Music trends over the last several years have one thing in common: a tendency towards nostalgia and an undeniably retro bent, both in music currently being created, as well as through older songs that have been given new life decades later. Throwback sounds have dominated music awards and Billboard charts alike—from Dua Lipa’s record-shattering 2020 track “Levitating” (from her aptly-named album “Future Nostalgia”), to Bruno Mars’ and Anderson .Paak’s duo Silk Sonic’s 2022 Grammy’s sweep.
Songs from the past have also recently returned to the charts, due in large part to the influence of Tik Tok virality. Some in the industry have called Tik Tok “the new MTV,” amplifying the reach of older hits and setting trends using both audio and visual media—so much so that labels have become hyperfocused on marketing their music to the social media giant.
But older songs getting a second (or even third) life on the charts is not exactly a new phenomenon. Besides Tik Tok, other factors, like the death of a musician or the use of a song in a popular film or television show, have renewed attention to hits of the past. David Bowie’s death in 2016, for instance, increased streams of his music on Spotify by 2,822% globally, while Michael Jackson’s posthumous career has included over 16.1 million albums sold and billions of streams. Meanwhile, the meteoric ascent of Kate Bush’s 1985 song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” after being featured in the fourth season of “Stranger Things” is only the most recent example of a song being catapulted back onto the charts from movies and TV.
In order to commemorate times when hits from the past became contemporary favorites, Stacker dove into Billboard charts and found 15 songs that cracked the top 50 on the Hot 100 when they were originally released, and resurfaced on one of several major Billboard charts at least a decade later. One exception was made for a song that didn’t originally top Billboard charts but hit #1 on the U.K. singles chart.