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The Greatest Pop Star by Decade!

Please note that I said popstar and not musician, so no Irving Berlin or George Gershwin…

1900 – 1909 – Enrico Caruso – the popstar as we know and love it hasn’t happened yet, but even Mozart and Beethoven were popular creators as such, and Caruso was more than that. It is fair to admit that the recording business was central to artists breaking through to wide scale popularity and from 1902 – 1920 (two years before his death at 48), he released 247 recordings. The Italian tenor sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic.

1910 – 1919 – Al Jolson – we can’t even seen him in black face today but the jazz singer himself changed in 1927 with the release of the first talkie, but in the 1910s he broke in as a pop star. Yes, it was “The Jazz Singer” from 1927 that made him a legend, but it was the 1910s that gave us “Ragging the Baby to Sleep” (1912 -it was just the fourth song to go platinum) , “You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)” (1913), even “Swanee” (1919) -all during the 1910s where he was in an astonishing SIX MUSICALS…

1920 – 1929 – Louis Armstrong – well, obviously right? The 20s were his decade (and I would argue so was the forties but I won’t).

1930- 1939 – Bing Crosby – it was da Bing who taught us we didn’t have to scream when we had a microphone, it would pick up our voices which invented crooning and made him the biggest star of the 1930s

1940 – 1949 – Glenn Miller – this is where it gets a little tricky. Yes, bandleader Miller was the sound of the US in the 1940s but Frank Sinatra was on his heels though Frank didn’t peak till the 1950s. Then in the 50s, Elvis or Frank?

1950 – 1959 – As great as Sinatra was, Elvis Presley changed the world for the better. He freed us from sexual prudery and shame.

1960 – 1969 – The Beatles – well, who else exactly?

1970 – 1979 – Michael Jackson – while his two bigger albums were from the early 1980s, the blueprint for Michael was Off The Wall and in the 70s he was still with the Jackson Five. To put it simply, without Michael they would have never figured out how to make EDM mainstream.

1980 – 1989 – Madonna – a tough one, going up against Whitney Houston and Prince, but Madonna had an astonishing 1980s, running from Michael’s pop dance to her own brand with Madonna (1983), Like a Virgin (1984), True Blue (1986), Like a Prayer (1989)… even her 1992 Erotica is not in this league of pop bombs of commerciality, controversy, and visual genius.

1990 – 1999 – a tough one, both 2Pac and Biggie changed the face of rap and Puff Daddy and Biggie were behind the song that was the future of rap (“Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”) big Jay-Z had four great albums and would continue with four more in the 2000s before a misjudged and short retirement blew his mojo.

2000 – 2009 – Beyonce – she from from Destiny’s Child to a worl beater and the # 1 female black avatar not named Oprah. She had possibly a better 2010s but here we here Destiny’s Child plus three great albums.

2010 – 2019 – Kanye West – he changed rap with 808s and followed it with three magnificent albums, and if your complaint is that he is mentally disabled -well, that’s hard to deny but who cares? The music towered over the decade.

2020 – 2023 – who knows how this might end? Right? But 2023 found Taylor Swift selling out a 52 Arena tour with the cheapest tickets in the secondary market a mindblowing $2000 (including fees)…

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