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The newest additions to ‘classic rock’ stations will make you feel especially old

April 19, 2022, 3:38 PM UTC

Classic hits radio is meant to appeal to an audience that doesn’t connect as frequently with the latest hits, but that doesn’t mean its listeners don’t feel attacked sometimes.

The latest additions to classic rock and classic hits radio stations around the country, as gathered by Radio Insight, might seem a bit young to be classified as “classics”—and could make the target audience feel especially old.

Among the most recent additions on stations around the country are Britney Spears’s “…Baby One More Time,” Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun,” Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” and “Learn to Fly” and “My Hero” from the Foo Fighters.


Several of the nation’s top “classic” stations are boosting the number of late-’90s and 2000s songs on their playlists. This could simply be a testing of the waters or a move away from the more traditional “classic” artists, such as the Rolling Stones or The Who.

The music industry saw revenues of $25.9 billion in 2021, an 18.5% increase from the previous year, according to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry). Increasingly, younger listeners are relying on streaming services and social media outlets like TikTok to discover new music.

Generation X and Y listeners, though, are less likely to identify with Olivia Rodrigo or Lil Peep—and that opens the door for “classic” stations to woo them with familiar songs, even if it feels like those were released just a few years ago. (They weren’t, by the way: “…Baby One More Time” is 24 years old, “Learn to Fly” is 23, and “Bad Romance” was released 13 years ago.)

That doesn’t make it any easier for the target audience, though. Here are a few more songs that are now considered classic hits:

  • “Waiting for Tonight” – Jennifer Lopez
  • “Clocks” – Coldplay
  • “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt
  • “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” – Train
  • “Always Be My Baby” – Mariah Carey
  • “In the End” – Linkin Park
  • “So What” – Pink

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