There was a time when teenagers did not dominate music markets, but was this for the better?
For some perspective, I pulled together the top-selling music of 1951, 1961, and 1971.
1951: The soundtrack for “Guys and Dolls.” Mario Lanza. Yma Sumac. The Weavers. Les Paul. Tony Bennett.
1961: Bert Kaempfert. The soundtrack for “Exodus.” Lawrence Welk. Judy Garland. But also: Elvis, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, and Paul Anka.
1971: George Harrison. “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Janis Joplin. Sly and the Family Stone. Michael Jackson. Carole King.
Teen tastes, in other words, weren’t present on the 1951 charts at all; took up only half the list’s space in 1961; and didn’t triumph entirely until 1971.
Addendum: Did you know that the word “teenager” only popped up in the dictionary in 1942?