It’s hard to forget how good music was in the 1960s and according to a recent study, millennials feel the same way.
Researchers from New York University tested participants aged 18-25 about how well they recognised popular songs throughout the decades and the results were surprising. The study found that the younger crowd seems to have a much stronger memory for music released in the golden age – between the 1960s and 1990s – than of their own decade.
Although a higher percentage of the participants recalled songs from the 21st century, there was a fairly steep decline in the recognition of hits released between the years 2000 and 2015 which, compared to their steady and consistent memory for older tunes, definitely says something about the impact of music from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Millennials quickly recognised classic hits like ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ by Percy Sledge in 1966, ‘The Loco-Motion’ by Grand Funk in 1974, ‘Leader Of The Pack’ by The Shangri-Las in 1964 or The Beatles’ 1967 hit ‘Hello Goodbye’. However, barely anyone remembered the lesser known hits like ‘Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You’ by Connie Francis in 1962, ‘Easier Said Than Done’ by The Essex in 1963, ‘I’m Sorry’ by Brenda Lee in 1960 or 1971’s ‘Knock Three Times’ by Dawn.
The most recognised song for millennials from the entire decade of the 1950s was, of course, from the King himself, Elvis Presley, with 1957’s mega-hit ‘All Shook Up’ and their least recognised song was ‘Till I Waltz Again’ by popular jazz and country singer Teresa Brewer in 1953.
Lead researcher Pascal Wallisch described it best when she said: “The 1960s to 1990s was a special time in music, reflected by a steady recognition of pieces of that era — even by today’s millennials.”
The researchers also used the music app, Spotify, to see how many times each song had been listened to online. The most played song from the 1960s was ‘Help!’ by the Beatles in 1965 with over 36 million plays worldwide. Researchers said this means that millennials not only recognise these older songs but are also choosing to listen to them over more modern music.
Music back in the day clearly had something that has made it stand the test of time. Whether it was the magic of the Beatles, the lyricism of Bob Dylan or the anarchy of The Rolling Stones, it seems millennials can also appreciate the quality of music from decades ago. So next time you’re with the grandkids, pop on some old classics and watch them fall in love!