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4 Music Icons Who Defined Their Times

Music Icons
Alison Stanton
Written by Alison Stanton

We should not forget the way musicians helped define their times. In addition to high sales volumes and huge attendance at concerts, these singers possessed a talent that made them true legends.

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When we think about what defines certain times in our nation’s history, we might remember major news events like a war or presidential campaign, fashion choices like the famous hippie garb of the late 1960s, or popular trends like the avocado-hued fridges and shag carpets that were found in many homes in the 1970s.

While these are great ways to recall different eras, we should not forget the way musicians helped define their times. In addition to high sales volumes and huge attendance at concerts, these singers possessed a talent that made them true legends.

Carole King

Carole King got her start in the music industry in the 1960s when she and her husband wrote a number of popular songs for other singers, including The Shirelles’ song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” In the 1970s, King started to gain attention for her talent as a singer and went on to be the first woman to win a Grammy for a best record, song and album of the year for her album “Tapestry.” To this day, when you hear King’s beautiful voice, it’s easy to imagine you have traveled back in time almost five decades. King’s work is so influential on the music industry, it is now the focus of a Broadway show called “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” If you live in New York City or plan to travel there in the near future and want to see the show, Telecharge is a great place to purchase tickets.

David Bowie

The late David Bowie helped to define music in the 1970s and ’80s. His innovative and creative musical style that combined jazz, rock, pop, soul and other genres was welcomed by fans. Also known for his makeup, colorful and tight costumes and bright red hair color, Bowie’s lyrics focused on deep existential questions and philosophies. When asked to recall popular musicians of their times, people who grew up in the 1970s will invariably mention Bowie and his incredible works like “Space Oddity.”

Lady Gaga

Years from now, when we are asked to name musicians who helped define the 2010s, Lady Gaga is sure to be at the top of our lists. The first half of this decade has been Lady Gaga-centric, from her over-the-top costumes — meat dress, anyone? — to her incredible stage shows and huge legion of passionate fans. At the core of her success is a great range and a truly lovely voice that is just at home singing with Tony Bennett and on awards shows as in her memorable concerts.

The Beatles

It’s hard to imagine a musical icon list that doesn’t include The Beatles. The Fab Four exploded in popularity in the United States during a time when rock music was the standard. Their own pop sound combined with their unique look was welcomed by many fans who were ready for something different. Over time, the band evolved along with the times and began writing songs that commented on current issues. For example, their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band featured ethereal instrument sounds, psychedelic lyrics and undertones of Eastern spirituality. Everything about it, from the eye-catching album cover to the songs it contained, had a definite impact on the industry and fans.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted that I might not always have a home that will qualify for a photo spread in a Martha Stewart magazine—there are toys spread around and plenty of other evidence that a family with pets lives here, but that is okay.

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate the fact that I’m a loving and caring mom, wife and “pet parent” who focuses more on my family’s happiness and being there for them, rather than always having a dust-free piano

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of my most rewarding achievements has been working as a freelance writer for the past 16 years; I love the fact that I work from home and can schedule my work around my family. 

I guess like many women I’m hoping to find ways to use my daily 24 hours as productively as possible; I love getting out to walk with my family and at least one dog at a time but too often I run out of time.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

My not-so-perfect way is that I sometimes forget to take care of myself because I’m so busy taking care of others. 

Probably my silly sense of humor about a lot of things—my kids roll their eyes when I’m putting away groceries, spot a bunch of bananas and start talking into one of them like it’s a phone. My dependence on caffeine and love of Starbucks is also fairly well-known.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

Easy. I love my family. Every day.

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About the author

Alison Stanton

Alison Stanton

Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories.