Music of the Decades


The 60’s (by Megan Peterson)

Welcome to the 60s: the age of bold colors and rebellion. The 60s brought forth the Beatles, The Rollingstones, and the Berlin Wall.  The assassination of John F Kennedy, the moon landing, and the Cuban Missile Crisis made their mark in the 60s.  The unforgotten legacy of the 60s, however, is the music.

Rebellion shook the structure of every art form, music above all.  Students were protesting just about everything. Vietnam was highly unpopular, and no one trusted anyone over thirty.  Billy Joel produced “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, an extremely catchy list of every significant event in the media.  The Beatles wrote a couple of protest songs; most notably is “Revolution” which criticizes both the protest movements and the government for the amount of violence on each side.  From the beginning music has always been a form of expression, but in the 60s it became a venue of protest and a way to affect change in an imperfect society.

While social upheaval may have been shining through the music industry, artists like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole continued to produce music more phenomenal than before.  Ella Fitzgerald’s” Cheek to Cheek” and Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E” reminisced of romance, while Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” embodied romance itself.   While “Pretty Woman” and “What a Wonderful World” may not be a cry for social change, they were a reminder of the good things in life.  Not to be forgotten, the Beach Boys and their “Good Vibrations” are never a bad idea, even today.

Blues, also picked up momentum in the 60s.  From a mainly African American culture came The Supreems and their “Stop In the Name of Love”, closely followed by “My Girl” by the Temptations.  Ray Charles served as a pinnacle of blues music with his fantastic “Georgia on My Mind” and “Hit the Road Jack.”

While the rebellions of the time may not be applicable in today’s culture, we still enjoy “Twist and Shout” and “Build Me Up Buttercup” like any high school student in the 60s, lest we forget the legacy of the Beach Boys or the smooth voice of Ray Charles.  After all, who needs a bass drop when you can listen to the Beatles?

The 70’s (by Spenser Potter)

Let’s rewind back to the age of the 70s.  It is the decade and birthplace of psychedelic rock, disco, and metal.  While the 60s brought the spotlight upon the rock genre, the 70s took it to another level.  More sub genres began to appear and music was becoming more diverse.  Some of the biggest known bands came out of this decade.

    Perhaps the most well known psychedelic rock band earned their claim to fame in the 1970s.  Pink Floyd released The Dark Side of The Moon in 1973 and it has become the second best selling album of all time.  Although enjoying success on their later albums, nothing came close to The Dark Side of The Moon.  The album launched them into mainstream and they became one of the most well-known bands.  Due to this fact, Pink Floyd became a major influence to many musicians and paved the way for a different style of music.

Also bringing attention to the rock world were bands such as Led Zepplin and The Who.  Led Zepplin achieved their success through the release of “Stairway to Heaven” and the heavier sound they played, unlike the Beatles of the 60s.  The Who also played with a different, heavier sound, with loud drums and prominent vocals.  These two bands influenced a wave of musicians, much like Pink Floyd, and are the early influences hard rock.

    Disco became extremely popular during this decade and one of the most well-known disco bands is the Bee Gees.  They helped bring popularity to the genre with hits such as “Stayin’ Alive” and “Saturday NIght Fever”.  Another popular disco band – and perhaps the most successful – is Earth, Wind, & Fire (EWF).  Their music consisted of catchy lyrics and  prominent brass instruments.  Some of their biggest hits include “September” and “Shining Star”.  Their songs have resounded through the decades and are still very much alive today.  Most people have heard one of their catchy melodies and hum or whistle it to themselves, sometimes without even knowing it.

Other notable bands of the 70s include Kiss.  Kiss is known for their strange costumes and wild live performances.  They achieved major success through hits like “I Wanna Rock N’ Roll All Night” and “Detroit Rock City”.  Also acquiring huge success was Queen.  Perhaps their most well known song is “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” but still produced other hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Considered to be the founders of heavy metal Black Sabbath also entered the scene with hits like “Paranoid” and “War Pigs”, and this was Ozzy Osbourne’s initial claim to fame.  And a major pop band that cannot be overlooked is ABBA.  They produced music that wasn’t quite disco and was unique in it’s own way.  “Mama Mia” is just one of the many hits that they put out.

    Often overlooked because of the extreme success of Pink Floyd and Kiss, Rush has made immense contributions to the world of rock music.  They have pioneered a subgenre of rock, known as progressive rock.  They achieved success with their hit “Working Man” and were constantly receiving poor reviews from critics, which contributed to their lack of popularity.  The reason they are being mentioned is the fact that nearly every rock band from the 1970s and onward has referenced Rush as an influence in one way or another.

In Love with the 80’s (by Alli Milne)

We thought they were simpler times. We thought they had too much hairspray and no real emotions. If that’s the case, then why I do I find them more apt to describe what’s going on than today’s artists? It was the music that defined a generation and it’s a crying shame it can’t define mine. It’s the world of the 1980s.

The Ultimate 80s Music Top Ten (according to Alli and in no particular order)

  1. Always Something There Naked Eyes (1983)
  2. Livin’ on a Prayer Bon Jovi (1986)
  3. Take on Me a-ha (1985)
  4. Jessie’s Girl Rick Springfield (1981)
  5. With or Without You U2 (1987)
  6. If You Leave Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1986)
  7. In Your Eyes Peter Gabriel (1986)
  8. Wake Me Up Wham! (1984)
  9. Just Can’t Get Enough Depeche Mode (1981)
  10. Summer of ‘69 Bryan Adams (1984)

The 90’s (by Mini Tupai)

Music in the 90’s was exciting to say the least. From Britney spears to NSYNC there was no end to change and pop dance times. The 90’s music window was not even over until about 2004, if we are being honest. And this window although might not have had the beginnings of music sensations that rewrote the way music was made like someone like Elvis, the Beatles, or our MJ; the 90s gave a twist to individualism to the music industry that we didn’t have before.

Asking around, most people idea of the music in the 90’s centralizes around the idea of the grunge and Britney Spears. But the music that we listen to now that is popular are very similar in what the topics in songs are and what type of music it is. People want something they can dance too that isn’t choreographed every song. The 90’s gave us a time for individualism and self-awareness that has carried on to today. In fact a lot of music that was asked about is often confused as modern music simply because it is still being listened to. (top ten, top music, Best of the 90s)

Women seemed to come forward more as individual artists in the 70’s and 80’s but the 90’s was a time when they came forward with gusto and without and boundaries. Britany Spears is a prime example she came and blew the idea of female singers out of the water with Baby one more time and again with her music video and the infamous costume she sports in it.  She continues even until now with music that matches her excitement for music in the beginning. (Britneys top ten)

NSYNC will forever live on in all of our hearts as the bleach tips boy band that stole the stage and our hearts forever. Bye Bye Bye is an example to all of us on what and how we should deal with high school relationships. (

The 2000’s (by Allie Coats)

The 2000’s were a transition period, culture wise, technology wise, and especially throughout the music industry. We were seeing the fade out of 90’s boy bands and the introduction of hip hop, and techno music.  Because of the increased use of the internet music was easier to create, share, and spread.  Music became whatever the listener wanted, and there was a little something for everyone, from bands like My Chemical Romance to artist like Eminem.

2000’s were about figuring out who you were going to be. It was the key stepping stone that went from the lax days of the 90’s to the technologically advanced ways of the 21 century, going from clunky slow desktops to iPhones in one decade. Music was not left behind in this transition, there was now a place that you could access whatever music you wanted, where everyone could buy a copy and carry it with them.

The first sighting of the hipster happened in the 2000’s, from the wide-rimmed glasses and suspenders to the obscure tunes. Songs that came from ordinary people, who were made popular not by a record label, but by a YouTube clip (cough, Bieber-Fever, cough), or a link on Facebook became a big deal. Celebrities who popped up over-night, trends swept the nation in days, information spread like wild fire, and all thanks the increased use of the internet.