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FUV Essentials

There are so many variables that determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history and discography — so WFUV is taking a deeper look with FUV Essentials. On-air and online, we'll celebrate the musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack for the past fifty years and still continue to do so. Let’s love these essential artists while they’re here, and also honor those who have departed too soon.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles, one of our FUV Essentials, was not only a virtuosic musician and song interpreter, but a man who founded a genre, intuitively merging various elements of bebop, gospel, blues, jazz, swing and country. He laid the cornerstone to what became modern soul, R&B and early rock 'n' roll.

The Replacements

The Replacements were the essence of rock 'n' roll — self-destructive, badly behaved, and exhilarating. Although their tenure was short-lived when compared to fifty years of the comparatively mild-mannered Rolling Stones, the 'Mats influence was arguably as mighty as those wiry British icons. Celebrating an American supernova, the Replacements are this week's FUV Essentials.

BØRNS: Five Essential David Bowie Albums

Garrett Borns, who records as BØRNS, has covered David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" extensively in his live sets—a supple, tender take on that song from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. So when we asked BØRNS if he'd compile his Five Essential David Bowie Albums for us, we weren't too surprised to find that album in his top five picks.

Esperanza Spalding: Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs

Esperanza Spalding's shapeshifting and erudite command of the many fusions between jazz, soul, rock, pop and gospel is a reminder of the versatility of one of her favorite musicians, Aretha Franklin. And as Esperanza Spalding enthuses in her observant and ebullient "Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs" for FUV Essentials, "[Aretha's] whole musical spirit speaks to me."

Jesca Hoop's Five Essential Patti Smith Songs

As a longtime solo artist and as one half of a duo with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop has always been a fearless, insightful lyricist, so it's not surprising that Hoop found an early kinship with our FUV Essentials artist Patti Smith. Like Smith, Hoop confronts hard truths with empathy and strength—and in her perceptive picks for "Five Essential Patti Smith Songs," it's clear that the Smith was an early guide for a young Hoop, finding her way and her words in California.

The National's Scott Devendorf: Five Essential Grateful Dead Songs

It's fair to say that Scott Devendorf, of The National and LNZNDRF has been living and breathing the music of the Grateful Dead for a lifetime. The bassist, who wrote about his "Five Essential Grateful Dead Songs" for FUV, worked with his bandmates from the National on the epic, five-hour, 59-track Day of the Dead covers compilation which came out in the spring of 2016.

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