A very good year
January 21, 2022 7:02 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for examples of artists who had a particularly great single year.

  • in 2005 Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes released both Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and then dropped a live album called Motion Sickness towards the end of the year
  • in 2003 Ben Gibbard started the year off with The Postal Service album and then later than year dropped Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism
Other art and a relatively flexible definition of a single year.
posted by zenon to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Elvis Presley, 1956
posted by mmiddle at 7:09 PM on January 21, 2022

Best answer: Obvious modern example Wouk be Megan Thee Stallion, who seems to be the only person who had a great 2020 (or even 2020 - 2021).
posted by slkinsey at 7:40 PM on January 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: relatively flexible definition of a single year

Well, depending on your definition of flexible, pretty much every song you've ever heard from Creedence Clearwater Revival came out between 68 and 70, when they released 6 albums.

Playin' in a travelin band
Run thru the jungle
Lookin' out my back door
Who'll stop the rain
Heard it through the grapevine
Up around the bend
Long as I can see the light
Born on a bayou
Down on the corner
Fortunate son
Don't look now
Green River
Bad Moon Rising
Proud Mary
I Put a spell on You
Suzie Q
Have you ever seen the rain
Hey Tonight

And those are just the hits. There are more songs on those albums you'd know that didn't chart.
posted by dobbs at 7:46 PM on January 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Prince, in the year spanning June 1984 to June 1985:
• Starred in the movie Purple Rain, regarded as one of the greatest music films of all time.
• Released the soundtrack to Purple Rain, which spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned four top-10 Billboard singles
• Won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score
• Released the album Around the World in a Day, his second album to reach #1 and with two top-ten singles
• Founded Paisley Park Records
posted by theory at 7:49 PM on January 21, 2022 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Wikipedia has some lists. Kinda not what I expected.
posted by credulous at 8:26 PM on January 21, 2022

Best answer: For music, a really good key phrase for this is "Imperial Phase," too.
posted by VirginiaPlain at 8:56 PM on January 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What leapt to mind for me was Robert Schumann‘s liederjahr (Year of Songs). Until then he had written mostly piano music, but in 1840 he wrote 125 songs for accompanied voice. There are critics and historians who will say that just because they were written in a sustained burst of creativity doesn’t make them superior compositions, but they’re absolutely some of my favorites among his work,
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:57 PM on January 21, 2022

Best answer: Following up on my mention of CCR, from Wikipedia:

"The year 1969 had been a remarkable chart year for the band: three Top Ten albums, four hit singles (charting at No. 2, No. 2, No. 2, and No. 3) with three additional charting B-sides. On November 16, 1969, they performed "Fortunate Son" and "Down on the Corner" on The Ed Sullivan Show."
posted by dobbs at 9:12 PM on January 21, 2022

Best answer: David Byrne's October 1980 through December 1981 saw the release of:

Remain in Light -- arguably the peak of the Talking Heads career, their first serious step into so-called world music (for better or worse).

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts -- the collaboration with Brian Eno that more or less brought sampling to the world.

The Catherine Wheel
- soundtrack for Twyla Tharp's dance project; not as well known as the other two but right up with them in terms of ambition and attainment.

I'm still rather in awe of what he pulled off in those fourteen months.
posted by philip-random at 9:22 PM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sidney Portier, 1967:

To Sir, With Love
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?
In the Heat of the Night
posted by mefireader at 9:30 PM on January 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Neil Young's first two albums were released in 1969 and his third recorded close on the heels of those. Similarly you could call 1974 and 1975 great years for him (maybe terrible personally, but good musically) though some of the work recorded then wasn't officially released until last year's release of "Homegrown."
posted by kensington314 at 9:31 PM on January 21, 2022

Best answer: Dolly Parton wrote "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" the same day, who cares what she did the rest of the year.

(answer: two other #1 country singles - "Love is Like A Butterfly" and "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" with Porter Wagoner, as well as two great business decisions - leaving Porter Wagoner's show to go solo and turning down the biggest musician in the world, Elvis, when he wanted to record "I Will Always Love You" but with a contract that would give him half of the publishing rights.)
posted by Superilla at 9:37 PM on January 21, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Fairport Convention, then including Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson, released these three albums all in 1969: What We Did on Our Holidays (Jan), Unhalfbricking (Jul), and Liege and Lief (Dec).
posted by JonJacky at 9:41 PM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Coppola had a pretty great 1974. He personally won three Academy Awards for Godfather II -- Best Director, Best Picture (since he was a producer), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

He was competing against himself for Best Picture that year since his film The Conversation was also nominated, and he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for that movie. Though it didn't win any Oscars, The Conversation did win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
posted by theory at 10:15 PM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Actress-Writer-Director Michaela Coel did Chewing Gum (excellent), Star Wars, and Black Mirror in 2017
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:19 PM on January 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In the year from mid-1993 to mid-1994, Spielberg released both Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, broke the all-time box office record with the former, and won Best Picture and Best Director for the latter. Not to mention several other Oscars won by other contributors to both of those films.
posted by equalpants at 1:04 AM on January 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: John C. Reilly was in three movies nominated for the 2002 Best Picture Oscar: Chicago, Gangs of New York, and The Hours (and was nominated for the Best Support Actor Oscar and Golden Globe for Chicago).
posted by synecdoche at 5:01 AM on January 22, 2022

Best answer: In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh moved to Arles. That year, he produced 156 paintings, including the initial portraits of the Roulin Family , Sunflowers, Coal Barges, The Night Cafe, Bedroom in Arles, And The Sower. On 23 December 1888, Van Gogh cut off his ear and delivered it to a woman working at a local brothel.

In 1889, Van Gogh produced another 136 paintings, including The Starry Night, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Irises, and Wheat Field with Cypresses . He also produced several additional Sunflower paintings and portraits of the Roulin family.
posted by chrisulonic at 6:59 AM on January 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Taylor Swift (aka The Music Industry), 2021.

Evermore was still at number 1 on Billboard in January of 2021 (following its December 2020 release). Then she re-recorded her album Fearless and it went to number 1 in April. Oh and then her re-recorded version of Red was number 1 in November. Her 10-minute version of "All Too Well" also went to number 1 (and is the longest song to reach that spot in the charts). She also won a Grammy for Album of the Year for Folklore and is nominated for the same award for Evermore. Billboard crowned her Greatest Pop Star of 2021 and she successfully managed to make everyone forget entirely that she was in Cats.

In that same time period I figured out how to get my homemade marmalade to gel correctly* and finally threw away two pairs of old jeans**, so I guess we both stay winning.

* This actually took me into 2022
** This may have been 2020, I have lost track
posted by bcwinters at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: In 1991, Ice Cube appeared in Boyz in the Hood, released his second solo album, Death Certificate, produced Del the Funky Homosapien's first album, and predicted the LA riots.

I'm not really a fan, but you know who else had a hell of a year in 1991? The New Kids on the Block.
posted by box at 7:34 AM on January 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: These are so great! I especially appreciate artists who found success in multiple formats and the posts that include lesser known work that should have wider recognition.

Having the language "Imperial Phase" is also helpful. That wiki list is exactly the sort of resource I wish I would have thought of myself - it seems so obvious.

Also I can't believe I forgot Prince!
posted by zenon at 8:54 AM on January 22, 2022

Best answer: Isaac Newton took a year off from Cambridge due to an outbreak of the plague, and came up with his theories of optics, motion, gravity, and, calculus. This is now referred to as his annus mirabilis.

Philip K Dick was unbelievably productive. His short-story output peaked in '53 or '54; his novel output in '64.
posted by adamrice at 10:18 AM on January 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In 1965, John Coltrane released A Love Supreme, then went on to record seven more albums, ending with Ascension. Quite a run.
posted by box at 10:48 AM on January 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Between February 1888 and May 1889, Van Gogh executed about 300 paintings and drawings. Many of them are among his most famous. (This was in Arles.)
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 12:32 PM on January 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bowie put out Low and "Heroes" in 1977, and Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust within 6 months of each other (17 December 1971 and 16 June 1972).

A bit niche, but given the 2000s indie bands in the original post:
The Mountain Goats put out two of their most-loved albums, Tallahassee and All Hail West Texas, in 2002.

But in 2020.....they recorded an album in early March (Getting Into Knives). While recording they wrote a bunch more songs, so they recorded what would become Dark in Here. Then the pandemic got serious and they cancelled the tour to support Getting Into Knives, on which they were going to announce Dark in Here as a surprise, half-way through. So instead singer John Darnielle went into lockdown, grew a beard, and recorded another album, on his trusty boombox. A buncha low-fi songs based on a book about the persecution of pagans in late antiquity (Songs for Pierre Chauvin). Which was originally released only on cassette. They finished the year by doing a live without an audience double-album, of which the highlight was undoubtedly a song written for John's children ('My Little Panda').
posted by Pink Frost at 2:06 AM on January 23, 2022

Best answer: From James Somers: Did you know that at one point, [Michael] Crichton had the nation's #1 bestselling book, the top movie at the box office, and the most-watched television series, all at the same time—and that this happened TWICE (!)?

In 1995 he achieved a breathtaking pop-cultural moment when he had the nation’s No. 1 best-selling book (The Lost World), the No. 1 movie (Congo), and the No. 1 TV show (ER), a trifecta he repeated in 1996 with Airframe, Twister, and ER. [Vanity Fair article link.]
posted by cgc373 at 3:23 AM on January 23, 2022

Best answer: Dan 'Da Vinci Code' Brown didn't quite reach the heights of Michael Crichton, but he did manage to have four novels on the NYT list at the same time in 2004.
posted by box at 6:37 AM on January 23, 2022

Best answer: Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast had a good 2021.

- Released the album, Jubilee, which is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album and Japanese Breakfast is nominated for Best New Artist.
- Released her book, Crying in H Mart, which debuted at number two on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list.
- Did the soundtrack for the indie game Sable. The soundtrack was generally well-received and the game was nominated for the Best Debut Indie Game award at the Games Awards 2021.
posted by carpyful at 3:05 PM on January 31, 2022

« Older What is the current "best" treatment for...   |   I've worn a Hawaiian shirt for over 10 years, what... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.