Eras of music

Music popularity through the generations

Eras of music

Raine Morrison, Staff Writer

Humanity’s love for art has been shown from as far back as we can trace our history. Since so many cultures use art as a form of expression, time periods are perfectly reflected based on the art of that time. This article will focus specifically on music as an art form. Music creates a feeling through melodies and harmonies and it is something almost anyone can create. Each generation has their own music which reflects the feelings of the people of that era. 

Let’s take a look back on music over the past 70 years.

The 1950s 

Most of the music from the 1950s is defined by being the birth of rock and roll. The music of this time was very heavily represented by the unique combination of rock, R&B, and pop blues. Creating a powerful sound for the defining music of the 50s. 

Most popular song of the 50’s: “Goodnight Irene” by Gordon Jenkins & The Weavers

The 1960s 

The 60’s are known for the rise of sunshine or “bubblegum” pop music, that feels very romantic and fun, but it also had a very intense flux of progressive and experimental rock music. This time period also characterized hard rock being more rebellious than before, causing a very big split between hard rock and soft rock (which is a lot more sentimental and full of emotion).

Most popular song of the 60’s: “She Loves You” by the Beatles

The 1970s 

The 70’s was an extremely important period for music, especially pop since it generally became disco music. Disco quickly became very prominent and iconic for this time period. The people of this era also enjoyed funk and soul music (which had become popular once again).

Most popular song of the 70’s: “How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees’ 

The 1980s 

The most important part about 80’s music is that it included a lot of electronic and new wave music that had become “modern rock.” The 80’s also showcased a lot of euro disco and dance pop, which evolved from the disco in the 70’s. The 80’s showcased a lot of rock-and-roll due to the idea that rock was now something that was for people who were seen as “cool.” This created a much wider audience for rock and roll in this era. 

Most popular song of the 80’s: “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

The 1990s 

The early popularity of Nirvana heavily influenced the switch of genres being popular for the 90’s. There was an extremely large rise in grunge and punk music due to Kurt Cobain’s style. There was a very big contrast between genres during this time since there was a large amount of people trying to make experimental, never heard before music. Hip hop also started getting popular due to the influence of Tupac and his significant contribution to popularizing West Coast hip hop. 

Most popular song of the 90’s: “Candle in the Wind 1997″/”Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John 

The 2000s 

In the 2000’s modern pop music was divided into smaller trends. New indie related genres also came to life as well as the birth of emo and electronic sub-genres of music. 

Most popular song of the 2000’s: “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

The 2010s 

The most major part of 2010’s music has to be hip hop. Latin and k-pop also established themselves as major genres. One of the most fascinating trends from the 2010’s was the resurgence of psychedelic rock as a popular sub-genre (which was only a big trend in the 70’s). EDM also became very mainstream, as well as trap (as a sub-genre). 

Most popular song of the 2010’s: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams 

The early 2020s 

Being that we are still living through this era, we can’t predict all of the music trends or popular resurgences, but for now we generally have a big emphasis on the re-popularity of metal, nu-metal, goth rock, hard rock, and 70’s/80’s style rock bands (all as sub-genres). The most popular genre in this early era (at this time) is modern pop and indie rock/pop music. 

Most popular song of the 2020’s (so far): “Blinding Lights” the Weeknd