Music Through The Decades

The times are a changin’, and music is no exception.


Valerie Rosek

An old tape with a cord in the shape of a heart.

Trends and styles come and go. Some may come back from the past or die out; as time passes so does music. Artists strive to make it to Billboard’s Top Hits list and stay there, amid competition from other artists and songs. Some prevail and are remembered decades later. These are the most popular songs of each decade.

Various genres of music sparked in the 1950s: rock and roll, country, blues and jazz. The top songs of this decade were mostly well known from artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra. The top songs were “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley, “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash and “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.

The 1960s brought in many bands that will go down as some of the best musicians. Some of them were: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd. The most known songs were “Let It Be” by The Beatles, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

“I really like 60s music because of the vibe I get from the songs,” sophomore Mia Maldonado said, “I feel like music has come along way.”

The 1970s had a different vibe of music. Disco became very popular along with soul. Some popular artists were Queen, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Stevie Wonder. The top songs of this decade were “Dancing Queen” by Arrival, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

This decade really dominated in the music industry with artists such as: Michael Jackson, Elton John, Madonna and Whitney Houston. Three very popular songs in the 80’s were “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, “Take On Me” by A Ha and “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

Rap, reggae and R&B music remained popular throughout this decade. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Vanilla Ice became known artists from their songs in the 1990s. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston and “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears were some of the most popular songs.

Rock music surged back into popularity, along with metal, pop punk and indie rock. Rihanna, NSYNC, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber started the new generation of artists. They continue to create trends for today’s generation. Top songs the start of the 2000’s were “Hey Ya!” by OutKast, “Yeah!” by Usher and “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s.

“One of my favorite songs is ‘One Piece at a Time’ by Johnny Cash because me and my dad used to listen to it when I was little,” sophomore Madison Merrill said.

Rap, pop, indie, country and basically every other genre of music has had hits this decade. With the rise of listening sites such as Spotify and Apple Music, more people are listening to music than ever before. Known artists today are Drake, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Miley Cyrus and Post Malone. Some top songs from this decade have been “Congratulations” by Post Malone, “Sorry” by Justin Bieber and “One Dance” by Drake.