If you’ve ever wondered what bubblegum pop music is, this guide will give you the full lowdown. We’ll delve into the history of bubblegum pop, exploring its origins and impact on pop culture. We'll also cover the genre's most iconic artists and songs (giving video examples) and explore how it has shaped the evolution of modern pop music.
What Is Bubblegum Pop Music?
Bubblegum pop music is a catchy and upbeat genre created in the late 1960s and early 1970s, characterized by its light-hearted lyrics and sugary melodies. The term “bubblegum” refers to the genre's association with the marketing strategy of packaging music as a disposable commodity, much like the popular bubblegum candy.
This type of music was often targeted at a younger audience and featured simple, repetitive choruses and easy-to-remember hooks. Bubblegum pop songs often became commercials and advertisements because of their catchy lyrics. Despite its initial commercial success, the genre faced criticism for being too simplistic and lacking artistic depth.
Bubblegum pop remains a significant part of pop music history, with artists like The Archies, The Monkees, and the Jackson 5 as some of its most iconic examples.
11 Examples of Bubblegum Pop Music
Here are eleven excellent examples of bubblegum pop music.
“Sugar Sugar” by The Archies
Song Year: 1969
“Sugar, Sugar” is an iconic bubblegum pop hit by The Archies, released in 1969. It's one of the most popular and well-remembered bubblegum pop songs ever.
The song features a sunny, upbeat melody driven by a memorable guitar riff and catchy chorus. The Archies were originally a fictional band created for a TV show, but “Sugar, Sugar” became a real-life chart-topping hit. The song's infectious, feel-good sound and memorable lyrics have made it a beloved pop classic, still played on radio and TV commercials today, over fifty years after its release.
“Dizzy” by Tommy Roe
Song Year: 1969
“Dizzy” by Tommy Roe is a classic bubblegum pop hit from 1969, featuring an infectious melody and upbeat instrumentation. The song has been covered by several artists over the years, including Vic Reeves, whose version became a UK top 10 hit in the 1990s.
Despite the different versions, “Dizzy” remains a beloved pop classic that is instantly recognizable and impossible to resist singing along to. The Vic Reeves version adds a unique twist to the song, including a comedic bit about washing machines.
“I Think I Love You” by The Patridge Family
Song Year: 1969
“I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family is a quintessential example of the bubblegum pop genre that dominated the airwaves in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The song's infectious hooks, upbeat tempo, and catchy chorus make it an irresistible pop gem.
While the band was fictional, the success of their music was genuine, and “I Think I Love You” became their biggest hit and a pop culture staple.
“Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express
Song Year: 1968
“Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express is a fun, upbeat bubblegum pop song that was a hit in 1968. The song's lyrics about a young man's infatuation with a girl are simple, and the upbeat tempo and energetic delivery make it a classic.
The song's bouncy beat and sing-along lyrics about a boy's crush on a girl make it a genre classic for bubblegum pop.
“I'm A Believer” by The Monkees
Song Year: 1969
“I'm a Believer” by The Monkees is an upbeat and catchy song that has stood the test of time. Released in 1966, it quickly climbed to the top of the charts and became the band's biggest hit, staying at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks.
With its infectious melody and fun lyrics, “I'm a Believer” remains a beloved classic that still gets people dancing and singing along today.
“Simon Says” by 1910 Fruitgum Company
Song Year: 1968
“Simon Says” is a catchy, upbeat pop hit by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, released in 1968. The song features a cheerful melody driven by a peppy horn section and a sing-along chorus. The 1910 Fruitgum Company was a bubblegum pop band that gained popularity in the late 1960s, scoring several hits with their upbeat, sugary-sweet sound.
Their success was primarily due to their appeal to young audiences and their ability to craft infectious pop hooks that became instantly memorable.
“Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James & The Shondells
Song Year: 1968
“Crimson and Clover” is a psychedelic pop-rock classic by Tommy James & The Shondells, released in 1968. The song features a dreamy, ethereal melody punctuated by James' distinctive vocals, which swing between urgent and whispered.
The complicated instrumentation includes swirling organ tones, a fuzz guitar, and a propulsive drumbeat that gives the song a hypnotic quality. “Crimson and Clover” remains a beloved staple of classic rock radio and an enduring example of the innovative sound that emerged from the bubblegum pop era.
“Young Girl” by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
Song Year: 1968
“Young Girl” is a 1968 hit song by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. The song features a haunting melody delivered with a sense of urgency by Puckett, and the backing vocals from the band give the song a haunting, almost menacing quality. Though the lyrics might not stand the test of time, the enduring theme of love still comes through.
The song performed very well on the charts, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming one of the band's most popular songs.
“Happy Together” by The Turtles
Song Year: 1967
“Happy Together” by The Turtles is a cheerful and infectious pop hit from 1967. The song's bouncy, uptempo beat is underscored by a driving bassline and tambourine, creating an irresistibly danceable groove.
The vocal harmonies are bright and joyful, contributing to the overall happy vibe of the song. The song's catchy chorus is an iconic moment in bubblegum pop, with the memorable line “I can't see me lovin' nobody but you” serving as a special sing-along moment.
“You're the One” by The Vogues
Song Year: 1965
“You're the One” is a 1965 hit song by The Vogues, known for its polished vocal harmonies and lush orchestration. The song features a soaring, romantic melody that is beautifully sung by the group, with each member contributing to the rich, multi-layered sound.
The song is smooth and sophisticated, with strings, horns, and percussion all adding to the song's romantic feel. The song is a classic example of the sweet, polished, and produced sound that characterized many bubblegum pop hits of the era.
“Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin' Spoonful
Song Year: 1965
The opening riff of “Do You Believe in Magic” features a bright, jangly guitar that sets the tone for the entire song. The melody is upbeat and catchy, with a sing-along quality that invites the listener to join in.
The vocal harmonies are light and cheerful, adding to the song's overall sense of fun and positivity. The instrumentation is primarily acoustic, with hand claps, tambourines, and a bouncy bassline all contributing to the song's light and lively sound.
5 Top Bubblegum Pop Musicians
The bubblegum pop genre was flooded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but below are five of the most influential artists and musicians that helped shape the genre.
The Archies were a fictional band created for the animated television series “The Archie Show,” which aired from 1968 to 1969.
The band was composed of characters from the “Archie” comic book series, and their hit song “Sugar, Sugar” became a defining example of bubblegum pop music. The song quickly shot up on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, cementing The Archies' place in music history.
The Patridge Family
The Partridge Family was a bubblegum pop band formed in the early 1970s, based on a TV show of the same name. The group consisted of actors who portrayed family band members, led by Shirley Jones and her real-life stepson David Cassidy.
The Partridge Family had several hit singles, including “I Think I Love You” and “Come On Get Happy,” Their popularity helped solidify bubblegum pop as the leading mainstream genre during the early 1970s.
Tommy Roe is a pop singer-songwriter who rose to fame during the 1960s bubblegum pop era with hits such as “Sheila” and “Sweet Pea.”
Roe's catchy melodies and upbeat lyrics embodied the era's spirit and helped establish bubblegum pop as the top genre in pop music in the 1970s. His music continues to be celebrated today and has inspired countless artists across generations.
The Monkees were a pop rock band formed in the mid-1960s for a television show of the same name. Though initially created as a manufactured band, the group quickly gained a following and released a string of hit singles, including “I'm a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”
Their innovative sound, which blended rock, pop, and folk elements, helped push the boundaries of bubblegum pop and influenced subsequent generations of musicians, making The Monkees an enduring icon of the era.
Ohio Express was a popular bubblegum pop band known for their infectious, upbeat sound and catchy lyrics. With hits like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “Chewy Chewy,” the band became a defining example of the genre during the late 1960s.
The band's music embodied the fun and carefree spirit of the era, making Ohio Express an essential part of the history of bubblegum pop music.
The History of Bubblegum Pop Music
The history of bubblegum pop music dates back to the late 1960s when music producers turned their attention to a new kind of pop music aimed at a younger audience. The idea of young people as a highly marketable audience was catching steam.
The term “bubblegum” was coined by music industry insiders to describe the genre's light-hearted and disposable nature. The majority of the hit bubblegum pop songs were seen as “one-hit wonders,” a feature of the genre thanks to the idea of simple pop music as disposable.
One of the earliest examples of bubblegum pop music was “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies, a fictional band created for the animated television series “The Archie Show.” The song was released in 1969 and became an instant hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The success of “Sugar, Sugar” cleared the way for other bubblegum pop acts, such as The Monkees and later The Jackson 5, to achieve mainstream success.
In the early 1970s, the popularity of bubblegum pop music continued to grow, with acts like Tommy Roe, The Partridge Family, and The Bay City Rollers dominating the charts. These groups were marketed towards young audiences, with their music often accompanied by tie-in merchandise such as lunch boxes, t-shirts, and posters.
By the mid-1970s, bubblegum pop began to lose popularity as audiences became more interested in other genres like disco and punk rock. Still, the genre had a lasting impact on pop culture, inspiring later acts like the popular boy and girl bands of the 1990s and early 2000s.
In recent years, bubblegum pop music has experienced a resurgence in popularity, with contemporary artists incorporating elements of the genre into their music. Artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Dua Lipa have drawn inspiration from bubblegum pop, mixing catchy melodies and simple lyrics into their songs.
Producing music with repetitive hooks that catch attention may have originated with bubblegum pop acts, but the trend has seen a resurgence with the popularity of music on TikTok. Songs that gain popularity on TikTok and other short-form social media often have short and repetitive hooks with which anyone can create a video.
Overall, the history of bubblegum pop music is a testament to the enduring popularity of upbeat and infectious pop music, and its impact can still be felt in today's music.
Bubblegum Pop Music Characteristics
Bubblegum pop music is known for its infectious, upbeat sound and simplistic, happy lyrics. The genre's songs typically feature simple chord progressions, catchy melodies, and repetitive, easy-to-remember choruses. The music is often produced with a heavy emphasis on hooks and memorable riffs, making it incredibly catchy and fun to listen to.
Lyrically, bubblegum pop music is characterized by its emphasis on youthful, carefree themes. Many songs focus on young love, parties, having fun, and dancing. The songs were purposefully crafted to stick in your head over time.
The lyrics are often intentionally simplistic, making them easy to sing along to and memorable for listeners of all ages.
Bubblegum pop music is also known for its distinctive production style, which often features a professional and polished sound. The genre frequently incorporates bubblegum rock, garage rock, and early pop punk elements, resulting in a unique and instantly recognizable sound.
The genre is also characterized by its marketing strategy. Bubblegum pop music was often packaged as a disposable commodity, marketed towards young audiences with colorful album covers and tie-in merchandise, such as trading cards and posters. The goal was to create a sense of excitement and urgency around the music, encouraging fans to consume it quickly and frequently.
The simple melodies and infectious hooks of bubblegum pop have made it a favorite genre for generations of music fans, inspiring countless artists and shaping the sound of pop music for decades.
What Is Bubblegum Pop Music? Final Thoughts
In conclusion, the history of bubblegum pop music is a fascinating look into a genre that has had a lasting impact on pop culture. While its commercial success was relatively short-lived, the genre's simple and infectious sound has endured, inspiring countless modern artists and shaping the sound of pop music for decades.
Interested in more music from the late 1960s? Check out our list of the best songs from 1969 for more great tunes!