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Music Through the Decades

Olivia Acevedo, A&E Editor

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Music is something that everyone can relate to. The many genres and styles is enough for people to find their preferred sound. There are many varieties of music, allowing many music stars and legends to be associated with it.  Whether it’s R&B, Pop, or Rock, music in the 20th century had many famous songs and artists. Looking back, here are some of the most prominent albums and artists of the last century

If you’re more into retro music, then you might be familiar with a few of the following albums which were known to be top selling in their decade.  Many albums were recorded by artists that are well known even to this day.  Some of them include Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra.  In the 50s, Frank Sinatra released his album In the Wee Small Hours.  This was the ninth album by the American vocalist and it was a type of jazz music that allowed him to live on to be one of the most loved artists to ever live.  Miles Davis was known to have the top album of the 50s, Kind of Blue, which also had a jazz feel.  Even though it only contained five songs, the heartfelt music allowed the artist to gain an established reputation.  The King of Rock and Roll came out with his self titled album, Elvis Presley.  Even when he was new to the music industry, he immediately put himself on the map.  One of his top songs “Blue Suede Shoes” appeared on this rock album.

The 60s were known for fashion and new music.  A young Michael Jackson with his brother band “The Jackson 5” also came out with one of their first albums known as Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5.  Ross was able to find and exploit their talent for the whole world to see and thus, the band was born.  The Beatles were a legendary British band whose music has lived on for decades.  With Abbey Road being released in 1969 as their eleventh studio album, their fame rose to new heights.  The album cover itself is an iconic photo of the band, as they are walking one behind the other on a crosswalk in the streets of London, England. Sadly, this was the Beatles last album.   Frank Sinatra had yet another album in the year of 1969 known as, My Way.  It was a very different album because it consisted of contemporary pop songs, such as The Beatles’ “Yesterday” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs.Robinson”.  However, the genre was a general mix of jazz, vocal jazz, and traditional pop music.  The song “My Way” effectively lived on to be Sinatra’s career theme song.  

Bob Dylan is a legendary American singer and songwriter.  His influential words and ways have lived on through his music for more than five decades.  In 1975, he released his 15th album, Blood on the Tracks which marked his comeback after two flop albums previously.  This album features songs such as “Shelter From the Storm” and “Tangled Up in Blue”.  Another iconic British rock band, the Beatles, also came together in London, England.  They were known for their classic hits as well as their classic band members: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor.  In 1975, the band released A Night at the Opera which contains “Love of my Life”, “You’re my Best Friend”, and their infamous “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  The Beatles released yet another album in 1973 called, 1962-1966.  However, it was a compilation album that consisted of previous songs from 1962-1966 hence the album title.  Some of the songs on the album were known to be a few of the Beatles biggest hits, such as “Love Me Do”, “Help”, “Yesterday”, and “In My Life”.  

In the 1980’s Michael Jackson, nicknamed the King of Pop, set the bar with his iconic Thriller album.  It was the sixth album from the pop star, and it sold between 51 and 65 million copies.  Almost immediately, it was declared to be the best selling album of all time and still is to this day.  Thriller featured some of Jackson’s tops songs such as “Beat It”, “Thriller” and his most popular song, “Billie Jean”.  Purple Rain was an album produced by the legendary rock band, Prince and the Revolution.  They were known to have a rock sound, however they also included sounds of pop, blues, funk and other elements.  On the album were songs that Prince was best known for, such as “When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, and of course, “Purple Rain”.  Madonna was a pop queen who released her third studio album known as “True Blue”.  The American singer and songwr
iter co-produced the whole album and had a few popular songs such as “Papa Don’t Preach”, “Live to Tell”, and “True Blue.”

The 90s were known for black culture arising through all types of entertainment and classic T.V. shows.  Music was also huge in this decade.  Rap and R&B were essentially popular in this decade.  With new iconic names and sounds, the music world was forever changed.  A new type of sound known as grunge/punk rock was introduced into the world through the legendary band and allusive Kurt Cobain.  By releasing their infamous album Nevermind, society had the chance to be shown a new type of music; especially with popular songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are”.  However, rap was also huge to this era.  Known to be one of the top rap artists of all time, Tupac Shakur also introduced the music world to a new sound with his famous album Me Against the World.  In this album, songs such as “Me Against the World” and “Dear Mama” made a famous appearance and were able to help the singer with his popular image.  In relation to her world famous and legendary brother, Janet Jackson was also a top selling artist in the 90s.  With her fifth studio album, Janet, containing songs such as “Go on Miss Janet” and “Racism”, it went on to be an instant hit with multiple award nominations.  

As you can see, the 20th century was filled with many iconic artists and songs that made the music world what it is today.  It allowed people a chance to discover their music tastes due to the wide variety of genres.  Artists today and future artists to come are influenced through the music of our previous times.  Retro music allows the world to explore all different types of styles and sounds while getting an idea of the way music use to be.  Times have changed and music today is very different than what it was before.  However, people today are still familiar with old music, allowing us to know that it is still very popular today.

 

          

 

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Music Through the Decades