Best Decades for Music After 1900

What is the best decade for music released in the 20th and 21 centuries?

The Top TenXW


Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Madonna, Pink Floyd, Prince, Metallica, Iron Maiden, U2, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, Van Halen, Run-DMC, Billy Joel, Whitney Huston, definitely Leppard, Bon Jovi, Queen, Motley Crue, Kiss, Poison, George Michael, The Rolling Stones

The 60s and 70s music was great. However the 80s was sterling and the last defining decade of great music. Kids and adults alike may not have grown up in that era like myself but love that kind of music as if they did. The 80s was also a time of hope and change and when you though you could accomplish anything. I don't think music since then has ever quite captured that similar emotion.

A lot of the bands listed on here were not even 80s bands. Someone obviously hasn't done their research. Rolling Stones? They were a 60s band for crying out loud! Bruce Springsteen was a singer from the 70s! So was Kenny Loggins, The Police were also a 70s band and they were bigger then than they were in the 80s. I really like 80s music too but I swear some 80s fans can be so deluded, making out EVERY band came out in the 80s, giving no credit to the 60s, 70s or 90s.

80s popular music is the most similar to pop music of today out of all the other decades.

Pink Floyd, Queen, and The Rolling Stones all peaked in the early 70s.

V60 Comments

" The 60s was the most innovative period of music that change the rest of the century. The Vietnam War was around along with civil rights movements and the music around the time truly represented the cultural ideas which helped unify our rebellious world. Even today the most iconic pioneers of music are all remembered from the 60s. Rap came from soul (James Brown), House originated from all the techniques bands did in the studios (Beatles, Who, Jimi Hendrix), and everyone knows The Rolling Stones contributed a whole lot to pop. There's no argument, the 70s and 80s were all continuations of the 60s. Finally, who could not forget the glorious beauty of psychedelia, our time has yet to bring that back."

1980's was alright but that was when MTV was founded and music began to become more commercialized... Jazz and Blues were very important and played a key role in shaping rock music but I have to go with the 1960's... Frankly I believe this era was the most creative with hippie culture and all... Simply awesome...

It appalls me that this decade is not ranked #1. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Kinks. The Beatles alone are better than entire eras of music not to mention the influence this era of music had on society. The 70s is just a continuation of this era. Yes everyone has their own preference and style of music but still there is more to 60s music than the music itself.

Nothing to say here. Just the best era to live in.

V47 Comments

Oh, number 4? No way. The 70's was the best, and it isn't close. Zeppelin, Floyd, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, all did their best stuff during this era. In addition, you had the next tier of stuff, like Kansas, Wings, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Queen, Steve Miller Band, STEVIE WONDER, The Who, and on and on and on. This music stands the test of time better than anything from the '80s for sure, and metal was born. Albums were projects that were meant to be enjoyed top to bottom, not just churned out for the sake of a dollar. Artists, not entertainers.

I would go '70's, '60's, 90's, then 80's.

Early 70s - A continuation of 60s psychedelia; Krautrock; birth of metal; birth of electronica; birth of ambient.

Mid/Late 70s - Progressive Rock lived and (mostly) died; birth of punk and new-wave; second-wave ska; reggae took off.

Most of all I love the attitude that many artists shared regarding the album as a complete work of art and NOT as a collection of potential singles. Album Artwork was at its peak in the 70s. Experimental and forward-thinking artists were actually able to achieve chart success!

I would LOVE to say that a period of time closer to today is better but I can't; truth is the music industry has deteriorated considerably. There are plenty of great bands today, but I look at my music collection and feel like I own more albums from this period of time than any other.

The best soul, pop, dance, folk, rock music was made between 1965 and 1985. Most of what's considered today classic rock comes from this period. And most classic bands produced their best material in the seventies, independently of their genre. Take any band, any genre, their best contribution to music comes from this period in time. The sixties created most of the innovation in pop music, but the quality and quantity of good bands from the seventies is really remarkable and undisputable.

It was kind of a continuation of the sixties

V44 Comments

I think that people are neglecting the fact that the massively influential indie scene that exploded in the 90s. Albums like ok computer, in the aeroplane over the sea, and entroducing were more than just great albums, they changed what music could be. The 90s was a generation sick of music staying stagnant and stale and because of that experimentation and the return of forgotten genres returned. The 80s was a horribly overrated period in music, filled with herds of extremely generic electronica dance musicians who have (thankfully) been forgotten, uninspired hair rockers who did not have a creative bone in their body, and quite possibly the worst of them all, Madonna, who would inspire bull musicians for decades to come.

This dissatisfaction with music (along with other cultural circumstances) is what inspired the angsty, anti-system philosophy fueling the musical era of the 90s and it also produced some of the greatest music ever. Sure corporatism was still extremely ...more

Absolutely, hands down, the 90's is the best decade in music. The rise of grunge, the development of hip hop, and the polishing of pop all cement this decade as the best in history. Perhaps it was the sheer volume of music released, due to the enhanced availability of recording, that allowed quality music to be distributed. Perhaps it was due to the ability to edit and mix music using digital means, allowing errors to be corrected. Perhaps it was due to the relative economic prosperity in the nineties creating an environment for people to imagine and develope their abilities. Whatever the case may be, the 90's is the best decade in music based on the breadth, depth, and innovation of all musical genres.

The 90s was the last decade of music where the artists actually wrote their own music and played their instruments. They inspired many people and there was many different genres of great musicians. I was born in the mid 90s, so I grew up listening to music in the 2000s. It wasn't until a few years ago I started listening to 90s music. I'm so glad I found it, I love the 90s music especially the grunge. I hate my generation of music. The music now days sucks. Also the 90s is the best cause of Nirvana, enough said.

In the 90s, hip hop and rock changed, and it became easier and more likely for artists to experiment than ever before.

V35 Comments

Brilliant decade would have to tie it with 60's but it had that great mix and all the music was genuine. It actually required a lot of talent to make it.

Ah, the '50s... The birth of rock 'n roll. I have tremendous respect for the rock singers like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly (my all-time favorite singer) and Jerry Lee Lewis, but that wasn't the only music genre from this decade. There were singers like Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Bing Crosby... Plus, some really swell harmony groups (Drifters, Dion & the Belmonts, Coasters) too. Love it.

The time of drive-in movies, cruise-ins, chromed up slick cars, cruising the main street. Back when music was based on being a teenager, in love, or cars. Lyrics had a meaning that you could understand. The roots of rock n' roll. What a great decade!

Culture was at its finest in North America. I like the cars too.

V6 Comments

Bands like "The Killers" and "Interpol" were fantastic. I also liked listening to "The Postal Service" which was a side project (or spin off) from the band "Death Cab For Cutie". Though the 2000s seemed to spook a lot of people in their 30s that enjoyed the sequential steps of the 70s, 80s, and 90s of both style & music. However even though I was in my 30s I rather enjoyed the 2000's in both style & music. I found the 2000's to be a refreshing change from the 1990s. I loved the 1980s but a lot of the 90s I actually hated. Not because it was too dark or grungy but I thought a lot of 90s music was "Corporate Generated" to seem or sound deep or dark. I like my music both Light & Dark, Happy & Sad, or if it's simply dark I like it to have more depth than just the cliche' screaming into a microphone because it is a stereotype of being deep or hurt. The 2000's had a lot of great music that was both spooky & enjoyable. Bands like "The ...more

Radiohead, the White Stripes, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Wilco, The Strokes, Kanye West, The Arctic Monkeys, Interpol, Fleet Foxes, LCD Soundsystem, Bon Iver, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Good stuff. At least there's more variety than the eighties. It's hard to rate this decade since despite the fact that there was so much great music, there was so much bad music, that it's hard to pick whether you liked it as a whole. Since it was so recent, we remember the bad stuff instead of like in the 60s and 70s. But if you read a top albums of the decade list for this decade, you will be impressed.

If you think about it, the Internet Boom gave everyone a chance. Sites like Bandcamp and YouTube have helped a lot of unknown artists and bands get recognised.

Also there were hundreds of more well-known bands that peaked in the '00s, like Radiohead, The White Stripes, Yo La Tengo, Grandaddy, you name it. Others were still better in the '90s, like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, but still continued into the '00s with more great music. Many excellent new bands emerged in the '00s, like The Strokes, Interpol, Foals, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, etc. Amazing time for music. Hate it how people when they do "90s vs 00s" comparisons, they compare Nirvana to One Direction. That's not fair. Actually make an effort to find the good bands if you have to. - uweuan

Host of the best bands since the Beatles (Radiohead, the White Stripes)

V8 Comments

Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Bud Freeman

I don't care about this list but I'm crying when I see the 2010s above the 1940s... In the 1940s many great artists would rise, and be one of the greatest of all time, singers like Frank Sinatra.

The popular music shifted from big band swing to pop by the end of the decade.

Glenn. Miller. No more needs to be said.

V4 Comments

Terrible shallow, hollow, pre-fab music. Auto tuned voices and cliche' lyrics about sex make it soulless. Even songs that are supposed to be "deep" actually come off as "shallow" in the 2010s. From Country Music to Pop, from Rap to Tech it is empty. It's like someone took all the elements of good music to make a fake copy with no soul. From the singers voice, the lyrics, the music, the stylings music of the 2010s seems like an Easy Bake Oven version of music. Formulated & Cold, soulless and without a life-force. I'm someone who disliked the 90s and 2000's but compared this this vacuous mess of the 2010's the 1990s and 2000's have more soul and depth in its metaphorical pinky finger than the 2000s ever could. And any soul or depth after the 2010's is so negligible it's scary. It's like all the real artists died off a long time ago and computers are writing the music for todays soulless zombies. But I can't say that all of todays people are soulless because a lot of younger folks are ...more

Let's all go on the hate the new music bandwagon! But seriously, does this not sound familiar? Oh it's the exact same thing your grandparents did to your generation's music. I won't be the first to say that there has been horrible music this decade, but there has been some pretty good music as well. People are saying "It' doesn't bring anything new to music", but last time I checked electronic music wasn't very big until the early 2010's. I also here people saying there is too much autotune, but I think auto tune is far less recognisable now as it was in the 2000's. And lastly people say it is soulless and shallow, which I'd be the first to agree that Anaconda is soulless, but we can't really say that it's soulless when other decades can't really talk. Personally I don't think that Yellow Submarine, is a very deep, or Dancing Queen or ABC, but that's not the point. The point is there should not be a ranking of every decade of music. Music is very subjective and nearly everyone tends ...more

I will only listen to Indie music from many genres. Justin, Taylor, One Direction, etc. etc. What's so new and creative about them? No different from pop we have heard before and before and oh yeah, before! Every decade before this one and the 2000's, for the most part, has had something original. A sound that changed music and that change defined each decade. This decade, one has to look real deep and go to particular genres. Unlike decades before popular music today is bland and has not picked up on an original sound to define it. It's there but just not popular and mainstream, like every other decade before the 2000's. It's getting late and this decade needs to find a memorable sound. It's there it just needs to come to the forefront and let the bland, shallow, less important sound take a back seat.

Popular music isn't supposed to be so great. Songs on the radio have to be catchy and have to communicate a simple message in about four minutes without need for repeat listens, and as music gets more cryptic and experimental, the best music isn't always going to be popular. There will be a few dozen stand-out albums that get a lot of recognition from the internet music community, though. For example, To Pimp A Butterfly is extremely well-known, but it's not being played on Top 40 Radio.

I'll admit that the rock charts in this decade are much more disappointing than in, say, the 90s, but many bands being categorized into "alternative rock" (Coldplay, the 1975) are just playing left-of-center pop music.

V15 Comments

I would pick this decade, since I think it has one of the greatest selections of music. The 1940's comes extremely close, except it was a decline of the Big Bands by the mid-1940's. After that, I would pick the 1920's.

I really like that kind of music also since my one grandpa sang in a group. I like to play that kind of music on the piano also.

Jacqueline M. Roberts

American songbook is before rock. Greatest American composers Gershwin,cole porter, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart and many others dominated the first half of the 20th Century. They are the Mozarts of American Music.

V5 Comments

All the blues artist were around in this era.

I really like that kind of music because that's the music from when my grandparents were little kids. I like to play that kind of music on the piano.
Jacqueline M. Roberts

V1 Comment

The Contenders


Down by the Old Mill Stream, Beale Street Blues, and The Near Future are all great songs -

V1 Comment

Exiting new era new genres of music really evolved

There wasn't any recorded music before 1900 so... - SammySpore

V1 Comment
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List StatsUpdated 30 May 2016

1,000 votes
12 listings
5 years, 321 days old

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