60 Years of Music - a look back at the trends that have dominated a generation

cwilko2011 By cwilko2011, 8th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/37yvbr.q/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Music>Music History

A quick look back at the last 60 years of music and the artists that have endured the test of time.

The 1950's

A decade that was dominated by Pop, Swing and The King!

The 1950's saw a shift in music tastes from the Jazz sounds of the 1950's to the revolutionary Pop. One of the artists that was instrumental towards the latter end of the decade was the unequivocal King - Elvis Presley.

There were however other artists that helped shape the decade in terms of music. This included: - Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray and Guy Mitchell. The decade personified the freedom that the new "youth movement" had recently acquired and as such the music was lighter, bouncier and brought about an air of fun.

The 1960's

The 1960's was the undoubted age of Rock and Roll. In the UK there was one band alone that owned the entire decade. The Beatles racked up an impressive 19 number one hits in the Uk during this decade.

Joining them in this Rock and Roll revolution were other bands such as The Rolling Stones , Elvis Presley, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Kinks.

On the other side of the musical spectrum was the whiter than white Cliff Richards, with his wholesome music and clean image. This juxtaposition between artists is something that is repeated through every single decade of music history.

The 1970's

The 1970's was a decade of changing music tastes and saw the emergence of artists that grew to massive acclaim and used this decade as a spring board for their career. During the 1970's we were first introduced to the short lived movement known as Disco, a genre that fell by the wayside due to its mass commercialisation.

The decade saw massive contrast with artists ranging from Abba to Gary Glitter, The Osmonds to Rod Stewart and Queen to David Essex. The rock and roll that dominated the 1960's was replaced with New Wave, Disco and Progressive Rock.

Sadly, the 1970's also saw the demise of many popular artists including Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

The 1980's

As we move from the 1970's into the 1980's we see yet another seismic change. This was the decade of synthesisers, sampling and the rise of Michael Jackson, Madonna and the pop movement that has endured right through to the modern day.

Artists such as Abba, Blondie and Paul Mcartney made the transition to the new era of music and held their own against new bands such as Adam and the Ants, Joy Division and Shakin Stevens.

The music reflected the new wave of YUPPIES flooding the UK. The invention of the cassette player also helped bring new artists to higher acclaim.


Possibly the most changeable decade in music to date, the 1990's saw a massive range of genres. Grunge, Hip Hop, R&B, Pop and Rap all played a part in shaping the decade of music.

Artists included The Fugees, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, U2, Westlife and Mariah Carey. The decade began with the post-cold war era of grunge and rock and ended with the sugary sweet Pop.

The penultimate decade of the millennium was suitably changeable and illustrates the transitions both politically and economically that spread around the world.

2000 Onward

The millennium saw the biggest change to the entire music industry, a change that has slowly waned but still not entirely disappeared. Talent shows such as The XFactor changed the face of the music industry and began to churn out acts at a rapid pace. Though few of these artists have survived the test of time, it is clear that this has been instrumental in the way music was produced during the noughties.

This was the age of the manufactured band and with the rise of digital download the popularity of certain genres of music became skewed. Popularity was no longer gauged purely by the chart as it became impossible to record every single download. The role the internet played in shaping the music industry has become one of the biggest talking points within the industry and has had the biggest effect of all on the music we listen to.


Chart, Grunge, Music, Musicians, New Romantics, Pop, Popular, Rap, Rb, Rock And Roll

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author avatar cwilko2011
English Post-grad guy who loves to read.

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author avatar Denise O
8th Jul 2011 (#)

Nice walk through the decades of music, you brought back a lot of memories. Nice read.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Jules Castillo
7th Jan 2012 (#)

thanks for mentioning westlife

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