5-speed listening (Best Year for Music - Level 3)

1991 was the best year for music



Medium (British English)

Medium (N. American English)



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Many of us have an opinion on what was the best year for music. Some people say it was 1824. This is when the composer Ludwig van Beethoven first performed his Symphony No. 9. Other people say the best year was 1969 because of hit songs by The Beatles, David Bowie and Elvis Presley. The UK radio station Radio X recently conducted a survey and found the best year for music was 1991. This is because of the success of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M., Stone Roses and Nirvana. The reason for 1991 being the Radio X survey's best year for music could be the average age of the listeners of the station. Many of the listeners were teenagers in 1991 and have great memories of that year.

A psychologist believes people tend to stick to the songs they heard when they were teenagers. Dr Catherine Loveday told the BBC why we like songs we first heard in our teens throughout our life. She said: "It is during these [developmental] years that we make many crucial life-changing decisions. We start significant long-term relationships and establish the cultural and political beliefs which form our identity." She added that: "Music has an intrinsic capacity to regulate emotions [so] these songs naturally become embedded in our important memories, both positive and negative." She said: "People in their 80s and 90s show a better memory for things that they first experienced between the ages of 10 and 30."

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