The Grammy Hall of Fame, an institution dedicated to honoring the albums and songs of performers versus the artists themselves, have announced the class of 2014. Once again, it's a pretty healthy lineup, no matter what genre of music you prefer. Music Times looked over the final count of 27 and chose five favorites.
5. Joshua Tree by U2
U2's classic 1987 release is the newest release on the list, but that doesn't make us think it belongs any less. Like the streets in the opening track, the style of the album struggles to be named. From the ballad hit "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," to the heavy metal guitar howls of "Bullet the Blue Sky," and every other great track in between, Joshua Tree takes the cake as one of the '80s best albums.
4. After The Gold Rush by Neil Young
Young's third album took the early potential of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and drove it to its fullest. Young's skill as a songwriter has always been his youthful ideals, his old-before-his-time cynicism, and the canyons in between. Drafted in the literal canyons of California, After The Gold Rush demonstrates Young in both forms, whether it be the aching "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" or the warm "When You Dance I Can Really Love."
3. "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang
From a sheer historical perspective, this 1979 single is the most important recording on the list, and it's a shock it's just now getting into the Grammy Hall. The track wasn't the first hip-hop recording, but it may as well have been. The opening line, declaring "hip-hip-hop and you don't stop" proved to be accurate, as the song became the catalyst for rap's new popularity during the following decade and into the present day.
2. "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. (featuring Aerosmith)
As we mentioned, "Rapper's Delight" began hip-hop's popular run. But it was a long while before the mainstream populace bought in. Run-D.M.C. accelerated the process by taking popular rock track "Walk This Way" and remaking it. The song's original authors, Aerosmith, bought in and starred alongside the hip-hop group for the music video, introducing the song to new audiences on both sides of the color line and inviting future hybridization between the genres.
1. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton
We acknowledge that placing "Jolene" at no. 1 on this list has little to do with historical significance, but more in our love of the song. Parton sings from the perspective of a woman struggling to keep her husband from a more desirable woman (a partially true story, according to the performer), and the desperation resonates throughout. When Parton sings that "there's nothing I can do to keep from crying," it takes us a lot to keep from watering up as well.