Do you remember Sessions@AOL?

It was a simpler time.

Chris Black@donetodeath

James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

America Online would invite musicians to a sparsely decorated studio for an acoustic or somewhat stripped-down set. It was similar to what KCRW or KEXP does now, but before the great Pivot to video. It felt a bit ahead of the curve.

It’s all major label acts doing press, but these performances were a big part of the music business. You had to please everyone to sell records. You had to do all this stuff to keep people happy. Now you just need Spotify playlist love and big follow counts.

Atlantic Records released a compilation album of some of these sessions in 2003. Most of it feels dated and bad: Gavin DeGraw, Avril Lavigne, The Roots. You get the grim early aughts picture. But buried in the sludge, there are gems:

T.I. – Bring ’em Out [AOL Sessions] (2005)

Paul Westerberg – “Lookin’ Up in Heaven” (In Studio)

50 Cent ft. Lloyd Banks – Round Here (AOL Sessions ’03)

The Killers – All These Things I’ve Done (In AOL)

John Mayer – Clarity AOL Sessions

Diddy – Missing You (AOL Sessions)

Lady Gaga – Paparazzi (AOL Sessions)

Avril Lavigne – I’m With You (AOL Sessions)

Third Eye Blind – Jumper (Acoustic)

Goo Goo Dolls Here is Gone AOL Sessions

Coldplay-Yellow-Sessions @AOL

Cartel – Say Anything Else @AOL 😉


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