The best decade for pop music has been revealed – according to science

And the winner is...

It’s a question capable of causing a family feud – which was the best decade for pop music?

Baby boomers might point towards The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to back up the 1960s, while indie kids of the ‘80s will use the timeless music of The Smiths, Joy Division, Depeche Mode and many more to strengthen their cause.

But when it comes down to the crunch, it seems that science has been able to provide a much-needed answer.


A new study from a team at New York University saw 643 subjects aged between 18 and 25 being quizzed on their pop song knowledge throughout the last 50 years.

And, in a major victory for fans of the 1960s, it seems that chart toppers from that decade proved to be a whole lot more memorable than the songs from the years 2000 to 2015.

Other songs from across the decades were also found to be particularly memorable.

‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ by Percy Sledge, Blondie’s ’The Tide Is High’ and the lesser known ‘Baby Come Back’ by Player were among the most memorable tunes.

As for the least memorable, that dubious accolade went to Dawn’s ‘Knock Three Times’, John Denver’s ‘I’m Sorry’ and Lionel Richie’s ’Truly.’


“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,” said Dr Pascal Wallisch, lead author of the study.

“Spotify was launched in 2008, well after nearly 90% of the songs we studied were released, which indicates millennials are aware of the music that, in general, preceded their lives and are nonetheless choosing to listen to it.”

And with that, we’re off to listen to the best of the Beatles.