perfect example of the classic Sunshine Pop sound. My favorite part in this tune has to be either the guitar riff right at the beginning of the song or the supporting harmonies throughout.
- Cherry Cherry – Neil Diamond
– This Neil Diamond tune has a similar sunshine pop vibe to Paul Revere & The Raiders. I really love the clapping featured on this track. I also love the piano breakdown that comes in after the choruses. Neil Diamond also has a very unique- and very much 1960s- voice.
- Ramblin’ Gamblin Man – Bob Seger
– This song is perfect for driving- I specifically think it’d be a great song for peeling out of a suburban driveway as you head out to the big city. The driving drum beat, paired with the heavy organ sound and Bob Seger’s scratchy voice come together masterfully.
- Go Where You Wanna Go – The Mamas & Papas
– One of my favorite things about this track, and this whole album as well, is the prominent feature of strings. In this song, the string section replaces the rhythm guitar, and you can really only hear some faint guitar playing very low in the mix. So, the chords in this song are played by a combination of voice harmony string instruments. A really interesting take on 1960s sunshine pop.
- Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane
– I picked this song to signify the emergence of the genre of psychedelic rock at this time. Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin’s Big Brother & The Holding Co. were leading this movement here in California. I have no doubt that these innovative sounds made their way over to Santa Barbara airwaves.
1970s – MARION
- Lady Bug – Bumblebee Unlimited
– A super funky tune that represents the arrival of the disco era (despite its 1979 release). Although disco tended to be more of a commercial genre, and this track does have that signature disco feel, the band Bumblebee Unlimited only released one album, and is not very well known. Therefore, this track could have found a home on some KCSB shows during this decade!
- Spill The Wine – Eric Burdon & War
– This is one of my favorite Eric Burdon songs ever. I specifically love the flute feature on this track!
- Rock & Roll – The Velvet Underground
– I picked this song specifically because of the image of Jenny, whose life is changed when she turns on some New York station that plays rock n’ roll. I love to think about the influence that KCSB must have had on the UCSB campus and the Santa Barbara community at a time when radio was such a prominent source of media consumption.
- The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) – The Doors
– Similar to the Velvet Underground song above, this song represents the spirit and power of radio.
- Help on the Way / Slipknot! – Grateful Dead
– An example of a totally innovative sound. Featuring lots of changes in time signatures, and complex rhythmic and melodic elements.
1980s – DERIAN
- Is it Over/ Kim Wilde
– Lets start it off with Kim Wilde, best known for “Kids in America ”. I think this song is far more interesting, both lyrically and compositionally. Strong contender for the best Wilde song imo.
- 紙有一個人/ Andy Lau
– You know it’s a Lance list when we go international immediately. Anyway, you should all recognize Andy Lau from his illustrious film career, but he’s got some serious pipes on him too. A fine example of period music, with all the baladic melodies that implies.
- Egg Man/ The Beastie Boys
– Easily the track in my section with the most views, but in my defence I could never make an 80s list without including Paul’s Boutique. It goes without saying the mix work and sampling are incredible even today. Rest in Peace Adam “MCA” Yauch.
- La Espada Sagrada/ Riff
– Metal, particularly glam metal, was also a huge part of the 80s, so why not include this rocking track from Argentina. The guitar provides the path while the steady drumbeat keeps you engaged. Also Google translate tells me this song is apparently about the messiah, so happy easter I guess.
- 果てなき旅情 (Hatenaki Ryojyu)/ Taeko Onuki
– This is my favorite song of all time. Onuki’s haunting voice makes me happy I’m alive, while the soulful lyrics about traveling due to eternal listfulness strike me deep in the most unprotected parts of my soul. A masterpiece. I can not overstate how perfect this song is.
1990s – DJ Darla Bea
- (1997) I’m Down with It (Feel the Beat Mix) – Mercury Man
RADIO SHOW: The Groove with Joker and DJ Zeke
- It took me 20+ years to find the actual title of this track. I used to record this show via my tape recorder on cassette. The song was the intro and outro to Joker & DJ Zeke’s radio show in the mid 1990’s. Finally after talking to other house music DJ’s we narrowed the track down from me describing lyrics and a Michael Jackson sample. Super fun radio show that came on right before Ska La Carte. DJ Zeke still is around and works at Wildcat!
- (1997) Rotten Candy – Henchmyn
RADIO SHOW: Ska La Carte with Adam Korn
- So many musical memories from my favorite show during the late 1990’s. Adam introduced me to rocksteady, reggae, ska and dub. He played his own bands music on air too – The Henchmyn. He played songs from the Swingers soundtrack as well as Mr. Bungle.
- (1999) I Wanna See You Come Down – DJ Rork (Mark Farina San Francisco Sessions Vol. 1)
- A Friday house music show would play this Mark Farina compilation song so much that I needed to call in to see what the title was. Eventually I bought the CD, met the DJ of the show and saw Mark Farina in San Francisco.
- (1963) Broadway Jungle (Dog War) – Toots & The Maytals
RADIO SHOW: Ska La Carte with Adam Korn
- Another classic 1st wave of ska song by the man who coined the term reggay – spelled without the “e” initially. Toots Hibbert played a concert in San Luis Obispo and I met him afterwards and we chatted about his song “Dog Wars” that features a lot of dog barking. Thanks to Adam Korn for playing this on KCSB-FM.
- (1960) Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures
RADIO SHOW: Walk Don’t Run (a surf guitar exotica lounge show)
- Love this song from the 1960’s played during the 1990’s on KCSB during a show with the same title as the song. The Ventures are from Seattle but nonetheless have captured that surf sound.
2000s – YOUSEF
- “Figaro” – Madvillain
– The soundtrack to a jazz lounge, Madlib creates an atmosphere that slowly morphs into a rap circle. And of course, the greatest rapper of all time, MF DOOM, holds the crowd with one simple word – “Figaro, figaro.”
- “Two Can Win” – J Dilla
– The producer who created his own form of musical time, Dilla Time, somewhere between swing time and quantized time to make hip-hop beats more personal. The song is dipped in soul from The Sylver’s “Only One Can Win” sample.
- “Let’s Go” – Danny Brown
– In the 2010s, Danny Brown became a toothless face of addiction, with sprawling accounts of adversity in XXX and Atrocity Exhibition. “Let’s Go” was our first introduction to the Detroit experimental hip-hop star. The song is lush, beautiful, and a brief moment of peace for Danny.
- “Argonaut” – Floating Points
– Floating Points had just gotten his PHD in neuroscience at this point. He’s a man of space, without any real temporal existence, living within a multiverse of house, electronica, jazz, and apparently some funk with this track.
- “Give It to Y’all” – Pete Rock
– One of the most prolific hip-hop producers who is a parallel disciple from J Dilla’s sample-based, jazz-rap sound. And it features a rare, uncredited Roc Marci verse. Bring back boom bap.
2010s – YOUSEF
- “Robes” – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
– Laidback, critically acclaimed, Piñata is the album that would push Freddie Gibbs’ career to new heights and reestablish Madlib as the multi-generational superstar. And also, “I only think of you on two occasions: when I’m drunk and when I’m blazing up.” Welcome to the kane train.
- “Crocodile Tears” – billy woods
– A treatise on the infidelities of colonialism and the forced African diaspora. billy woods believed that even if this album didn’t do numbers, history would absolve him. Thankfully, it jumpstarted one of the most powerful stories in hip-hop.
- “Save Me” – Chief Keef
– The blueprint to the sound of an entire generation. Chief Keef bolstered the Chicago Drill scene, New York’s new sample drill scene, and statements about the heavy policing within lower-income communities.
- “Anything We Want” – Fiona Apple
– An indie critic’s darling. Her voice is beautiful, minimalistic but almost cacophonous with her out-of-the-box instrumentation that uses everything and everything around her. Fiona Apple cemented herself as the now free-spirited cage bird with The Idler Wheel….
- “Dominican Plug” – RXK Nephew
– Ramble rap and sample drill are the two niches that RXK Nephew can rap on for over 20 minutes and it will never be mundane. “Dominican Plug” has bounce, it’s covered with Hennessy and cocaine, and it’s all fun all of the time. That basically wraps up the 2010s. The last “alleged” good years.