The Throwback Playlist: From John Lennon to Britney Spears

By: Ali Sakr

Whether you come across an old one in a Youtube rabbit hole or stumble upon a CD that’s been hiding under your bed for the past decade, rediscovering an old song is one hell of a feeling. The nostalgia seems to slam you in the face with a rollercoaster of memories and emotions, but let’s be real, it’s like the best slam to the face ever. Let’s take a musical journey from the early 70’s to the late 2000’s, and fall in love with all our favorite classics once more.

You don’t have to have lived in an era in order to enjoy its music; if you’re as young as I am, take this playlist as a list of “new” songs you’ve never listened to, rather than a list of songs you want to remember.

PPS. I’ll add an asterisk next to my personal favorites.

** 70’s – The Disco Era**

  1. Imagine – John Lennon *

To start things off, Lennon sings a calm melody that just gets you thinking, imagining , if you will.

  1. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Yet some more thinking and contemplation.

  1. Hotel Califorina – Eagles *

The perfect song to stare at your ceiling to. 

  1. Dancing Queen – Abba *

Now it’s time to get moving – 70’s pop is the best pop.

  1. How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees

No, it’s not Calvin Harris. 

  1. Daddy Cool – Boney M.

Puts the “disco” in disco era.

  1. You’re my Everything – Santa Esmeralda *

Romantic, even if you don’t love anyone.

  1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor *

And with this incredible song we end an era, you’ll feel very excited for the 80’s if you’re listening along.

**80’s – Generation X**

  1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder *

Simply timeless – one of those songs you’ll definitely know even if you don’t recognize the title.

  1. Careless Whisper – George Michael

Another one of those songs you might think you don’t know, but when that saxophone kicks in, the memories just start flooding.

  1. Thriller – Michael Jackson

What’s there to say? He’s the king of pop.

  1. Africa – Toto

This song is just perfect for this year – without some rain blessed down in Africa, I don’t think winter will show up at all.

  1. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley

You know it’s a good song when there are memes about it.

  1. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor * *Queue any epic montage*

15. I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston

This song makes dancing contagious.

  1. Nothing’s Gonna Change my Love for You – Glenn Medeiros *

This is one of those songs that are practically made to be a first dance.

  1. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd *

While it was released in an album in 1979, it was technically released as a single in 1980, so let’s have this legendary song to end one of my favorite eras.

**Only 90’s kids will remember this**

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Just the song to fuel us with all the energy we’re going to need for the 90’s.

  1. Wonderwall – Oasis *

It’s never the first time you listen to this song – you’ll realize this around minute 2.

  1. I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys

The 90’s’ time capsule.

  1. Around the World – Daft Punk

While it might not have the most – um – creative lyrics, the beat is definitely one to listen to when you want to get some things done.

  1. Zombie – The Cranberries *

Definitely a heavier song than most on this list, but it’s one hell of a listen.

  1. Yellow – Coldplay *

One of the very first songs by the band we still listen to today.

  1. Barbie Girl – Aqua

I know what you’re probably thinking but who doesn’t know this song?

  1. Common People – Pulp

This one greatly expresses how weird the 90’s really were.

  1. Basket Case – Greenday

One more example of all that weirdness.

  1. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

The name says it all.

  1. My Name is – Eminem

And here, our favorite rapper to end this very weird decade, and millennium.

**It’s Gen Z Time**

  1. Irreplaceable – Beyoncé *

You just can’t go wrong with Beyoncé

  1. Cry me a River – Justin Timberlake

What is it with the 2000’s and break up songs? Well it’s still going on now so I guess the mystery hasn’t been solved yet.

  1. Numb – Linkin Park

A little metal won’t hurt anyone, especially if you have anger issues. I’m being sarcastic.

  1. Emotions – Mariah Carey


  1. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton *

Have you ever watched Legally Blonde? Yeah it’s that song.

  1. How to Save a Life – The Fray *

All the feels.

  1. Poker Face – Lady Gaga

You know we’re almost done when we mention Lady Gaga in a throwback playlist.

  1. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

The perfect track when you want to escape the stress of school or college.

  1. Toxic – Britney Spears

We started slow, so we’ll end with a bang; the one and only Britney Spears. You’ve survived till the end!

  1. Ok, I’m just kidding, number 37 was the last one.

So, this sure isn’t your average playlist. While I tried to mention as many of the iconic classics I could, I wasn’t even alive when most of these songs came out, but I do know each one of them has the capability of starting a rabbit hole of old songs all on its own, so knock yourself out!

Every once in a while, it’s okay to embrace the nostalgia. It’s okay to listen to all your favorite childhood songs. It’s okay to get lost in your memories. Don’t get stuck in the past for too long though, there are plenty of incredible songs in the present, too.


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