2009 Countdown: Best Year for Music

If you thought choosing a Best Music Scene was hard, how about trying to narrow down the Best Year for Music in history?! KEXP did just that on Thursday, counting down the eras which cranked out the best tunes, artists and genres according to you. The results are in, and 1991 is officially the best year ever, featuring artists like Nirvana, Soundgarden and My Bloody Valentine (figured it would have to be, right?). Second place goes to 1966, a revolutionary time period bringing about more than just social and political change. Music was shifting as well, with artists like James Brown, The Beatles and Johnny Rivers. And, believe it or not, our current year, 2009, placed fourth in the countdown and was voted number one out of the nine years of the new millennium so far. We’re not just living in the moment — this year has seen amazing albums from Visqueen, Sonic Youth, Andrew Bird, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and we still have almost three months left!

Here are the best musical years in history as voted on by you, the listeners:

Rank Year Sample Artists Album
12 1968 Love Forever Changes
Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through the Grapevine!
Sly & The Family Stone Dance To the Music
The Doors Waiting For the Sun
James Brown Live at the Apollo
Johnny Cash Folsom Prison Blues
The Zombies Odysessey + Oracle
Elvis Presley 68 Comeback Special
Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
Van Morrison Astral Weeks
Bob Dylan John Wesley Harding
The Beatles The White Album
The Beatles The White Album
11 2005 Beck Guero
Sufjan Stevens Come On Illinois
The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
Death Cab For Cutie Plans
Sigur Rós Takk…
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead Worlds Apart
Kasabian Kasabian
Cloud Cult Advice From the Happy Hippotamus
Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
The National Alligator
10 1993 Afghan Whigs Gentlemen
Radiohead Pablo Honey
Nirvana In Utero
Liz Phair Exile In Guyville
Björk Debut
Snoop Doggy Dog What’s My Name?
Frank Black Frank Black
James Laid
Catherine Wheel Chrome
U2 Zooropa
The Breeders Last Splash
Belly Star
New Order Republic
9 1992 Lemonheads It’s A Shame About Ray
Buffalo Tom Let Me Come Over
Pavement Slanted & Enchanted
Sonic Youth Dirty
The Jesus and Mary Chain Honey’s Dead
L7 Bricks Are Heavy
Alice In Chains Dirt
8 1997 Old 97’s Too Far To Care
Modest Mouse The Lonesome Crowded West
Pavement Brighten the Corners
Richard Buckner Devotion + Doubt
Built To Spill Perfect From Now On
Elliott Smith Either/Or
Cornershop When I Was Born For The 7th Time
Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out
Yo La Tengo I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
7 1979 AC/DC Highway To Hell
Sex Pistols The Great Rock and Roll Swindle
Cheap Tricks Dream Police
The Undertones Kicks
The Police Regatta de Blanc
Joy Division Unknown Pleasures
Neil Young & Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps
The B-52’s The B-52’s
The Clash London Calling
The Jam Setting Sons
Gang of Four Entertainment!
6 2004 The Mountain Goats We Shall All Be Healed
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists Shake The Sheets
Rilo Kiley More Adventurous
Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose
Elbow Cast Of Thousands
The Walkmen Bows + Arrows
TV On The Radio Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
The Roots The Tipping Point
Pinback Summer in Abaddon
5 1977 The Jam In The City
Ramones Rocket To Russia
The Stranglers No More Heroes
Iggy Pop The Idiot
Richard Hell & the Voidoids Blank Generation
Elvis Costello My Aim is True
Bob Marley & the Wailers Exodus
Wire Pink Flag
Television Marquee Moon
Talking Heads Talking Heads: 77
4 2009 Sonic Youth The Eternal
Visqueen Message To Garcia
Neko Case Middle Cyclone
Wilco Wilco (The Album)
Andrew Bird Noble Beast
Mos Def The Ecstatic
The Juan MacLean The Future Will Come
Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz!
3 1994 Sugar File Under Easy Listening
Beastie Boys Ill Communication
Veruca Salt American Thighs
Portishead Dummy
Guided By Voices Bee Thousand
Pavement Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
Built To Spill There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
Beck Mellow Gold
2 1966 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The Royal Albert Hall
The Beatles Revolver
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds
The Sonics Boom
? Mark & the Mysterians 96 Tears
The Troggs Wild Thing
James Brown I Got You (I Feel Good)
Swinging Medalions Double Shot
Bobby Fuller Four I Fought The Law
Johnny Rivers And I Know You Wanna Dance
1 1991 The La’s The La’s
Teenage Fanclub Bandwagonesque
Nirvana Nevermind
Soundgarden Badmotorfinger
Throwing Muses The Real Ramona
My Bloody Valentine Loveless

Soundgarden “Rusty Cage” from Badmotorfinger

James Brown “I Got You (I Feel Good)” from I Got You (I Feel Good)

Sonic Youth “Sacred Trickster” from The Eternal live 2009

The Ramones “Teenage Lobotomy” from Rocket To Russia

TV On The Radio “Staring At The Sun” from Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes live on the Late Show 2004

Kasabian “Club Foot” from Kasabian live at Hyde Park London, Wireless Festival 2005

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