Whitney Houston’s ‘Star Spangled Banner’ tops list of music moments Americans wish they saw live

NEW YORK — As life returns to normal this summer, a new study finds people all around the world are ready to put down their headphones and see some live music again.

In fact, after all these years, Americans are still crazy for Whitney Houston. Three in 10 wish they could go back in time to see the songstress’ live rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV.

The survey polled 2,000 people across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, India, and South Korea about iconic music moments they would have liked to see in person. Among the top five that Americans rank high include Elton John’s performance of “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s funeral (31%), The Beatles’ rooftop concert (28%), and The Rolling Stones’ jam session in Hyde Park (28%).

Three in five say they remember every second of the first live concert they ever attended and 56 percent remember how happy they felt. So it’s no surprise attending a concert or festival (58%) is the number one activity Americans want to resume when COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Musical tastes changing with age

Iconic Music MomentsConducted by OnePoll on behalf of JBL, the study also put an ear to the evolution of people’s listening habits throughout their lives. One in five say they grew up with hip-hop, pop, and rock. However, their teen years played a pivotal role in cementing rock as a lifelong favorite. That might be why three in five still have the same favorite music artist for the past decade.

Yet recent years have had an influence on people’s playlists, with two-thirds of respondents saying their musical taste has changed significantly over time. There’s a new favorite in the pandemic era, as three in 10 named Lady Gaga’s One World: Together at Home concert as their top live-streamed performance during lockdown.

One in five are picking Bruno Mars as their top music artist of 2021 thus far, with Justin Bieber (20%) and The Weeknd (20%) following closely behind. Fifty-nine percent have filled their lives with more music than ever over the past year, with half the poll (48%) creating a special playlist for a friend or loved one.

“Music can be the fuel for our internal time machines,” says a JBL spokesperson in a statement. “Interestingly, seven in 10 respondents said they felt transported to a specific time when listening to older music.”

Passing down the love of music

Iconic Music MomentsWhen asked about the biggest influences on their musical tastes, Americans consider friends (32%), music TV channels (28%), and their parents (27%) to be the biggest influences on their preferences. Over half of respondents hope to relive memorable moments from their childhood with their own kids one day, with two-thirds hoping to pass down their taste in music. While the power of song brings families together, more than two-thirds (67%) add discovering international music artists can be a stepping stone toward appreciating other cultures.

Music can be a universal language that connects people whose differences might otherwise prevent them from understanding each other,” the JBL spokesperson adds. “The very act of listening together creates a shared experience that can be therapeutic for all involved.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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