Best Decades for Music After 1900

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

The Top Ten

1 1980s

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 80s had it all. Whatever your favorite genre, you had artists who were making great music. The sounds created in this era truly stand the test of time as they are still fresh 30 years later. I remember as a kid in the 70s listening to my parents favorites of the 50s (great music too) but noticing how they seemed so dated at the time. I feel the songs of the 80s are beautifully melodic but with enough complexity to be appreciated even after countless technological advances since. No other decade of music is so varied while still capturing the essence of society's political, cultural and emotional tastes of the day. A great decade of music, and given the status of the industry today, may be the last great one for a while.

I absolutely love music, classical and pop. The decade that I love the most is the 1980s even though I was only born in 1979, I discovered the pop music through programmes like Top Of The Pops and my cousin loved Erasure! It wasn't until the late 1990's though that the music of the 80s really started to appeal to me. I was 18 years old and I started to listen to a radio show called the 'Retro Countdown' with a DJ called Mark Dennison who was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. Each week on a Sunday between 7 and 10pm he would play music from a year from the 80s and 90s. He would also do a run-down of the top ten as it was that week in that particular year. The show would play music from the years 1984-1995 and sometimes they would go really retro and play hits going back to 1979. This show was a catalyst for me in listening more and more to eighties pop and my CD collection grew and grew. Even now, nearly twenty years on I am still discovering music from the 80s and building my ...more

It's the best music ever, the drums, to the synths, just amazing

V 155 Comments
2 1970s

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.

I strongly disagree that the 80s is number. Most good band that existed in the 70s were at their peak. Something about the technology and the time resulted in the best music out of that era. Once things became clean and digital in the 80s a lot of music lost...soul. Think Beatles, Kinks, Stones, Bowie, T. Rex (so many good 70s bands)...all had great content then. While many of those emerged in the 60s, they had a certain maturity then. Also, all the early post punk or interesting punk (which includes most modern rocks roots, new wave etc) began to form in the late 70s and had amazing roots. When I listen to african music it is os much more wild in the 70s. To me the 70s is, I'm guessing, the peak of the analogue era.

Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, etc. What would we do without them? - MilesRS777

V 110 Comments
3 1960s

" 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.

The Beatles alone are enough to make this #1 in my opinion because of their style and there huge impact on music. There were also many other amazing artists like Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan, all amazing artists and bands that had a huge impact on music.

V 73 Comments
4 1990s

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.

The rise of Grunge in America and Britpop in Britain, as well as more experimentation and noise music makes the 90s my favorite music era.

V 77 Comments
5 2000s

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.

WOW, the 50's, 00's, and 10's are all pretty underrated compared to the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's on here.

When it comes to musical variety, I have to say the 00's are the best. The #1 hits were kinda hit or miss but ignore that and you'll find lot's of really great music in this decade, ranging from boy bands, nu metal, emo, hip hop r&b, southern hip hop, pop, rock, alternative, undergroud, etc. Not everything was always good but that's not to say any decade is perfect.

Also, people need to grow up on 2010's music. Just because you are old and don't like modern music doesn't mean you can't try and find things you enjoy. There's plenty of garbage from the "Glorious" 60's to 90's that are just as bad if not even worse than what's being played on the radio today ( Sugar Sugar, Disco Duck, We Built this City, and MMMBOP ). And that's every decade: Some good song's, some bad song's.

Definitely the best.Linkin Park,Eminem,Immortal Technique,Three Days Grace,etc - DarkBoi-X

V 27 Comments
6 1950s

Unacceptably dismissed decade in todays society. Without the 50s, you could might as well say goodbye to any decade afterwards. With artists such as Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Killer, Ritchie Valens, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, The Big Bopper, Gene Vincent and many more, it doesn't make sense why this decade doesn't get the praise it deserves.
The 80s at #1 as well is an absolute disgrace, that was when Music became compressed and uninspiring. That decade is for wankers.

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.

Underrated decade for music.

Everything else came after and because of the influence of the 50's. None better.

V 17 Comments
7 2010s

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

For the most part, I don't think the 2010s are THAT bad for music but it certainly does not have the charm that the 50s - 80s have brought and established on. Between the 90s, 2000s, and 2010s, they haven't been the best but I have to say that the 2010s so far have been my least favorite in terms of music but I still like it more than the Pre-40s. There's a couple songs I like and everyone has their own choice but I don't know. Hopefully, I'll open up more to this 2010s music in the 2020s but honestly, I prefer the 2000s music a bit more but that's just my taste.

My favorite to least favorite.

1 - 1980s

( I Love the retro feel. The only decade where I think music has aged the best. It puts me in the mood to dance.)

2 - 1970s

( I love the smooth disco scenes of the era. Very nice songs. I almost consider it tied with the 80s.)

3 - 1960s

( The most important, beautiful and meaningful decade in music but I put it under the 70s and 80s ...more

Best decade for club/nightlife music hands down. House music like that of Duke dumont, Tom zanetti, gorgon city, disciples, camelphat, MK, Calvin Harris etc exudes energy and feels bad ass! It will always bring back fun youthful memories. I wish I was born a few years earlier to be on the club scene 2013 onwards.

V 55 Comments
8 1940s

Are you kidding me? One guy said there was no music? Holy crap is he ignorant to the time period. There was so many artists like listed and even more like Glenn Miller Kay Kyser Bob Crosby, Bings brother etc. And music took a lot more talent than it did today. No auto tune, and also people had to know how to read music as well as play the instrument AND do it all in coordination with the rest of the band. That's hard, but in my opinion it was worth it. The sheer passion and care to the music flows through it and all that effort makes a better more realistic sound than today's crap music. And even for the vocal parts, still were better. Music to boost moral for was coming out left and right during the Second World War.

Why does everyone act like popular music didn't exist until the 1950s? The 1920s, 30s, amd 40s all have great music that's fun to listen to. Just because it's old and "vintage-sounding" doesn't mean it's bad. The music is lively and happy sounding which is more than I can say for a lot of music charting today (Just count how many dull, depressing sounding songs we got in 2016). Besides, we wouldn't even have rock music if it wasn't for the pioneers of jazz that created works in the pre-1950s. Rock was heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and jazz. I don't expect everyone to like the music from the 1920s, 30s, or 40s, but you should at least check out some of the most influencial songs from these time periods before you dismiss them as "old people music."

The Ink Spots, Reinhardt. If you think anything is better then that means that you have different tastes than me. But theses are the best of the best. Of the 1900s. And to think that the 2010s are above this, is pretty retarded, have you seen Justin Bieber and how bad his covers are, and don't get me started on Jacob Sartorious, and all these guys with auto tune. Is singing even singing anymore, aren't we just talking and having our machine do our work for us? Is art even art. IS LIFE EVEN LIFE ANYMORE?

The 40s had absolutely the best music. Sentimental, romantic, best dance music ever. Just what music should be.

V 12 Comments
9 1920s

Irving Berlin: Blue skies, Gershwin: Strike up the band, Rhapsody in Blue, Swanee, American in Paris, Girl Crazy (written in 20s, but published in 30s), Carmichael: Stardust, a lot of good songs created for the Great American Songbook in this Decade. An exciting time: economy booming, musicians playing.

Anyone who considers the 30s or 40s above the 20s, doesn't know music. The start of an era

Literally the single most underrated decade of all time.

Great jazz music. Who doesn't like the 1920's? It's one of the most fun decades. - olliv

V 5 Comments
10 1930s

This is a severely underrated period for music. So many classic songs were introduced in this decade like:
* "Puttin' on the Ritz"
* "Cheek to Cheek"
* "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails"
* "Easter Parade"
* "Anything Goes"
* "Begin the Beguine"
* "Summertime"
* "It Ain't Necessarily So"
* "I Got Rhythm"
* "My Funny Valentine"
* "Blue Moon"
* "The Lady Is a Tramp"
* "The Way You Look Tonight"
* "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
* "All the Things You Are"
* "Get Happy"
* "Happy Feet"

If you aren't familiar with the music from this decade, you should really check it out. Start with the songs listed above and work your way from there.

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.

Benny Goodman... enough said

Also, Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is timeless and amazing. 👌👌

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The Contenders

11 1910s

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

No. I guy called Harry Cooper. - lizard302


12 1900s

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

Exiting new era new genres of music really evolved



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Top Remixes (31)

1. 1960s
2. 1970s
3. 1980s
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2. 1980s
3. 2010s
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