Which decade produced the best music – 60’s? 70’s? 80’s?
If there is one thing that generations young and old can agree upon, it’s that today’s pop music is – to put it mildly – dreadful. Many of us are scratching our heads, wondering what ever happened to the epoch defining popular music of previous decades. The 60’s, 70’s and 80’s produced some incredible music, so which decade comes out on top?
The Swinging 60’s
It all began and ended with the Beatles, who formed in Liverpool at the dawn of a new decade. Their music defined rock music for generations to come and stayed on the edge of innovation with late albums – Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road.
While the Beatles were busy becoming bigger than ‘Jesus’ as John Lennon infamously proclaimed The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and The Who all in their own way contributed to a decade of music that will go down in history as one of the greatest ever.
The Psychedelic 70’s
Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic sounds, extended compositions and elaborate live shows, Pink Floyd is one of the most commercially successful music groups in history. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975) and the Wall (1979) became three of the best-selling albums of all time. Who could forget the guitar solo in Comfortably Numb or the unique sound and concept of Another Brick in the Wall?
While Pink Floyd defined the decades sound, the likes of Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, The Beegees, Led Zeppelin, The Clash and Queen all built on the groundwork for a new sense of aesthetic and personal freedom laid in the 60’s, where artists experimented and new musical movements were formed.
The Eclectic 80’s
The artist that summed up the sound of the 80’s more than anyone was undoubtedly Bruce Springsteen. The Boss’s hard and quintessentially American, rock’n’roll music told stories of love, life and the gap between the American Dream and American Reality.
Whether you were donning your first spandex or putting on the leathers and devil fingering to Guns’n’Roses or ACDC, it will go down as perhaps the most underrated and eclectic decade of music ever – New Order, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, U2, Prince, INXS, Duran Duran, the list of unusually satisfying artists goes on and on.
Although there is a lot to be said about both the 70’s and 80’s, the decade that laid the foundation for the great musical experimentation that took place was undoubtedly the Swinging 60’s. To that end, the 60’s definitely produced the best music in history.