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Word of Mouth: 2014 Music Anniversaries

The scene at Woodstock Music & Art Fair, August 1969, photographed by John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Forty-five years ago, before Glastonbury, Coachella, Bonnaroo and the like, there was Woodstock. The original one. For three days in 1969, in the idyllic lands of Upstate New York, music lovers converged in a wonderful, muddy, never-before-like-it (and after, too, for that matter) festival that set a precedent for all others to come. The Grateful Dead and The Band shared billing with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In the audience that weekend, albeit separately, were Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, who would become Blondie, celebrating its 40th anniversary. Thankfully, Harry and Stein changed the band’s name according to the catcalls the bleached Harry received on New York City’s East Village streets. Heart of Glass wouldn’t have the same oomph if it was sung by Angel and the Snake.

Everyone loves a good anniversary, especially in rock. It gives us a chance to wax nostalgic about the good old days (even if they were just a few years ago) and pull out some favorite old albums. Here, some more reasons to celebrate:

10 Years: Panic! At the Disco debuts
10 years: A trio of great albums: Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, Scissor Sistersself-titled
30 years: Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s releases fashion standard Relax
30 years: Prince’s Purple Rain
30 Years: Bruce Springsteen releases Born In the U.S.A.
50 Years: Rolling Stones and The Beatles on Top of the Pops

Read more features from our Music Issues, past and present.

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