Study Confirms 1960 To 1999 As The Golden Age Of Pop

If you're more au fait with the likes of Cardi B and Post Malone rather than The Beatles and Wham, we've got bad news for you because that means you have terrible taste in music.

But hey, don't take our word for it - the theory has now been backed up by science - kind of - as a new study revealed the Golden Age of pop music occurred between the 1960s and the 1990s.

Now you might think this piece of research was clearly carried out by a bunch of old fuddy-duddies, but you'd be wrong, as the poll was taken by people aged between 18 and 25 - who were either yet to be born or at least not conscious enough to hold an opinion of popular culture.

The study quizzed 643 young people, testing their ability to recognise hit songs from several different decades, with the best results coming for records released between 1960 and 1999.

The 1960s was among the decades considered to make up the Golden Age of pop music. Credit: PA
The 1960s was among the decades considered to make up the Golden Age of pop music. Credit: PA

However, after this the results fell off a cliff edge, with poor scores being recorded by the youngsters.

Probably for the best really.

Lead researcher on the study, Dr Pascal Wallisch, from New York University in the United States, 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."

According to the music boffins, the reason for these results is in large part due to the fact that songs released during this period were much more varied than they were between 2000 to 2015, or the 1940s and 1950s.

But there were also an incredible amount of brilliant songs written and released between 1960 and 1999, such as Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' (1969), Pink Floyd's iconic 'Comfortably Numb' (1979) and Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear The Reaper' (1976).

Then if you move into the 90s there's a whole wealth of incredible pop tunes, from the Spice Girls' with 'Wannabe' (1996) to Britney Spears' 'Baby One More Time' (1998).

The list is almost endless.

Who doesn't love the Spice Girls? Credit: PA
Who doesn't love the Spice Girls? Credit: PA

Songs selected for the study included those that made it to number one in the Billboard Top 100 between 1940 and 1957, and top slot on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1958 to 2015.

Each person who participated was then presented with short clips from seven of 152 songs and asked if they knew what they were.

The results found a steep drop-off for records released between the years 2015 and 2000, with a more gradual decline for songs of the 1950s and 1940s.

Conversely, songs from the 1960s to 1990s generated a 'stable plateau' of music recognition, therefore proving it to indeed be the Golden Age.

The research is published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French and History, Dom went onto gain an NCTJ journalism qualification. Since then he has worked as a reporter at the Manchester Evening News and the Macclesfield Express, covering breaking news, court, sports, and politics.

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