Woodstock’s Influence 40 Years Later

Younger adults seem to have inherited the baby boomer’s musical tastes


The influence of Woodstock, an upstate N.Y. music festival that took place 40 years ago this weekend, is still being discussed. About 70 percent of Americans age 16 and over remember learning about the 1969 concert in Bethel, N.Y., or have at least heard about it, according to a recent Pew Research telephone survey. But not everyone remembers it the same way, calling the concert everything from “a peace festival that was supposed to bring unity and togetherness” to “a hippie drug-fest.” The Pew Research survey suggests that the historic 3-day concert may have played a role in ushering the baby boomer’s musical preferences into the mainstream.

Today, rock and roll is the most popular music in the country, with nearly two-thirds of the public tuning in, Pew found. (Country comes in a close second with 61 percent of people listening.) The only age group that doesn't like rock best is adults ages 65 and older. In the 60s, rock and roll was not nearly so popular. A 1966 Harris Survey found rock to be one of the least enjoyed forms of music with 44 percent of people actively disliking the genre.

[Check of these 10 Places to Relive the '60s.]

Younger adults seem to have inherited the baby boomer’s musical tastes. But the rhythmic music is no longer a rebellion, it’s ubiquitous. The Beatles rank in the top four favorite performers among all age groups and the Rolling Stones among everyone under age 65. Aretha Franklin is listed among the top five favorite singers among those age 30 and over. Michael Jackson is in the top two among those 49 and under, but is in the middle of the pack for boomers and seniors. Frank Sinatra tops the charts among seniors, but is less popular among everyone else.

Tell us, why do young people still listen to the baby boomer generation’s music?