By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Summer is in full swing—and, here in Texas, it's a long way from being over.
It's tough to say why we don't love the season like we used to. Don't get us wrong; we dig the barbecues, drunken volleyball and television reruns. It's just that we wish summer rocked like it did when we were younger.
Hell, when our parents were younger too.
To that end, we've put together this list of 10 summers that rocked like no others.
1954: Rock and roll (as pop phenomenon) is born.
On July 5, a 19-year-old Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right (Mama)" at Sun Studio in Memphis. Three days later, the up-tempo blues song hit the radio airwaves and gave birth to a cultural phenomenon that changed popular music forever.
1965: Dylan goes electric.
Bob Dylan was the patron saint of protest folk. But in July of '65, he became its executioner when he took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival.
1967: The Summer of Love.
Never mind the fact that some 100,000 people descended upon the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, solidifying the city as the center of the hippie revolution. Don't forget that 200,000 folks attended the three-day Monterey Pop Festival too.
The Grateful Dead; Janis Joplin; The Who; Jimi Hendrix; CCR; Santana; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and more—the list of artists that performed during this legendary moment in the counterculture movement was unprecedented and has yet to be matched.
1972: Ziggy Stardust lands on planet Earth.
In June, David Bowie released Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. It's easily one of the most influential albums of the '70s, one of the greatest concept albums ever made and, most important, represents the pinnacle of glam rock (a subgenre that would remain impervious to mockery today except for the fact that it gave birth to glam metal).
1979: The Walkman goes on sale.
Long before the iPod was even imagined, the Walkman revolutionized how we enjoy music. And the gym.
1981: MTV kills the radio star.
And 27 years later, "music television" seems as antiquated as the eight-track, Intellivision and the LaserDisc.
1984: Def Jam is born.
Although hip-hop's greatest label was technically born in the early spring of 1984, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin's first 12-inch release, LL Cool J's "I Need a Beat," dropped September 26 (which technically isn't summer, but close enough). Rap had become mainstream.
1989: Rap gets angry.
NWA's Straight Outta Compton was released the year before, but it wasn't until 1989 when its incendiary, anti-authority lyrics on tracks such as the title song and "Fuck the Police" made NWA a group even the FBI fretted over.
1991: Lollapalooza introduces the traveling music festival.
Lollapalooza, in its original incarnation, made the huge summer tour the ultimate word in summer music experiences.
1999: The birth of Napster.
Napster quickly lost dominance in the music-sharing world, but its significance to the music-sharing revolution is unparalleled. In fact, we just illegally downloaded most of the music discussed in this list.