music by decade

Bob Sr. has asked for help in compiling a list of songs to sample in a show medley that represent the past decades.  Problem is, he has to sing excerpts, and his audience (U-club retirees mostly) should recognize them!   I’m really stuck on the current decade since most of the notable songs I can think of have been top-40 (Outcast, Norah Jones, etc)

Any suggestions for widely recognized iconic songs?   this is what I’ve got so far:

1970’s
YMCA (1978)
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (1973)

1980’s
We Are the World (1985)
Theme from Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name)

1990’s
Macarena
My Heart will go on (theme from Titanic)
Circle of Life (Lion King, 1994)

2000’s
You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban)
???

8 thoughts on “music by decade”

  1. Your lists are eerily similar to mine. I did miss the Cheers theme.

    Upon reflection, the lack of a popular main stream Song from the 2000’s is directly attributed to the many and diverse entertainment options.

    What is the most popular television show?
    CSI (or is it CSI Miami?) This is not tune-in TV for me.

    There is not one must-see movie from the decade. Harry Potter. Wedding Crashers.
    Puleeze.

    Our pop culture is fragmented.

    With all this verbiage, may I add – “Oops I Did It Again”. Released in March 2000.

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  2. I’m by no means an expert on this (wasn’t even alive so honestly I have no credibility…)

    … but what about “I Will Survive” for the 70s?

    The 90s ones are spot on (and I actually lived through them! – sorta)

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  3. I might add the “Friends” theme to the 90s.

    It’s an interesting question, songs that define decades. I suspect that whatever decade you spent your late-teens/early-20s in will mean the most to you, musically. I could go on at boring lengths about random little known bands from the late-90s, for instance.

    I’m at an equal loss for music from the last decade. I’ve spent too much of it abroad to be up on anything.

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  4. Part of the problem with recognizing songs from the current decade is probably the result of the breaking down of the “mass” media. But I think it is also a matter of perspective. It will take a few years yet to see just what resonates from this time period.

    Think about these lists; how many of the songs would have been thought of as iconic in the decade that they were released? Maybe only ‘Macarena’, since that was such a worldwide smash.

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  5. For the 90s, in terms of just sheer impact and iconic value, I’d vote for “Smells like Teen Spirit” and “Nuthin’ But a G’ Thang” — both near the beginning of the decade, and both changed music profoundly for a lot of that (my) generation. I think they were both thought of as iconic by the end of the decade.

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  6. Six years later, and I think we have some clear nominees from the last decade, both hip hop:

    Hey Ya, outKast 2003
    I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas 2009

    And a shoe-in for the current decade:
    Happy, Pharrel Williams, 2014

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