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What is ‘Oldies Music?’

oldies music What is ‘Oldies Music?’

The term ‘oldies’ can be used for the mainstream music of the 1950s-‘70s, as well as for those radio programs that focus exclusively on this particular era of music. All of the oldies music that was made during the 1950s till the early 1960s is also termed as the ‘golden oldies.’

The basic genres covered by oldies music are rock, R&B and pop, but some hints of other styles such as novelty, country music and original soundtracks are also included in it.

Pop genres that boomed in the first half of the 20th century are deemed too old to be included in the oldies music era.

Oldies music stations mostly feature artists or groups like the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, etc. While the specific music genres covered by these stations include Motown, rockabilly, psychedelic rock, rock and roll and soul music among others.

The phrase ‘oldies but goodies’ was created by the famous DJ Art Laboe, who was constantly requested by listeners to play 1950s’ songs.

A prominent figure in the Los Angeles radio scene for the better part of a century, Laboe was the first radio host to present a rock and roll collection to the radio listeners of the West Coast. He also had the honor as the first DJ whose show played both black and white artists’ songs.

His 1959 album, “Oldies but Goodies,” camped on the Billboard’s Top 100 albums for more than three years and was preceded by 14 follow-up LPs.

Thanks to Laboe’s “Oldies but Goodies,” oldies music lovers developed a taste for doo-wop music. Considering this growing interest, Little Caesar and The Romans released their 1961 chartbuster “Those Oldies but Goodies (Remind Me of You)” and followed it up with “Memories of Those Oldies but Goodies.”

This trend of producing albums of forgotten sub genres of pop music continued well into the 1960s.

Although the category of ‘golden oldies’ has remain fixed with no further additions in that class, the same has not been the case with the overall ‘oldies music.’

Oldies continued to expand in order to catch up with the modern demographics and hence new additions were inevitable. The modern definition of oldies music also includes songs of the 1970s and there is little doubt that as we move forward into the 21st century, even 1980s musical material would be eventually termed as ‘oldies’ one day.

The trend of rediscovering long-forgotten music of ‘golden oldies’ decade of 1950s is still in fashion, with curiosity, love for quality music and nostalgia, all being the reason behind it. Since the trend has remained alive for half a century, it is safe to say that it will continue well into the future.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit
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