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.
Nicole Atkins admires the lyrical grit and grace of FUV Essentials artist Ryan Adams, whose music has served as a soundtrack of her early years as a musician. Fresh off of a tour last year, she pulled together a list of her "Five Essential Ryan Adams Songs" which includes some inspired rarities.
Nicole Atkins (photo by Anna Webber)
If a rock band were a country's most recognized export, it's fair to say that U2 might be Ireland's most vaunted guitar-waving gift to the globe. As the band marks the 30th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree, they are this week's FUV Essentials.
U2 (illustration by Andy Friedman)
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry." John Lennon read those words from a cue card on "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1972 when he introduced his idol. Berry's songs trained you to expect the unexpected, no matter how familiar the package; his prerogative has always been theft, even from himself. His enduring legacy is that everyone stole from him in turn. The enduring charm of the man is that he did it with a wink and singularity that literally changed the world — and it's why Chuck Berry is an FUV Essentials artist.
Chuck Berry (illustration by Andy Friedman)
What was the gateway to 1967's Summer of Love? The very phrase conjures a psychedelic idyll of the Sixties: blissed-out hippies splayed on the grass, hazily wreathed in the smoke of Acapulco Gold and campfires. On the 50th anniversary of the Monterey International Pop Festival and the Summer of Love, that era and its music is this week's FUV Essentials.
Summer of Love/Monterey Pop with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Over a 16-year span of eight albums and a handful of EPs, the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney evolved from two scrappy guys playing local bar-and-garage blues in Akron, Ohio, to platinum-selling, Grammy-winning music industry heavyweights. And they're FUV Essentials.
The Black Keys (illustration by Andy Friedman)
With a voice that rings to the heavens like a deep, clear bell, Brandi Carlile is a longtime friend of FUV, ever since she released her breakthrough album, The Story, in 2007. With the release of the charity album Cover Stories, which celebrates the songs of that very album to benefit War Child UK, Carlile, the artist and the activist, is this week's FUV Essentials artist.
Brandi Carlile (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Talk to a musician who caught a Pixies gig back in the late Eighties or at the cusp of the Nineties and it's likely that they were compelled to start a band. Over the past three decades, Radiohead, Nirvana, Weezer and Blur have all cited Pixies as a point of departure. The import and influence of Pixies is undeniable and this beloved, challenging, and unconventional band is one of our FUV Essentials.
Pixies (illustration by Andy Friedman)
When David Letterman inducted Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017, his affectionate, funny speech made special note not only of the Seattle-bred band's legacy, but its committments beyond the boundaries of music. There are many reasons why Pearl Jam is one of our FUV Essentials, but their beneficence is as inspiring as their rock 'n' roll legacy.
FUV Essentials: Pearl Jam (illustration by Andy Friedman)