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Oldies Music Debrief: How To Appreciate The Classics & Expand Your Music Library!

Written by Mollie Davis. Published: September 04 2023


If you find yourself at the vintage store every weekend, or your Pinterest board is filled with snapshots of decades past, then there’s no way that you haven’t at least been a little curious about "oldies" music. But if you don’t know where to start with the expansive genre, here’s a short road map.


The music you probably associate with the term "oldies" is the music in the subgenre referred to as the “golden oldies”. Comprising songs recorded during the '50s and '60s, this era marked a turning point in music and was when many iconic artists that have stood the test of time got their start. Little Richard rose to fame in the mid-'50s, alongside artists like Sam Cooke and Fats Domino, who Elvis Presley referred to as the “real” King of Rock and Roll throughout his career.


The era was also defined by teen idols and is considered by many to be the birth of the "fangirl" as we know it today. Teen girls in the 1950s plastered their walls with photos of singers like Elvis and Ricky Nelson and were unashamed of the love they felt for their favorite music artists. This fangirl behavior even caused controversy, with young women being labeled as "hysterical" while the male artists they admired were accused of corrupting young people. Ricky Nelson once recounted a group of teen girls flinging themselves at his car begging him to run them over, which doesn’t sound all that different from how some fans of artists in the 2020s talk about them on social media!




The 1950s and '60s also saw a rise in doo-wop, an oldies subgenre that originated from African-American neighborhoods in the '40s. Using little to no instrumentals, doo-wop was defined by groups that tapped into vocal harmonizing and utilized nonsense syllables to craft their music. Groups popular during this era included Billy Ward and His Dominos, The Chantels, and The Five Keys, the latter credited with helping to shape the genre. 




The last century has seen hits from the '70s become a part of the "oldies" genre as well. This tie-in was controversial when it first began on oldies radio stations in the early=2000s, but the station curators stuck firm to it being a business decision, noting that it was only natural for oldies music to include more decades with the passage of time.


If you loved the '70s style music created for the hit TV book adaptation "Daisy Jones and The Six", then real-life artists that would be right up your alley include Fleetwood Mac, Emmylou Harris, Warren Zevon, and Nina Simone




The great thing about oldies music being such an expansive genre is that you’ll never run out of artists, groups, and songs to explore. Fall down the rabbit hole on Spotify, or at your local record store today!