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Millennials’ still recognise songs from music’s 1960s-90s golden age, study finds

MILLENNIALS’ RECOGNITION OF songs from the 1960s through to the 1990s is relatively stable over this period, according to new research. 

By contrast, their recognition of musical hits from 2000 to 2015, while higher overall than the previous era, diminishes rapidly over time. 

“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,” observed Pascal Wallisch of New York University’s Department of Psychology and senior author of the study. 

While the researchers didn’t establish what explained the stable level of recognition for songs from the 1960s through the 1990s, they noted that during this period there was a significantly greater diversity of songs reaching the top of the Billboard charts compared to 2000 to 2015 and 1940 to 1950. 

The large number of popular songs during the latter part of the 30th century may explain why so many are recognisable decades later. 

However, the authors acknowledge that the findings could be the result of self-selection – there was a considerable correlation between the likelihood of recognising a given song and its corresponding play count on Spotify, why they also measured. 

Yet, this result nonetheless underscores the popularity of certain songs from the 1960s through the end of the 20th century. 

“Spotify was launched in 2008, well after nearly 90% of the songs we studied were released, which indicates millennials are aware of the music that, in general, preceded their lives and are nonetheless choosing to listen to it,” Wallisch said. 

But Wallisch and his colleagues emphasised that recognition of songs even from this period varies. Some were extremely well known, such as When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge (1966), Baby Come Back by Player (1977), and The Tide is High by Blondie (1980), whereas others, like Knock Three Times by

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