For every Calvin Harris and Meghan Trainor, there’s a band or artist from yesteryear that Spotify listeners can’t get enough of.
A hot favorite: Pink Floyd. The English rockers’ new release, The Endless River, their first album in 20 years and purportedly their last, streamed more than 12 million times in the week following its November 10 release. And songs from their extensive catalogue populate more than three million user playlists.
Pink Floyd may have been around for five decades, but it’s not just your mom and dad listening to them. We did some digging and discovered that more than 60% of Pink Floyd listeners on Spotify are under 35, and a sizable chunk of that group is between 18 and 22. Actually, there are several bands whose members are over fifty and adored by fresh ears, like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (47 million streams for “Under The Bridge”). And, Queen is a constant favorite with listeners under 18. Perhaps 32-year-old Adam Lambert joining the band has helped recruit a younger audience. But maybe that’s not it at all. No one — whether a millennial, generation C-er, possibly even a toddler — can dispute the sheer brilliance of Queen’s songs.
In fact, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is our most streamed track released in 1975 or earlier, followed closely behind by Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”
Led Zeppelin, who released their entire catalogue to Spotify a year ago, have racked up massive support in a short time, with “Stairway To Heaven” clocking in as the fourth most-streamed classic. Other popular choices include Elton John’s “Your Song,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on The Wild Side.” (When Reed passed away in October last year, sentimentality pushed this song to the top of our viral chart for a good four weeks around the globe).
It appears old-school romance is alive and well, too — Barry White’s 1974 hit “You’re The First, My Last, My Everything” gets streams daily. So does Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” and the French elegance throw-back “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf from 1945.
Jacques Brel’s heartbreaking 1959 song “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” which translates to “Don’t Leave Me” and has served as inspiration for many top artists, also gets attention from listeners (I love Regina Spektor’s lively version from her album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats).
Then there’s the late Johnny Cash, whose early songs “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “The Ways Of A Woman In Love,” both from 1958, pop up on listeners’ nostalgia playlists every so often.
So go on — take a break from the hits of right now and check out these oldies but awesome-ies: