Which song have you been playing all your life?

For me, it's bouncy Erasure hit Sometimes. But we don't, individually, decide what becomes truly timeless. It's a generational thing, writes Matt Daniels.


Using Spotify data, Daniels figured out which songs we collectively never stopped playing. From the 1990s, there's a clear high-tail winner: Nirvana.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit," a track that never reached the Billboard Top 5 when it was released in 1992, is now the most-played song from the 90s," he writes.

Also: Mambo No. 5!

The data gathered is impressive and revealing. The '80s lack a runaway winner, but the fact that it's Journey may surprise you. Queen takes the 70s, thanks to Bohemian Rhapsody, but it's not the easy win you'd think: Fleetwood Mac gets close. The Stones take the 60s, but it must be noted that The Beatles are not on Spotify.

The artists who have cult-followings and underground appeal: it's a signal for some undefined musical quality that's impossible for a hit song to replicate. Perhaps it means that they are culturally ahead of their time. Or perhaps generations will feel obligated to share it, for fear of it fading.

Via Kottke