Radio 1 is celebrating its 19th birthday as a “legal” station; it broadcast earlier as a pirate station in the crazy period after the Velvet Revolution, but that’s another chapter. To mark the birthday, almost all the DJs on the station are playing music exclusively from a certain year. It started on Monday with 1991, Tuesday 1992, and so on. It meant that today, Saturday 20 February 2010, is devoted to the year 1996.

When I started to put this week’s show together, I was originally freaking out. 1996 was a year when I as a DJ was mostly playing “rare groove” and salsa, so my purchases from that time were relatively fewer. But once I started digging through both my CDs and those at the station, it became clear that there was a huge amount of material – 1996 was a pretty good year, musically.

Another thing that helped a lot was looking at rock critic Robert Christgau’s “Pazz and Jop” survey of music critics, which he compiles annually for New York City’s Village Voice newspaper. According to the 1996 poll, Beck’s “Odelay” was the album of the year, followed by the Fugees’ “The Score.”

The single of the year was the Quad City DJs’ “Come On Ride The Train,” one of the all-time great party jams. I have the single and even brought it in, but somehow I lost track of the time and didn’t get to play it. Damn! At least here’s a clip from a dance show in the States featuring the song:

Click here for the Google spreadsheet with the entire 1996 setlist.

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