Other than the Stooges, the Beatles will be one of very few pop bands from their era still being played in 100 years.
- As a few have pointed out, this thread reflects the age and ethnicity of
many of us who think the albums that shaped us will have to live on.
- 50 years is a lot of time in pop music. 50 years ago, in 1966, a sea-change in music AND culture was underway, a synthesis that forever wove music and identity inextricably together as very few other generations have done. The music of the Civil Rights movement, of Haight-Ashberry, of Route 66, of Vietnam protests and the accompanying counterculture was as much created by as it was reflective of those phenomena. It became a watermark of the times and thus lives on as part of the American fabric as well as in those of us who were touched by it directly or tangentially.
- I've noticed the vast majority of the albums mentioned in this thread are by white artists.
- Floyd and the Beatles and Zep are still listened to today by teenagers (I've taught high school for 18 years), but mostly by my white students who were raised by parents who played those artists. My African-American or Latino students by and large do not listen to those artists; but they also don't listen to Marvin Gaye or Otis or Booker T or Wilson Pickett or even Sly or other black artists from 50 years ago, so it's not a purely racial division. My students of both colors know who these artists are, but most of my students of all ethnicities listen to contemporary hip-hop, dub, pop-crossover (i.e. Katy Perry, Beyonce, The Chance, Kendrick Lamar, and others), and rap.
- Some artists in this thread that I've mentioned recently that my high school seniors (suburban Missouri; upper middle-class; about 65% white) rarely listen to or have professed not to have heard of:
- the Doors
- the Grateful Dead
- Fleetwood Mac
- Iggy Pop
- Joan Baez
- The Band
- James Taylor
- Bootsy Collins
- The Animals
- Jefferson Airplane
- and others
This proves nothing as kids mature and college opens the doors to many different musical artists and styles. But it does show that many of the artists of decades ago survive because, like the Stones and Kiss and MJ and others, they have become as much brand names as musical acts.
- Music has been growing much more niche-oriented in the last few decades. Gone are the homogeneous Top-40 countdowns as even the idea of a "#1 Hit" is watered down by the sheer number of diverse charts out there. I don't think there's as much a collective, conscious appreciation of any one artist or album as there used to be. Bruno Mars to the contrary.
- Will the greats still be listened to in 50 years when most of us are dead?The same goes for jazz. At risk of igniting flames, I'm going to say that both formats - classical and jazz -- have lost much of their cultural relativity. I'm a jazz drummer who's hunting down the best pressing of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, yet for much of the rest of America, these two genres have become the stuff of generic movie soundtracks or cliched cool.
- And, as many have pointed out, the album as a format is shrinking in cultural acceptance. Tidal, Spotify, and other streaming formats, especially among teenagers and 20-somethings who have by and large never known any different, make the release of an album almost redundant for many contemporary artists. They still do, of course, but many of my students don't own many physical albums, yet have thousands of songs on their devices and phones. This kind of dis-aggregation of music I believe perpetuates its lack of longevity. Without a cohesive anchor like an album, songs will naturally become more and more lost in an increasing kaleidoscopic clutter of releases, each a pinpoint of immediate but fading incandescent satisfaction.
- As for the music today - that is, music being recorded and produced within the last decade - being listened to in 50 years, I have no idea. Many here have theorized that the listening habits we will have in half a century will bear little to no resemblance to what we have now, just like the double-album listening habits of 1966 bear little resemblance to the iPhone playlist shuffle-motif of today. Just like our newsfeeds are becoming more and more of an echo chamber for our own views, so too I think will music listening follow the algorithmic predictions of Pandora and Spotify; we'll have to work harder to appreciate new stuff.
- In a nutshell, I doubt any of the albums we listen to today - Radiohead, Beyonce, Bruno, Drake, Sufjan, Jimi, Rush, Miles, Snow Patrol, et al -- will still be listened to in 50 years.
- Note that Radiohead is from, at their oldest, the early-90's, 25 years ago. They're still relevant, of course, as is Rush (1974) and Miles (the 50's), but that's because we're still keeping them alive.
- In terms of music, we created the gods that will die with us.
Frank I played the music you listed on the previous page and must say Thank You.
Wonderful selections and memories from a time that is now long gone.
All the best for the Holiday and New Year .
Some interesting thoughts simao. I just have to comment on one of them, however. While your high school seniors rarely listen to or aren't even aware of, for instance, The Band, that in no way proves they won't still be listened to in fifty years. Of course, I would say that, ay regulars ;-) ?! The Basement Tapes are considered The Rosetta Stone for the hippest of young bands and singer/songwriters today (hence the success of The New Basement Tapes album and movie), and those first two Band albums are a master's class in Rock 'n' Roll musicianship. Everything a musician needs to know in order to play the best Rock 'n' Roll is contained on those two albums. A bold claim, perhaps!
The same can be said for Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. An absolute landmark album that is unknown by most current music consumers, but it shall endure as a deep well for emerging Jazz artists. My nominees were made from the perspective of a musician, and though I myself don't care for him, Jimi Hendrix continues to be a hugely listened to (by young musicians) artist, as he will, I predict, continue to be. Maybe not by high school students, but, more importantly, by musicians. It is musicians who keep the music alive, not consumers. Lucinda Williams is a current artist keeping her music of choice alive, reimagining and interpreting her blues and folk influences.
James Bond theme,duh. Classical music of all types. 50's and 60's rock. Timeless.