Published: 7 March 2016 at 17:30
Study of popular music lyrics shows negative portrayal of older people and ageing
Researchers believe that a negative portrayal of older people in popular music lyrics could have a detrimental effect on the health of the elderly.
A new study, carried out by academics from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Hull, examined song lyrics from the 1930s to the present day.
Published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, the research found mainly negative representations of age and ageing in popular music texts, with most of the lyrics generated from a young person’s perspective and their imaginings of old age.
To be included in the study, the lyrics had to be in English and had to specifically relate to the phenomenon of age or ageing.
Of the 76 songs that fitted this criteria 55, or 72%, were “negative” and covered topics such as frailty, loneliness and death. The 1980s was the decade with the highest proportion of “negative” songs.
Lead author Jacinta Kelly, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Anglia Ruskin University, said:
Dusty Springfield - Goin’ Back
Bob Dylan - Forever Young
Sophie Tucker - Life begins at Forty
Jimmy Durante - Young at Heart
Green Day - The Grouch
Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Old
Mary Hopkins - Those Were The Days
The Beatles - When I’m Sixty-four