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.
The sardonic bite of "Loser" might have helped vault Beck Hansen into a label deal and a career, but it was almost regarded as a novelty song. Its loopy, self-deprecating refrain—"I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me"—wasn't a confession, but a challenge. Beck was always far more sophisticated and complex, a man on a long road of self-discovery.
Beck (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Not only is Peter Gabriel one of the most innovative and influential rock artists of his generation, but he's a visionary human rights activist and a cultural ambassador for world music too.
Peter Gabriel (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Over the course of 13 studio albums since 1979, from the post-punk minimalism of 'Three Imaginary Boys' to 2008's grandly euphoric '4:13 Dream,' Robert Smith and the Cure have intimately bonded with their devout fans, offering a healing salve for sadness and self-doubt.
The Cure's Robert Smith (illustration by Andy Friedman)
The word "genius" is a frequently abused superlative.
Prince (illustration by Andy Friedman)
'FUV Essentials' artist Bob Marley was much more than just the most important figure in reggae. He was an icon across all genres of music.
Bob Marley (illustration by Andy Friedman)
On Bob Dylan's Fallen Angels, released in the spring of 2016, more than a minute of jazzy, mid-tempo plucked guitar and l
Bob Dylan (illustration by Andy Friedman)
The National has only released six studio albums and a handful of EPs since 1999, but the quintet's impact on American rock in 2016 feels far more
The National (illustration by Andy Friedman)
From child prodigy to elder statesman of American pop, soul, R&B, jazz and funk, Stevie Wonder's masterful musical journey has already stretched a remarkable 55 years and continues to evolve while marking major mileposts
Stevie Wonder (illustration by Andy Friedman)