Playing Hits from the seventies
In North America, Europe, and Oceania, the 70s saw the rise of disco, which became one of the biggest genres of the decade, especially in the mid-to-late 1970s. In Europe, a variant known as Euro disco rose in popularity towards the end of the 1970s. Aside from disco, funk, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, and soul remained popular throughout the decade. It is this influx of popular music that soon transformed into rock and roll during the early 1970s. Rock music played an important part in the Western musical scene, with punk rock thriving throughout the mid to late 1970s.
Other subgenres of rock, particularly glam rock, hard rock, progressive, art rock, and heavy metal achieved various amounts of success. Other genres such as reggae were innovative throughout the decade and grew a significant following. Hip hop emerged during this decade, but was slow to start and did not become significant until the late 1980s. Classical began losing a little momentum; however, through invention and theoretical development, this particular genre gave rise to experimental classical and minimalist music by classical composers. A subgenre of classical, film scores, remained popular with movie-goers. Alongside the popularity of experimental music, the decade was notable for its contributions to electronic music, which rose in popularity with the continued development of synthesizers and harmonizers; more composers embraced this particular genre, gaining the notice of listeners who were looking for something new and different. Its rising popularity, mixed with the popular music of the period, led to the creation of synthpop. Pop also had a popularity role in the 1970s.
In Asia, music continued to follow varying trends. In Japan, the decade saw several musical phases, including the highly popular folk-influenced fōku, as well as greater experimentation with electronic music, ranging from developments in synthpop, electro, and Electronic Dance Music, created through different Japanese artists and bands such as Yellow Magic Orchestra.
In Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, the Nueva canción movement peaked in popularity and was adopted as the music of the hippie, Liberation Theology, and New Left movements. Cumbia music began its internationalization as regional scenes rose outside Colombia. Merengue experienced mainstream exposure across Latin America and the southern US border states.
In Africa, especially Nigeria, the genre known as Afrobeat gained a following throughout the 1970s.
Playing the 80's Hits
The 1980s saw the emergence of dance music and new wave. As disco fell out of fashion in the decade's early years, genres such as post-disco, Italo disco, Euro disco, and dance-pop became more popular. Rock music continued to enjoy a wide audience. Soft rock, glam metal, thrash metal, shred guitar characterized by heavy distortion, pinch harmonics, and whammy bar abuse became very popular. Adult contemporary, quiet storm and smooth jazz gained popularity. In the late 1980s, glam metal became the largest, most commercially successful brand of music in the United States and worldwide.
The 1980s are commonly remembered for an increase in the use of digital recording, associated with the usage of synthesizers, with synth-pop music and other electronic genres featuring non-traditional instruments increasing in popularity. Also during this decade, several major electronic genres were developed, including electro, techno, house, freestyle, and Eurodance, rising in prominence during the 1990s and beyond. Throughout the decade, R&B, hip hop, and urban genres were becoming commonplace, particularly in the inner-city areas of large, metropolitan cities; rap was especially successful in the latter part of the decade, with the advent of the golden age of hip hop. These urban genres—particularly rap and hip hop—would continue their rise in popularity through the 1990s and 2000s.
A 2010 survey conducted by the digital broadcaster Music Choice, which polled over 11,000 European participants, revealed that the 1980s is the most favored tune decade of the last 50 years.
Playing the 90's Hits
Popular music in the 1990s saw the continuation of teen pop and dance-pop trends which had emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, hip hop grew and continued to be highly successful in the decade, with the continuation of the genre's golden age. Aside from rap, reggae, contemporary R&B, and urban music, in general, remained extremely popular throughout the decade; urban music in the late-1980s and 1990s often blended with styles such as soul, funk and jazz, resulting in fusion genres such as new jack swing, neo-soul, hip hop soul and g-funk which were popular.
Similarly to the 1980s, rock music was also very popular in the 1990s, yet, unlike the new wave and glam metal-dominated scene of the time, grunge, Britpop, industrial rock and other alternative rock music emerged and took over as the most popular of the decade, as well as punk rock, ska punk and nu metal, amongst others, which attained a high level of success at different points throughout the years. Electronic music, which had risen in popularity in the 1980s, grew highly popular in the 1990s; house and techno from the 1980s rose to international success in this decade, as well as new electronic dance music genres such as Rave, happy hardcore, drum and bass, intelligent dance and trip hop. In Europe, Techno, Rave and Reggae music were highly successful, while also finding some international success. The decade also featured the rise of contemporary country music as a major genre, which had started in the 1980s.
The 1990s also saw a resurgence of older styles in new contexts, including third wave ska and swing revival, both of which featured a fusion of horn-based music with rock music elements.
Reflecting on the decade's musical developments in Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (2000), music critic Robert Christgau said the 1990s were "richly chaotic, unknowable", and "highly subject to vagaries of individual preference", yet "conducive to some manageable degree of general comprehension and enjoyment by any rock and roller."