It wouldn't be that strange to see Chuck Berry's "Johnnie B. Goode," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin,'" and Michael Jackson's "Black or White" on someone's iPod. Each of these tracks was the top downloaded for its respective decade, according to Nielsen SoundScan data tear-to-date ending July 26, 2009.
The top downloaded track of the past year was Flo Rida's "Right Round." It has been downloaded 3.69 million times trailed closely by the Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow" at 3.67 million. Predictably, the tracks recorded in the last decade have been purchased at far greater volumes than those of the decades before.
The most downloaded track from any other decade is Journey's eighties classic "Don't Stop Believin'" which was downloaded 711,000 times.
Ironically, the artist that owned the decade, Michael Jackson, didn't get the top slot. He did however rack up 10 of the top-15 downloads overall. The only non-Jackson songs in the top-10 were Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (No. 5) and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" (No. 10).
Jackson's domination continues in the '70s where four of the top-5 downloads were either his tracks recorded as a solo artist or with Jackson 5. "Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough" was No. 1. Only Queen's "We Will Rock You" cracked the top-5. Other Queen hits sold strongly including "Bohemian Rhapsody" (No. 8), "We are the Champions" (No. 12) and "Fat Bottomed Girls" (No. 39).
Although the sixties berthed some of the greatest rock track of all time, Etta James' "At Last" and Louie Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" secured the top two spots. The Rolling Stones had five of the top-15 downloads.
The fifties top three were an eclectic mix of rhythm and blues, country and jazz. Berry's "Johnnie B. Goode" was No.1 followed by Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Dave Brubeck's "Take Five."
Billie Holiday had four of the top-15 tunes downloaded from the forties. "I'll Be Seeing You" was No. 1. Judy Garland had three within the top-15 lead by "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (No. 11). A cover of the song, recorded by Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, actually ranked higher in the nineties. It was the fourth most downloaded track ahead of Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" (No. 5), Green Day's "Good Riddance" (No. 6) "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed (No. 7).
Overall track sales grew to 701 million downloads through July 26 compared to 622 million during the same period the year prior.
Source: The Nielsen Company - SoundScan data year-to-date ending July 26, 2009.