American Bandstand premiered on October 7, 1952 and aired in various versions until 1989. Songs of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s were featured on the show. If you hear a song from that era, can you name the decade?


Props & Preparations

Make a YouTube playlist of some songs representing each of the decades and show the YouTube videos. Some examples are below:

Rock Around the Clock (1955) – Bill Haley & His Comets
Peggy Sue (1957) – Buddy Holly
Jail House Rock (1957) – Elvis Presley
Let's Twist Again (1961) – Chubby Checker
California Dreamin' (1966) – The Mamas & the Papas
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1968) – Marvin Gaye
American Pie (1971) – Don McLean
Candy Man (1972) – Sammy Davis Jr.
Crocodile Rock (1973) – Elton John
Stayin' Alive (1977) – Bee Gees
9 to 5 (1980) – Dolly Parton
Billy Jean (1982) – Michael Jackson
We are the World (1985) – Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie


  1. Randomly play some of the songs above and see if the group can identify the decade. First play the song without displaying the YouTube video on the TV. See who can come closest to the actual year the song was released. Give extra credit if they can name the artist.
  2. Then play the YouTube video on the TV and ask the group to sing along with the lyrics.
  3. Finally, ask the group if they recall what else was happening in their own life or in the world during the decade.


Additional Activity

Play YouTube clips of American Bandstand and reminisce about the show.


Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
1 on 1
Small (2 - 4)
Medium (5 - 8)
Large (8+)
Any 45 Minutes Assisted Living
Independent Living
Long-term Care
Skilled Nursing/Rehab
Facilitator Gender
Programming Coed
Wellness Domains

Social, Emotional, Intellectual

  • Tablet or laptop and possibly an HDMI cord to connect to a TV
  • Internet
Supporting Research
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