Top 10 Greatest Years for Music

Music transports us to different eras, stirs up our emotions, and provides the soundtrack to some of our lives' biggest moments. But let's be real, some years were way more legendary than others when it comes to music. We're talking instant classics, genre-defining albums, and the birth of whole new sounds.

What are the greatest years for music? Did a certain decade produce a string of unforgettable hits? Did a revolutionary year spawn a movement that changed everything?
The Top Ten
1 1969 In 1969, humanity achieved a monumental milestone as NASA's Apollo 11 mission successfully landed the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, on the Moon. The Woodstock Festival, a symbol of the counterculture movement, brought together hundreds of thousands of people for a celebration... read more

The 60s basically had all the good stuff, like garage rock, psychedelia, the British Invasion, and so on. But what about those instrumental tracks, the more forgotten parts of 60s music? This was basically the golden age of instrumental tracks, coming from greats such as Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass Band, Floyd Cramer, Mason Williams, Paul Mauriat, and more.

Piano and guitar instrumentals sort of died out in 1969, though. But anyway, this was the ending to a magical decade, with another, the 70s, coming up.

Man, the 60s were the best. The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, CCR, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Monkees, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, James Brown, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder, The Who, The Beach Boys, and so much more.

I always hear everyone say that 80s music is the best. Well, they're wrong! 80s music does not compare to the wonderful tunes of the 60s!

2 1967

1967 revolutionised music in many ways. Jimi Hendrix released his first two mainstream albums, and The Velvet Underground, The Doors and Leonard Cohen all made their debuts. Two masterpieces from the Beatles as well with Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour.

Easily the greatest year of all time for music. You had The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, Mothers Of Invention, Cream, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, and many other incredible artists and bands coming up with amazing magical psychedelic and experimental avant-garde records.

It basically was the pinnacle of music, since most of the genres you see nowadays were influenced by the genius of the musicians in that era.

3 1984 The year 1984 holds a prominent place in literature due to George Orwell's dystopian novel of the same name. Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh, a revolutionary personal computer with a graphical user interface. The Los Angeles Summer Olympics showcased sporting excellence and saw the emergence... read more

Some critics and experts claim that this is the best year for public music. It's hard to disagree with them. This is the golden year of the golden decade, the cream of the cream. Just look at the charts.

The King of Pop, the Prince of Funk, L.A. rock, Euro synth, punk, metal, hip hop, etc. This year was explosive!

Way better than music post-1999. It had such a great sound with bands like Ultravox, Depeche Mode, and Simple Minds. It just edges out 1981 in my opinion.

4 1991

There are so many reasons why this is the best year and why it deserves to be in the top ten. Pearl Jam's "Ten" and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" catapulted their popularity, and they both came out on the same day as Nirvana's "Nevermind." Among all other years, this is the best.

The fact that this isn't number one, alongside U2, is driving me to a point where I am losing my religion, not to mention the queen, Michael Jackson, and "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You." Truly the best year ever, and the Grammys chose a horrible song to win record of the year when you look at these songs.

5 1971

It was the first year the 70s started making its presence, and it's clear to see why. Michael Jackson started planning his own solo career after years with the Jackson 5 (even though they still performed together as The Jacksons throughout the 70s), and the Beatles started releasing hits after they broke up, such as John Lennon's "Imagine" and Paul McCartney's "Uncle Albert & Admiral Halsey," a weird, but enjoyable song similar to Yellow Submarine.

And it was the last year The Doors were together, because their lead singer, Jim Morrison, died, but they did put out "Riders On The Storm," an infectious banger. Personally, I think that "Never Ending Song Of Love" by Delaney and Bonnie is my jam from 1971. It's just so catchy and toe-tapping and makes you forget those rough times ever happened.

6 1986

1986 was pretty good. We got major breakout acts like Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, and both rock and country were pretty good as well. But that didn't stop soft rock from invading the charts, especially Peter Cetera's first solo single, "Glory Of Love."

Why did they put this song in Karate Kid II? I think that's the reason why the second Karate Kid movie is less remembered than the first one. If you listen to this to motivate you to fight, you'd probably get beaten.

Such a great year, Puppets, Peace Sells, Reign in Blood, awesomeness, just completely awesome.

7 1994

Grunge was coming to a close, and alternative rock was becoming mainstream. Many influential bands like Weezer, Oasis, and Green Day made their debut this year. 1994 was a very important year for music.

Weezer's debut, Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary, Nas' Illmatic, which is possibly the greatest hip-hop album ever released, etc. This was definitely an incredible year for music.

Some brilliant tunes out then like 'Return to Innocence' by Enigma, for instance.

8 1983 1983 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1983rd year of the Common Era and Anno Domini designations.

1982 was just the beginning of classic 80s music, yet 70s trends still lingered. However, 1983 marked a turning point, shedding those trends to become one of the greatest years in music history. Synthpop and progressive rock became the highlights of the year. Artists like Michael Jackson, Men At Work, Hall & Oates, Def Leppard, Toto, and Eurythmics dominated the scene, offering a diverse and rich musical landscape.

However, like any other year, there was a ton of bad stuff. Take "Never Gonna Let You Go" by Sergio Mendes. While being very complex for its time, it is massively flawed, especially the godawful synth solo. And then there's "Mickey" by Toni Basil. It's extremely annoying, yet catchy at the same time. So, yeah. 1983 was a great year for music with tons of flaws.

9 1975

Kansas released two of their best albums that year, Song For America and Masque. Jethro Tull also had Minstrel in the Gallery, and Iron Maiden was formed this year. - DarkenedBrutality (Obviously since no other user would likely mention Kansas)

And Springsteen's Born to Run and Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. Arguably the two best albums from these icons.

Vote this year higher! It had Bohemian Rhapsody!

10 1970 1970 saw the first celebration of Earth Day, raising awareness about environmental conservation and sustainability. The Beatles officially disbanded, marking the end of an era in music history. The Apollo 13 mission faced a crisis but ultimately returned safely to Earth, demonstrating NASA's expertise... read more

Of all years, I have listened to the most albums from 1970. The year was a turning point in music history, with break ups from groups such as Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles, as well as artists such as James Taylor and Black Sabbath falling into the mainstream. After the end of the Beatles, McCartney, Lennon and Harrison all released solo albums, generally regarded as some of their best.

Albums such as, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Tea for the Tillerman, Chicago II and All Things Must Pass were highlights of this year. Best year for music, ever.

The Contenders
11 1982 In 1982, the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina highlighted geopolitical tensions. The debut of the Commodore 64 computer marked a significant milestone in home computing. The Michael Jackson album "Thriller" achieved unprecedented success, becoming one of the best-selling albums... read more

The music from this year that was not on the Pop 100 is really good. There was good quality music being made that was not on the charts, which was great and far better than the popular stuff. From many genres - rock, alternative, funk/boogie, R&B - there were standout examples.

"Combat Rock" by The Clash, for example, was released in the spring of '82, and those of us who were into new things caught on quick. But for most, it did not catch on until late '82 to '83. Albums such as "Rio" by Duran Duran, released in May, and "Shabooh Shoobah" by INXS, released in October, also follow that pattern. It was a year for both change and innovation that has really influenced music afterward.

There was so much going on under the radar with funk, heavy metal, hip hop's beginnings, and rock that most people do not know. Search for some funk/boogie, alternative music away from the charts that year, and you will think very differently about this year. "All Fall Down" by The Sounds, "Songs of the Free" by Gang of Four, "The Party's Over" by Talk Talk, and "Avalon" by Roxy Music are just some gems from the rock genre worth a listen. Artists like Stone, Peech Boys from the funk genres are great. Not to mention what would happen to music when Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five released "The Message" and Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force released "Planet Rock".

Yes, "Thriller" was released, but I think there was more going on this year than that, and it goes so unnoticed and dismissed.

12 1973 The year 1973 was marked by significant global and cultural events. In the United States, the Watergate scandal reached a critical point, leading to investigations that would eventually culminate in President Richard Nixon's resignation the following year. The Vietnam War officially ended for the U.S... read more

This should be top 3. Selling England, Dark Side of the Moon, Larks Tongues in Aspic, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Houses of the Holy, A Passion Play, Brain Salad Surgery, Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Queen, Quadrophenia, Tres Hombres. I mean, sure it doesn't have The Beatles, but come on, this is by far the best year for music.

American Pie, Let's Stay Together, Rocket Man, Take It Easy, Stairway to Heaven, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, A Horse with No Name, Morning Has Broken, Without You, Heart of Gold, Everything I Own, Vincent, Song Sung Blue, to name a few. Timeless tunes.

13 1997

This was an excellent year for music. Harvey Danger released Flagpole Sitta, Green Day released their Nimrod album, Sugar Ray released Floored (besides Fly, there were actually some amazing Nu metal songs on there), and The Offspring released Ixnay on the Hombre. This year is one you can say a lot about in music terms.

How is this year not top?

The best album of the 1990s (OK Computer) was released this year!

Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Spiritualized, Bjork, Modest Mouse. This should be seriously higher.

14 1987 The Next Generation" television series premiered, carrying on the legacy of the original franchise. The Montreal Protocol was adopted to address ozone layer depletion, showcasing international cooperation on environmental issues.

Joshua Tree by U2, Bad by Michael Jackson, Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, overall, a great year.

15 1964

The Beatles exploded in America and the world.

The British Invasion truly invaded in 1964.

16 2001 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2001st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 1st year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 2nd year of the 2000s decade.

The Birth of Gorillaz, what more can I say?

And the best alternative album called Origin of Symmetry was born.

17 1976 The United States celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, marking 200 years since the Declaration of Independence. The Summer Olympics were held in Montreal, Canada, featuring memorable moments like Nadia Com─âneci's perfect gymnastics score. The Viking 1 spacecraft successfully landed on Mars, providing... read more

Todd In The Shadows was right. 1976 was a great year for music. Apart from blunders like Afternoon Delight, If You Leave Me Now, Disco Duck (Seriously, screw this song), and Convoy, this is a year that shines the best in music.

If you're talking legendary music, this is my favorite year!

A standout year for amazing bands including Lynyrd Skynyrd's One More for the Road.

18 1966

I vote 1966. It's the year new music was born after the fade-out of rock and roll and the end of the slow 50's music. Paint It Black, Summer in the City, Jimi Hendrix making his legendary works, etc. This is the conception year of the Summer of Love, Woodstock, the starting sign of the best decade in pop music of the 20th century, leading to Bohemian Rhapsody. It all started here. This is THE YEAR!

In rock history, 1966 was the pinnacle. It had the best albums by the greatest artists, albums such as Pet Sounds, Revolver, and Blonde on Blonde. Additionally, there was a band on every other block in neighborhoods across the USA - thousands of bands were making recordings. It was the most exciting time!

19 1985

Careless Whisper (George Michael), Don't You Forget About Me (Simple Minds), We Are the World (USA for Africa), Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears), I Want to Know What Love Is (Foreigner), several hits from Madonna, Easy Lover (Phil Collins and Philip Bailey), several hits from Hall & Oates, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen... Just look up all the songs from this year.

Spawned so many 80s classics like Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Careless Whisper.

20 1999

1999 was definitely a big year for TV, as "Family Guy" and "SpongeBob" started that year. It also was when music really started to become "modern," which means genres merged, pop became more popular than rock, many modern musicians started to merge, and more electronics were used and eventually replaced instruments, which is either good or bad depending on your opinion.

I definitely hear a difference between the early and late 90s.

This year is when Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were introduced. They had big hits like "...Baby One More Time" and "Genie In A Bottle." If it weren't for this year, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera would not even exist. Jennifer Lopez's music career was also introduced.

I think she had a big hit with her song "Love Don't Cost A Thing." Besides, she wasn't even "J.Lo" yet. I think this is the best year for music evolution.

21 1992

Lots of 'Fab Tunes' were out then like 'Please Don't Go - K.W.S.' and others. Also, the year that 'Prodigy' became very 'Big' really quickly.

22 1995

Hands down, this was the best year for music in the '90s after 1998. This year was also part of the golden age of hip hop and rap music, which ranged from 1990 to 2008.

You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson
Come and Get Your Love
California Love by 2Pac
Can U Get Away by 2Pac
Temptations by 2Pac
Always by Bon Jovi
Earth Song by Michael Jackson

Need I say more?

Bring this to number two! This year is underrated!

Michael Jackson's HIStory album was released, which became the best-selling multiple disc album of all time. Songs like Scream, They Don't Really Care About Us.

Plus, a lot more songs and albums were released. Pop

23 1977 1977 was a year of cultural significance with the release of the groundbreaking film "Star Wars," which sparked a global phenomenon and reshaped the science fiction genre. New York City's iconic Studio 54 nightclub became synonymous with disco culture and celebrity glamour. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were... read more

I think 1975, 1976, and 1977 were the years that defined the 70s for me. Don't get me wrong, 1977 is a weaker year compared to the likes of 1976, but the music is definitely what holds it up. Let's see... Oh, of course, we had Fleetwood Mac's magnum opus, "Rumors." Songs like "Dreams," "Go Your Own Way," and "Don't Stop" made the charts that year. We even had the Star Wars theme of all songs on the charts, as well. Don't forget other albums such as "I, Robot" by The Alan Parsons Project, "Out of the Blue" by Electric Light Orchestra, and "Animals" by Pink Floyd. The music on the charts may be scattered in 1977, but at least they still had some great albums.

24 1965

Check out the UK number ones list for this year, and tell me how good they were. I'd say they were absolutely BRILLIANT!

Examples: King of the Road, Mr Tambourine Man, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, We Can Work It Out.

A Love Supreme or A Year Supreme?

This year brought the real important changes in popular music for the next years: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Byrds, Rolling Stones, and more.

Dylan's amazing albums Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited were released in 1965.

25 2010 2010 was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2010th year based on Anno Domini/Common Era designations. It is the 10th year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 1st year of the 2010s decade.

Super Bass by Nicki Minaj was an all-time greatest rap/pop hit by any female rapper who ever lived.

Danger Days by My Chemical Romance came out in 2010.

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