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    Classical Music 
  • General Notes: Instrumental Music
    • All music containing violins is "Classical".
    • Technically, the "true" classical period was from roughly 1750 to 1850. It's just that people tend to use the term to refer to any music from after the Renaissance and from before jazz (or ragtime, in the case of Americans).
    • The "classical music canon" that average viewers can be expected to know only covers a little over 200 years of music, from the late Baroque period (starting around 1700) to the early 20th century. Good luck finding a non-aficionado who is familiar with medieval, Renaissance, early baroque music, or anything written in the last 60 years that isn't a film score or Philip Glass.
    • Fiction can ignore most of the early 20th century in the musical development. No one wrote anything more adventurous than the Debussy and Ravel above; certainly not late Scriabin or the Second Viennese School. Maybe the audience can get Stravinsky, if they're lucky. If someone really wants to show off, they might mention Varese, Cage, or Stockhausen.
  • General Notes: Vocal Music
    • During the first half of the 20th century Enrico Caruso would regularly be namedropped as the most famous male opera singer. Near the end of the second half Luciano Pavarotti is the most popular choice. If you are lucky the other two tenors, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras might be mentioned as well. Female opera singers are even more obscure. Maria Callas is the one everyone knows; thanks to Freddie Mercury, Montserrat Caballé might ring a bell as well.
    • Almost no opera contains more than one aria. No single operatic role ever has more than one aria. There are no duets or ensemble pieces.
  • General Notes: Choral Music: There exist three compositions for full choir: the Hallelujah Chorus, the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th symphony, and "O Fortuna" from Orff's Carmina Burana.
  • Opera:
    • There are no altos, baritones, or basses; all singers are dignified tenors or temperamental sopranos, regardless of their actual vocal ranges.
    • Carmen (Bizet) contains the only mezzo-soprano aria, the "Habanera". Elsewhere Carmen is known from "Toreador-a, don't spit on the floor-a" or maybe "Neither a borrower, nor a lender be" (which is actually from Hamlet, by way of Gilligan's Island).
    • Rigoletto (Verdi) contains only the song'"La donna è Mobile".
    • Pagliacci (the opera with the "crying clown", by Leoncavallo) contains only the aria "Vesti la giubba".
    • Don Giovanni (opera by Mozart) is better known for the visuals (specifically the Commendatore's statue coming to life) than for the actual music.
    • The only tenor aria is "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot
    • The only baritone aria is Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven:
    • Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Only the first four notes of the first movement of the Fifth Symphony. The first 8 notes, if they let it go on for an "interminably" long time.
    • The last movement of the Ninth Symphony, commonly known as the "Ode to Joy".
    • Für Elise. Nearly every music box has this pleasing tune. There was even a toy - a plastic iron - that would play this melody when children would iron with it.
    • Moonlight Sonata might pop up here and there. Even then, it's only the first movement.
  • Bach
    • Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major (only cello piece, and only the prelude).
    • Toccata in D Minor (always played on an Ominous Pipe Organ) for vampires and other "creepy" things. Usually only the first few bars are played, and the not-so-creepy fugue is almost never played, though its association with the toccata means that sometimes, the fugue is used for "creepy" things. (Ironically, when a score was first put to the Bela Lugosi Dracula movie, they used Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake instead.)
    • "Wohl mir, daß ich Jesum habe"/"Jesus bleibet meine Freude", the sixth and tenth movements, respectively, of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben The melody of the two movements is better known as Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. The tempo is slower than what Bach intended, and the original German lyrics never appear, if any lyrics are used at all. The melody played is always an arrangement of the original melody.
  • Händel
    • The "Hallelujah" chorus from the Messiah oratorio. That's the only part of the entire composition, by the way.
    • Rarely the Music for the Royal Fireworks, often erroneously called part of the "Water Music" suites.
  • Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra also known as that music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ric Flair's Entrance Music — which is only about two minutes long, for all most people know of the piece.
  • Richard Wagner.
    • "Ride of the Valkyries".
    • Otherwise, the opera cycle from which it comes appears only if "Viking" helmets are involved, usually without any of Wagner's music.
    • For WWE fans, it's Daniel Bryan's old theme song. At least before he adopted a rock version of it in its place.
    • The wedding march from Lohengrin: instrumental or organ-only. Can be credited as "'Here Comes the Bride' (traditional)", and can be used in works whose dramatic date is earlier than Lohengrin.
  • Edward Elgar wrote only one march, "Land of Hope and Glory", and it only exists in two contexts: First, graduation ceremonies. Second, The Macho Man! OOOOH YEAHHH!!! If you are in the US, the name of this march is "Pomp and Circumstance" (formally the name of a complete set of marches, one of which is "Land of Hope and Glory").
    • Thanks to Eric Emanuel Schmidt's play, the "Enigma Variations" are also not entirely unknown. Even then, most people only know the ninth variation (of 14), "Nimrod".
  • Antonio Vivaldi
    • The "Spring" concerto from The Four Seasons — and only the initial Concerto Grosso section of its first movement.
    • And thanks to the "Four Seasons" connection, expect people to get him mixed up with Frankie Valli.
  • Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" from his music for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Antonín Dvořák only ever wrote the "New World Symphony" and only the Allegro part, or so it seems. In the UK, substitute the Largo part, which is extremely well-known thanks to a popular bread advertisement.
  • "Por una Cabeza" (tango)
  • "La Cumparsita" (tango)
  • Swan Lake (ballet)
  • The Nutcracker (ballet). Which consists entirely of Uncle Drosselmeyer's theme, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Waltz of the Flowers, and the Russian Dance (the Chinese Dance too, if you're lucky).
  • Giselle (ballet)
  • The only piano piece ever written is Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2"; what happened to No. 1 is as much a mystery as the first four versions of Chanel perfume. Basically the classical equivalent of The Entertainer (AKA The Sting).
  • Debussy intended Clair de Lune as an ode to sparkly vampires, right? Or contemplative music for casino thieves. (See the end of 2001's Ocean's Eleven and the middle of Ocean's Thirteen.)
  • Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite consists solely of "Morning" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King".
  • Maurice Ravel only ever wrote the Bolero. And incidentally, nobody else ever wrote a bolero. The only other one people might have heard of is Bizet's, which used to be the only bolero anyone knew, until first the film 10 (1979) and then Torvill and Dean popularized Ravel's.
  • Rossini's "William Tell Overture". And even at that, people are unlikely to realize that the two best-known parts are part of the same piece of music. And the latter part is just as likely to be known as "The Lone Ranger theme".
  • Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, a.k.a. "that tune from The Smurfs (1981).".
  • Aaron Copland only did Fanfare for the Common Man and Rodeo (and then only the Hoe-Down part; y'know, "Beef: It's What's for Dinner". Dun dun dun.)
  • George Gershwin either didn't write any classical music (only showtunes) or only wrote "Rhapsody in Blue" (and we only know that one because United Airlines uses it as their theme song).
  • Asked to name a composer, most wouldn't name Gioacchino Rossini or Giuseppe Verdi but it's a toss-up between the two who wrote the most tunes everybody recognises and can hum but can't identify. Rossini gave us the fast bit from William Tell aka the The Lone Ranger music, the overtures from The Barber of Seville and The Thieving Magpie; Verdi the chorus of Hebrew slaves from Nabucco, "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto, the brindisi from La Traviata, the triumphal march from Aida, and the "Dies Irae" from the Requiem.
  • Igor Stravinsky is only known for The Rite of Spring. And perhaps also for The Firebird and Petrushka. Never mind the fact that he wrote music well worth hearing for over fifty years afterwards.
  • "O Fortuna" (ironically, composed in the late 1930s) is the only part of Carmina Burana, and it exists only for Ominous Latin Chanting.

    Popular Music 
  • When a radio station claims to play "Top 40" music, it's highly unlikely that they'll play every song that's in the Top 40. Adult Contemporary stations in particular rarely ever play any song that features rapping or hip-hop style production (often cutting guest rap verses). Mainstream Top 40 stations on the other hand are more likely play rap songs and leave guest rap verses intact, but not if they're "too urban". Also, despite their claim that they play "Top 40" music, the bulk of their airplay consists of songs that reached the Top 20 (with maaaaybe some songs in the upper-Top 30). Urban stations on the other hand focus mostly on Hip-Hop and R&B, but they exclude anything that doesn't "blend in" with the rest. As for rock songs that make the lower-end of the Top 40, well... airplay is scarce at best.
  • Most people will only know an artist by their hit singles. At best, they'll only know a handful of songs they've made despite having dozens of other material. Many will only know the 1 or 2 hit songs off an album despite having at least 11 others available for listen. One Hit Wonders are an extreme case of this in action, who could have numerous other songs that people would like but are only known for their one hit. Naturally, if someone wants to show they're a fan of a particular artist, they'll bring up an artist's non-singles in a discussion.
  • Music Hall and Vaudeville are quickly fading away out of the public consciousness. The only legendary names still remembered are Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier.
    • Just look at any list of radio, first- or second-generation film, or first-generation TV stars. Chances are most of them got their start there.
  • Jazz musicians consist of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Jazz singers will be either Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. Most people assume there was no jazz music after 1965, and that there were never any white jazz artists (though some would name Norah Jones when they acknowledge the existence of modern jazz artists, especially if they grew up during the period in the early-to-mid-2000s when she was popular). The "big-band" music of the 1930s and '40s, considered jazz in its own day, is "easy listening" now.
  • Blues musicians will be Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, or B.B. King.
  • Crooners are Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or Bing Crosby. Tom Jones or Tony Bennett might be thrown in there too.
  • Name a chansonnier and they will either be Maurice Chevalier, Édith Piaf, Jacques Brel, or Georges Brassens.
  • When it comes to rock music, this is - notoriously - an Enforced Trope. Criticism of the genre has long been dominated by Baby Boomers with a heavy '60s (and, to a lesser extent, '70s) bias. So lists of the "best bands/artists ever" can be an extremely short one: The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beatles (but only their post-1966 material), The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - all guaranteed to be on the list. Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Eagles usually on the list too. The Beach Boys, Queen, Frank Zappa might manage to sneak on there. Black Sabbath are almost always slighted, despite being contemporaries of many of the above bands. With the exception of Springsteen, if you gained popularity at any time after 1975, then forget it. The irony is, most of these "classic" bands aren't getting imitated much anymore, which erodes their so-called classic status a great deal. And if you define "classic rock" broadly as "blues- or psychedelia-inspired hard rock that isn't metal", then a number of more contemporary rock bands - AC/DC, Guns 'N' Roses, Oingo Boingo - are "classic" in all but era.
  • There is only one reggae artist, Bob Marley (some may be able to name a few others who were popular in the past such as Shaggy or UB40). And everything with a reggae beat will have been written by him. For that matter, reggae is usually portrayed as being the only genre of music in the Caribbean. Apparently, Chutney Music, soca, ska, mento, rocksteady, ragga, dancehall, dub, and calypso don't exist in fictional settings. Well, maybe they do, but they'll be classified as reggae music.
    • Along that note, Bob's Greatest Hits Album Legend is often treated as his only album by both the buying public and the media, to the point where it has had specials made on it despite being a posthumous compilation. This is a Berserk Button for many fans. For many of the general public it's the only reggae album they own.
  • In the heyday of P2P services, if you were to search up ""Weird Al" Yankovic", you'd be bound to find scores of parody songs with his name on them that he didn't write. Apparently, people have never heard of Bob Rivers or Cledus T. Judd — not to mention earlier practitioners of this art such as Spike Jones, Allan Sherman, Victor Borge, Tom Lehrer, Peter Schickele, and Stan Freberg. It's particularly unfortunate when this happens with songs about subjects the artist it's attributed to would never touch. The fairly family-friendly artists have had their names attached to stuff they'd never have written in a million years.
  • Among Canadian listeners, the Arrogant Worms get this a lot too (though still not as much as Weird Al). Again, often with stuff much racier or more offensive than the Worms themselves would ever do. Some of the most persistent errors of this kind involve attributing songs by Edmonton band Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie to the Worms.
  • It seems that any goth or dark-themed music associated with goths is made by one of four artists: The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Anything female is attributed to Siouxsie; anything else to one of the other three (mostly Sisters). 'Cry Little Sister' from The Lost Boys has been attributed to the Sisters of Mercy. Movie about vampires = Must have been made by the Sisters of Mercy?
  • There have only ever been three German bands making popular music: Kraftwerk, Scorpions and Rammstein.
  • A weird example is that a Dutch parody of Aqua's "Barbie Girl" is often attributed to Rammstein, despite A) being sung in Dutch, not German, B) not being similar to their musical style (poppy music instead of metal), C) featuring a female vocalist, and D) Rammstein not being known for parodies (they've done lyrics and videos with parody content, but these are hardly their main claim to fame; and full-blown parodies of specific songs by other artists really aren't their thing).
  • Any country music parody tends to get attributed to Jeff Foxworthy, regardless of quality, theme, or voice. Simply because the one-off "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas" was a hit, people apparently assume Foxworthy to be a singer. Hasn't anybody ever heard of Cledus T. Judd? Or, for that matter, Ray Stevens?
  • In the 1970s UK, Billy Connolly would parody the only country music then known to your average Brit: Tammy Wynette singing about cheatin' men.
  • All musical scores are by Danny Elfman, John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota or Hans Zimmer. Granted, these guys have written a flipping TON of them, and often tutored all the others.
  • You'd be forgiven if you think of Remote Control. There's a very high chance that composer is part of that gang being managed by Hans Zimmer.
  • There's also an outside chance of it being James Newton Howard, or more recently, Michael Giacchino.
  • Jerry Goldsmith is also a popular choice for misnaming.
  • If anyone waxes poetic about a film composer being a "genius," they're talking about Bernard Herrmann.
  • All Danny Elfman soundtracks are for Tim Burton movies.
  • Corollary: All anime soundtracks are by Yoko Kanno.
  • Corollary #2: All instrumental TV themes are by John Tesh.
  • There's apparently only one band that did live performances of video game songs: The Minibosses. That is, if you believe filenames...
  • Irish musician Enya, who does neo-Celtic new age music, will sometimes get credit for anything that vaguely resembles her work. Somewhat understandable for works by her sister Moya Breannan or her former band Clannad, but stranger when it's actually, say, Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian musician who sounds nothing like her apart from working in more or less the same genre. Karl Jenkins Adeimus is attributed to her too.
  • Any Irish-sounding Drunken Song is credited to The Pogues. Of particular note on file-sharing services is Token Celtic Drinking Song, which will never, ever, be found credited to the band Jimmy George.
  • To judge by oldies-station playlists (at least in the UK), the only song Soft Cell ever recorded was their cover of "Tainted Love". No playlist compiler has, it would seem, ever heard of "Bedsitter", "Torch" or "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye" amongst others.
  • All nerdcore is by mc chris, even the stuff where the artist introduces himself. The worst part is mc chris doesn't even consider himself nerdcore.
  • Apparently, some people believe The Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd's debut or only album; It was their eighth. For double bonus amusement, ask them to name a Pink Floyd song. It will be from The Wall. Roger Waters will always be referred to as Pink Floyd in these conversations.
  • The only songs Queen have ever recorded are:
  • The only grindcore band in existence is Napalm Death. Pig Destroyer, Anal Cunt, Brutal Truth, Nasum, and Rotten Sound may get extremely rare mentions, and there may also be mistaken mentions of Carcass, Exhumed, Cattle Decapitation, Cephalic Carnage, and Misery Index; while the first four did indeed play it at one point, they no longer do so, and Misery Index never really played it to begin with despite having extremely prominent elements of it in their music.
  • Mathcore? The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, maybe (big maybe) also The Chariot and/or Ion Dissonance.
  • The sketch "Uses of the Word Fuck" will usually be attributed to Monty Python or George Carlin.
  • The only progressive rock bands are King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and maybe Jethro Tull. And sometimes not even all of them - lots of people only know Genesis for their more pop-oriented 80s material and have no idea they ever did prog rock or had Peter Gabriel as a member. To a lesser extent, Yes and Tull sometimes gets the same treatment from people who only know the songs that show up on the radio. And King Crimson suffer a severe case of Mainstream Obscurity - lots of people have heard the name and are vaguely aware that they're an influential band, few could name even one of their songs or albums.
  • Good luck on anyone knowing any song by Chris de Burgh except "Lady in Red", his Black Sheep Hit. (In December only, people may also recall "A Spaceman Came Travelling".) Honourable mention goes to Mystery Science Theater 3000 for referencing "Don't Pay the Ferryman" in at least two different episodes.
  • The Bee Gees are overshadowed by their disco era; relatively few people are aware of their Beatlesesque pop era from the '60s and early '70s, nor are very many people aware they began as teens playing an obscure-in-America musical genre called skiffle.
  • Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are founding members of Fleetwood Mac.
  • Hard Rock is either Post-Grunge, Pop Punk, or Emo Music. Everything else rock is just pre-90s Classic Rock.
  • Most people associate New Wave music with a limited selection of music from the latter era of New Wave and the synthpop era. Not a lot of people know New Wave existed in 1975 - 76 or that it originated as a subgenre of punk rock. Or that a lot of punk rockers morphed into more conventional New Wave acts (cf. Classix Nouveaux, Lords of the New Church). New Wave itself had several substyles, and most of the best-remembered groups- The Knack, The Go-Gos, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles; suspiciously almost all Los Angeles bands- were highly-commercial Power Pop acts who had little or no connection to the earlier ones who gave the movement its name. Some people believe the 4 groups only had like 2-3 songs each. Most of these people only know 1 song by The Knack. Part of the problem is that many of the original and/or most famous New Wave acts (The Cars, Dire Straits, Talking Heads) didn't comfortably fit the stereotype, as they performed music in a variety of styles and sometimes even genres. The Cars, for example, tend to be remembered for their '80s hits ("Shake It Up", etc.), but their career actually took off in the late '70s. Their first big hit was "Just What I Needed" - but since its synths aren't quite as exaggerated as on later Cars songs, people can be surprised when they find out who it's by.
  • Punk itself gets treated this way. Ask most people over the age of 30 or so to name the first punk band that comes to mind, and you'll probably get one of only five examples: The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash (who weren't even purely punk rock), Blondie (who was barely punk at all), or Green Day. Nobody remembers the Dictators. Or the Circle Jerks. Or Black Flag. Or...
  • Except perhaps for Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and Metallica, the only Heavy Metal that people know of or remember is Thrash Metal and Hair Metal, and it's all from The '80s. Try finding any non-metal fans who've seriously listened to Rainbow. Or Judas Priest (except for "Breaking the Law" and maybe "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" or "Painkiller"). Or Motörhead (except for "Ace Of Spades", aka "that one song that everyone learning to play bass with a pick plays incessantly"). Or Iron Maiden (except for "Run to the Hills", "The Number of the Beast", "2 Minutes to Midnight", and maybe "The Trooper"). Or Slayer (except for "Raining Blood", aka the other song that every beginning guitarist can play, since the intro riff is all that ever shows up, and maybe "Angel of Death" or "War Ensemble"). Or Pantera (except for the song "Walk", which just about everybody's heard and everyone learning guitar has played the riff to, and maybe "Cowboys from Hell" or "Cemetery Gates"). Or Megadeth (except for "Symphony of Destruction", which everyone knows the riff to and every beginning guitarist has played, "Hangar 18", "Trust", and "Peace Sells", another one of those songs that every beginning bassist learns). Or Cradle of Filth. Deep Purple - the group that practically invented metal - will get mentioned, but only for "Smoke on the Water" (a.k.a. "that really dumb song that any mediocre guitarist can play," and the guitar riff is the only part of the song that exists) and maybe "Highway Star" or "Hush" (the latter of which is a cover). Hell, even the big three fall victim to this; ask a mainstream listener to name a Sabbath song that isn't "Iron Man", "War Pigs", "Sweet Leaf", "Children of the Grave", or "Paranoid"; an Ozzy song that isn't "Crazy Train", "Mr. Crowley", "Flying High Again", "Bark at the Moon", "Mama, I'm Coming Home", or "No More Tears"; or a Metallica song that isn't "Enter Sandman", "Master of Puppets", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "The Unforgiven", "Sad But True", "Nothing Else Matters", or "One", and you'll probably be met with a blank stare.
  • There was only ever one Ultravox - the one with Midge Ure as lead singer. Poor John Foxx. Likewise, there was only ever one Human League and that was after 2/3 of the original League left to form Heaven 17 (who some people may only recognize as the guys behind "Let Me Go") and Phil Oakey had to find a way of keeping the Human League going.
  • It's a common tendency for people to say they "listen to everything" but mean only the (usually incredibly narrow) range of music that gets decent radio coverage in their area. Grill them for specifics, and watch them backpedal. "Rap? Opera? Bluegrass? Klezmer?" For many of them, there will be at least one form of music on that list whose existence they were unaware of.
  • The Onion: "I Like All Types Of Music" is a mockery of small reference pools and general ignorance as it applied to music in the late 1990s.
  • Mocked in The Blues Brothers: "We got both kinds. We got country and western!"
  • Military bands:
    • Everything ever played by a military band is by John Philip Sousa.
    • In Central Europe most military music is commonly associated with 'Germany' (and Nazis).
    • If military music is introduced by an old man in rags saying "It's. . .", in which case it couldn't be Sousa, because that's a British show.
  • Latin American music, as seen in American TV and movies:
    • All Mexican music is mariachi.
      • There are places in Southern California where radio stations have made this literally true.
    • All non-Mexican Hispanic music is Salsa, which is played by Tito Puente.
    • Brazilian music is that lady with the fruit hat (Carmen Miranda), and bossa nova, which only ever produced one song: "The Girl from Ipanema", as heard in countless elevators.
    • Tango is a ballroom dance and some might know about its connection to Argentina and that its moves are explicitly based on sex.
    • If the Gypsy Kings exist, then they are singing in Spanish.
    • Latin American/Hispanic instruments include maracas, guitars and castanets. They all originate from the same culture.
  • Surf music with vocals has only ever been recorded by The Beach Boys. Including "Surf City" and "Little Old Lady from Pasadena". When the early Nineties incarnation of The Beach Boys appeared on Home Improvement, Tim referenced this trope by mentioning a number of car songs he incorrectly thought were performed by the Boys, only to have them respond with the proper artists. Strangely, one of the songs mentioned is the Rip Chords' "Hey Little Cobra" - and Bruce Johnston fails to mention that he in fact was a member of that group.
  • According to AC and classic hits radio stations, Nazareth only ever made rock ballads. The same applies with Aerosmith, Scorpions, Foreigner and Journey.
  • If you look at many of the more commonplace 1980s "various artists" compilations you'll find a rotating lineup of twenty-to-thirty songs, usually written around 1981-1986, that all of them will have a chunk of. "Jessie's Girl", "Down Under", "The Safety Dance", "Come On Eileen", "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", "Hungry Like The Wolf", "Somebody's Watching Me", "Rock Me, Amadeus!", etc. Most of those songs are white Hair Metal, Arena Rock or New Wave pop, usually with an iconic video, and maybe 30% of them are one hit wonders or novelty songs. Few dance, rap, country or R&B numbers will be included. Made worse by the fact that many major 1980s artists, including Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, and George Michael refuse(d) to license their songs to such best-of's.
  • Pop divas? Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé;. Whoever is super-popular at the moment will get mentioned too, such as Hilary Duff if the work was made in the mid-2000s, Lady Gaga if the work was made in the early-2010s or Ariana Grande if the work was made in the mid-to-late-2010s.
    • The only songs Christina Aguilera ever recorded were "Genie in a Bottle" and "Beautiful".
    • The only songs Britney Spears recorded were "...Baby One More Time", "Toxic", "Oops!... I Did It Again", "Gimme More", and "Scream & Shout" (the last of which was actually a will.i.am song with Britney as a featured artist). "(You Drive Me) Crazy" and "If U Seek Amy" might get mentioned from time to time.
  • The only Disney pop artists discussed outside of tween/teen media are Miley Cyrus (and especially in works made at the time of any minor scandal she got caught up in) and The Jonas Brothers. And the one who came back from having an eating disorder and self-harming and then came out as non-binary later on.note  Maybe Selena Gomez too, at least for dating Justin Bieber. Miranda Cosgrove is likely still thought of as a Disney star, in spite of the fact she works for Nickelodeon.
    • Back when they were promoted heavily on Radio Disney, Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, Willow Smith (Will's hair-whipping daughter who then became a pop punk singer) and Taylor Swift were considered Disney stars as well, though they record for different labels.
      • In a 2013 review of the album Twenty-Four Seven by Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush, the band was erroneously referred to as "Disney pop".
  • Any reference to Justin Bieber in popular culture will always be solely to make fun of him.
  • Ariana Grande will probably be the only name that will come up when mentioning "Nickelodeon stars", though none of her material was produced by Nick. To be fair, she's easily the most successful artist to come out of the channel, while the second most successful act after her would probably be Big Time Rush, who wasn't anywhere near as big in their prime (having been completely stuck in the shadow of their Transatlantic Equivalent and former opening act One Direction) and have long since faded into irrelevancy.
  • British boy bands? Obviously you mean One Direction. Apparently, nobody's ever heard of Take That (Band), Five, JLS, or The Wanted (who are mostly known for their so-called "rivalry" with One Direction).
  • Australian boy bands? You mean 5 Seconds of Summer, even though they're more of a Pop Rock / Pop Punk band than a straight-up boy band. Human Nature might get a weak mention from time to time, but Americans know them more for their Las Vegas residencies wherein they mostly performed old-school soul and R&B covers. (And no, Savage Garden don't count. They were only two people, only one of whom sang, and were both well into their twenties when they made it big.)
  • Often parodies of rappers (or the image that Moral Guardians have at least) will be (in works made in the 1990s through the 2000s) a Gangsta Rap-type rapper from the hood who raps about bitches, hos, and money, or (in works made in the later half of the 2010s) a trap rapper who incomprehensibly mumbles about sex, drinking lean, and getting high and will sometimes spout off rhymes that are solely there to be turned into memes. They will ignore less stereotypical (and usually less mainstream) rappers such as Talib Kweli, Common, Kid Cudi, or Kanye West.
  • Similar to the other one, the only rappers that most people will be able to name are Jay-Z, Eminem (largely because he's one of the few white rappers to avert the Pretty Fly for a White Guy stereotype), 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre (largely because of his headphones), Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, Cardi B, Post Malone, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. (the previous two largely thanks to Dead Artists Are Better), and Kanye West, though he is more known for his many personal issues than he is for his music these days. Tyler, the Creator, Travis Scott, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly are also likely to get a mention. DMX is also likely to get a Dead Artists Are Better mention. OutKast might receive a rare mention, but only for "Hey Ya!", which is hardly representative of their style. Lil Jon may get mentioned due to meme recognition. TechN9ne might also come up, but don't expect anyone to be able to name one of his songs. They may also be able to name Ice Cube and Ice-T, but odds are that they will only know them as actors and not as rappers (though, with the success of Straight Outta Compton, this may be changing for the former).
  • LGBTQ+ hip-hop artists? Frank Ocean and Lil Nas X. Tyler, the Creator will also be mentioned if they believe that he is out. Janelle Monáe, Doja Cat, and ILoveMakonnen may also get mentions, and Azealia Banks may also get a mention just by sheer virtue of Overshadowed by Controversy. Mykki Blanco and Le1f may get very rare mentions.
  • According to millions of Baby Boomers (and Generation X'ers and Generation Y'ers), the only song Kiss ever recorded was "Rock 'N' Roll All Nite", or maybe "Shout It Out Loud" or "Love Gun." Which means you can forget about "Deuce," "Detroit Rock City" (although that one has resurged in popularity due to the 1999 movie of the same name), "Christine Sixteen," "I Was Made For Loving You," "I Love It Loud," "Lick It Up," "Heaven's On Fire," "Tears Are Falling," etc. The songs from their concept album Music From the Elder are so obscure that the band members themselves can't remember them.
  • The only AC/DC songs are "Back In Black", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "Thunderstruck", "Highway To Hell", and maybe "Hell's Bells". What's frustrating about this is that AC/DC rival the Rolling Stones for the title of most wildly popular rock band in the world, and are continuing to release new material in their classic style. Yet almost no one can name any member of the band except for Angus Young (probably because Catholic School Boys Rule). Somewhat justified as Angus' image is widely used in AC/DC's album artwork, more so than with the other band members, with either lead singer or as part of a group image. One might go so far as to almost call Angus the band's Metal Band Mascot.
  • The only Twisted Sister song people remember is "We're Not Gonna Take It", mostly because it was the theme for Arnold Schwarzenegger's successful campaign for governor of "Colliefohnia" in 2003. "I Wanna Rock" will sometimes get mentioned by fans of The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie (in which it was parodied as "Goofy Goober Rock"). The only people who remember "Burn in Hell" are either those who saw Pee-wee's Big Adventure (and that was a considerably toned-down version) or have heard the Dimmu Borgir (a Norwegian extreme metal band) cover.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of The Simpsons where Homer attends a Bachman-Turner Overdrive concert, demands to hear "Takin' Care of Business", and when they start playing it, yells for them to "Get to the 'workin' overtime' part!"
    • Notably, "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" was actually a much bigger hit than "Takin' Care of Business," but your mileage will vary on which one is more remembered.
  • The only popular electronic artists are Daft Punk, deadmau5, David Guetta, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers, Zedd, Avicii, Marshmello, and Kraftwerk.
  • The "World Music" sections of many music departments in mainstream America tend to be dominated by either African, Caribbean, or Celtic music. If European music is included, it's most likely polka (which is extraordinarily popular in Finland).
  • Jethro Tull seems to be affected by this very trope. As the public perception of the band, largely based on what radio stations and the media display, often emphasizes their harder-rocking material (Aqualung, "Bungle In The Jungle", "Locomotive Breath", "Teacher"), and they won a Grammy for "Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album" for Crest Of A Knave in 1989, a more hard rock/heavy metal/classic rock crowd makes up much of the audience, who tends to have little patience for (or hoots and whistles loudly over, to bandleader Ian Anderson's annoyance) the group's more eclectic, softer, more delicate repertoire. Ian has often joked recently that a segment of Tull's audience sometimes sees Tull as "Deep Purple with a flute". This has led Anderson to release his more experimental works, including a sequel to Thick As A Brick, as a solo album with different musicians. His writing for Tull tends deliberately to be more hard-rocking and band-oriented, with more emphasis on Martin Barre's electric guitar playing.
    • Oddly enough, this is even worse in the band's native country, the UK, where most people know them only for "Living In The Past" and for the origin of their name being a common trivia question.
    • Oh yeah, and Jethro Tull is the name of the flute-playing bandleader.
  • The Black Eyed Peas only made these songs:
    • "I Gotta Feeling"
    • "Let's Get It Started"
    • "Boom Boom Pow"
    • "Where Is The Love?"
    • "My Humps"
    • "Pump It"
    • "RITMO"
  • David Bowie is another case of a long, diverse career that mainstream culture only scratches the surface of. The general public will recognize "Space Oddity", "Changes", "Rebel Rebel", "Fame", ""Heroes"", the aforementioned Queen collaboration "Under Pressure", "Let's Dance", and "Modern Love", largely due to frequent licensing for commercials and movie soundtracks. But that's only eight songs, recorded over 1969-1983, from a career that started in 1964 and encompassed 25 studio albums, the last of which was released just days before his 2016 death. Worse, several of them are used without respect to their meanings. A good way to test a layperson's knowledge of Bowie is to ask them what Tin Machine was.Answer  This is less of an issue in his native U.K., though even there attention is paid mostly to his Glam Rock period (1971-74). Bowie's three late-1970s "Berlin" albums — Low, "Heroes", and Lodger — are considered his least accessible, yet have endured to become arguably his greatest work and the most influential. For most of the singles-buying public, though, he did nothing between "Golden Years" (1976) and "Let's Dance" (1983).
  • Neil Young wrote "Heart of Gold", "Rockin' in the Free World" and came out of a lengthy retirement to release an unhinged album called "Let's Impeach The President" in 2006. If you frequent home improvement stores, he also wrote a tender love song called "Harvest Moon". "Lotta Love", often heard at drugstores and on "smooth jazz" stations, was written by Laura Nyro, the woman who sings it.note 
  • Carlos Santana wrote three songs: "Evil Ways", "Black Magic Woman"note  and "Oye Como Va." If you are listening to a classic rock station he also wrote "No One To Depend On". If you remember Woodstock, the band also did "Soul Sacrifice". Everyone has also heard "Smooth", "The Game of Love", and probably "Why Don't You & I" as well thanks to their heavy longstanding presence on pop radio and in-store PA soundtracks, but it's unlikely that most of them would be able to name Santana as the main artist.
  • Country Music:
    • Country music is often thought to be stuck in the 1950s and 1960s with acts such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, etc., and otherwise nothing but nasal-voiced singers in Nudie suits singing about drinkin' and cheatin'.
    • Southern rock acts from the '70s like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, plus country-leaning rockers such as the Eagles - often get lumped in with the country acts, even though they were inspired by diverse styles of music.
    • Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash apparently the only other country singers until the likes of Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Lady Antebellum came along.
    • The term "country and western" is still used by many people, despite being a total Berserk Button for anyone who actually enjoys the genre; said term has not been used within the genre itself since the 1970s.
    • Expect country to be heard largely in a Deep South rural setting inhabited by hillbillies strumming banjos and drinking moonshine from the jug. Small wonder that songs such as "Hillbilly Bone", "Country Must Be Country Wide", and "Southern Comfort Zone" are working on dispelling the "country = Rural South" notion.
    • In one country subgenre, all bluegrass music is either Bill Monroe or Flatt & Scruggs.
      • Referenced by Mason Williams (who himself qualifies for this trope, being the guy who wrote Classical Gas, the quintessential instrumental acoustic guitar song) in Them Banjo Pickers:
    Them banjo pickers, mighty funny ways / Same damn song, three or four days
    Them banjo pickers, poker faced mugs / Never do smile, just play Scruggs
    • Even in Country Music itself, this can happen a lot with recurrent airplay:
      • Although Randy Travis had a consistent career through out most of The '90s and even had a stray #1 hit as late as 2003, classic shows seem to pretend that he never had a hit after "I Told You So" or maybe "Is It Still Over?" By extension, this shuns all albums after his third.
      • Conway Twitty had 40 #1 hits, second only to George Strait, but you'd be hard pressed to ever hear any other than "Hello Darlin'", "I'd Love to Lay You Down", "Tight Fittin' Jeans", or "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" (with Loretta Lynn).
      • Reba McEntire has the most Top 10 country music hits of any female artist, beating out even Dolly Parton, and even starred in a hugely successful sitcom that ran for six seasons. But most people would be hard pressed to name any of her hits other than "Whoever's in New England", "Does He Love You", "Fancy", and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" (even though the latter two were covers).
      • Likewise, the only songs from George Strait that seem to get any attention in The '90s were "Love Without End, Amen" and the two #1 hits off the Pure Country soundtrack: "Heartland" and especially "I Cross My Heart".
      • Most stations seem to pretend that Toby Keith had nothing of note between "Should've Been a Cowboy" (his debut single) and "How Do You Like Me Now?!" except maybe "Who's That Man".
  • Even after Michael Jackson's death and the Dead Artists Are Better media frenzy that followed, his post-1991 albums are only acknowledged by his most devoted fanbase. This caused trouble for the tribute show Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour; both professional reviewers and commenters at Ticketmaster.com complained about songs like "They Don't Care About Us" and "Earth Song" getting full production numbers while hits like "Billie Jean" and "Black or White" were squashed up against each other in medleys.
  • Nirvana is the only Grunge band in existence, and, during the years 1991 through 1994, was the only thing teens were listening to. Which is interesting considering that Pearl Jam has actually outsold Nirvana and several Hair Metal and Thrash Metal bands reached their peak during Nirvana's supposed "domination" (i.e., Metallica's "Enter Sandman"). To say nothing of this being the period when Pantera got big, though the Cowboys From Hell have mentioned in interviews that a lot of bands were afraid to call themselves metal during Grunge's heyday. Not to mention this was also around the time rap and hip-hop were gaining mainstream acceptance outside the inner-city black community.
    • The only song Nirvana contributed is "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (though if you're lucky, some may remember "Lithium", "Come As You Are", and/or "Heart-Shaped Box").
  • Christian:
    • All Christian music by a female vocalist is Amy Grant, and all Christian music by a male vocalist is either Michael W. Smith or Steven Curtis Chapman. Also, whenever Amy comes up she is usually the punchline to a joke, as if the entirety of artists in the genre (or the religion itself) can be represented in her. Add to this the only reason the mainstream audience even knows of Amy's existence is because she "crossed over" and released a few non-religious albums, which got play on Top 40 radio. To top it off, only Amy gets this kind of persecution for her origins — few people know Sixpence None The Richer or Simon & Garfunkel started out as Christian bands.note 
    • Christian Rock is either just country rock without the hard rock elements mixed with gospel-esque lyrics or Creed-esque Post-Grunge with Christian lyrics.
    • P.O.D., Stryper, Skillet, Demon Hunter and The Devil Wears Prada are the only Christian metal bands that exist. Only older fans of Christian metal would be able to name Resurrection Band, Daniel Band, Holy Soldier, Barnabas, Barren Cross and Jerusalem as well.
    • The only Christian hip-hop artist is TobyMac.
  • Salt-n-Pepa, Lil' Kim, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Eve, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Snow tha Product are the only female rappers ever in music history. Lauryn Hill might get a mention, maybe, though she's probably more famous for her solo career than her run with the Fugees, and old-school fans may also name MC Lyte, Roxanne Shanté, Foxy Brown, The Lady of Rage, Gangsta Boo, and Yo-Yo. Rapsody may also get a rare mention due to her guest spot on Kendrick Lamar's "Complexion (A Zulu Love)".
  • Rick Astley only ever made one song in his entire career, "Never Gonna Give You Up". In his heyday, he had another #1 hit, five Top 10 singles and two more that made the Top 40, and he was never considered a one-hit wonder.
  • When talking about Linkin Park, most people will only refer to their Nu Metal material from Hybrid Theory and Meteora. More specifically the only songs they'll refer to are "One Step Closer", "Crawling", "Papercut", "In the End", and "Numb" (and maaaaaaybe "Breaking the Habit"). The only songs released after they switched their sound that get acknowledged are "What I've Done" and "New Divide" due to them being the theme songs of the Bayformer films.
  • White rappers? Eminem will always come to mind first. The only other names likely to be brought up are the Beastie Boys, Vanilla Ice, House of Pain (though they'll probably forget about Danny Boy due to Everlast's solo career and DJ Lethal's work as the turntablist for Limp Bizkit), Macklemore (Ryan Lewis? Never heard of him), Post Malone, Kid Rock, the Insane Clown Posse, Lil Peep (due to Dead Artists Are Better), Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), The Kid Laroi and Iggy Azalea, the latter being the only white female rapper. Aesop Rock, Action Bronson, El-P, 3rd Bass (aside from DJ Richie Rich, who was black), Asher Roth, Yung Lean, Yelawolf, Jedi Mind Tricks (aside from Jus Allah, who is black), 7L & Esoteric (who nowadays are far more likely to be known as part of Czarface), Jelly Roll, Ghostemane, $uicideboy$, Stitches, Mac Miller, RiFF RAFF, Cage, Necro (maybe also Ill Bill, his brother, but it's unlikely), R.A. the Rugged Man, Slaine, Kno, Mickey Avalon, Bubba Sparxxx and G-Eazy might get a weak token mention, and there may also be a very rare Eyedea mention that is almost entirely due to Dead Artists Are Better (and if they do, they'll probably also mention his friend/protege Sadistik as well). Slug of Atmosphere (who is sometimes mistakenly called "Atmosphere") is often lumped together in this category, though he's actually of mixed ancestry. The others remain virtually unheard of.
    • This is a cause of much annoyance for many other white rappers. If you're a white male aspiring to be a rapper, expect to get compared to Eminem a lot (even if it's as a compliment); or if you're looking for an insult, Vanilla Ice. If you're a white female aspiring to be a rapper however... well, expect to get called out as an "Iggy Azalea knockoff". If you're a white person in general aspiring to be a rapper, well, expect to be labeled as Pretty Fly for a White Guy a lot.
  • Hispanic rappers? Cypress Hill (aside from DJ Muggs, who is white), Cardi B and Fat Joe will always come to mind first.
  • Asian-American rappers? The Far East Movement are likely to come up first before any others, mostly if one was to call them a One-Hit Wonder for "Like a G6". Saweetie may also get a mention, as her mother is Filipina Chinese, and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park may get a mention as well. Fresh Kid Ice of 2 Live Crew and apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas (though his father was black) might get mentions from time to time, along with a extremely rare mention of MC Jin. Danny Brown may get a rare mention less because he's obscure and more because the average listener isn't aware that he's part-Filipino.
    • For rappers of Asian ancestry in general, the only one aside from the Far East Movement and Saweetie that'll get brought up is M.I.A., but she's usually remembered as a One-Hit Wonder for "Paper Planes".
  • Green Day only ever released two albums: Dookie and American Idiot. The only songs they ever made are "Basket Case", "When I Come Around", "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (which is from Nimrod, for bonus points), "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "Wake Me Up When September Ends", and "21 Guns" (from 21st Century Breakdown!). Considering they were one of the biggest rock bands in both the 90s and 00s, it's a bit frustrating that these are the only songs people refer to.
    • It only gets worse when we're talking about Millennials, many of whom think American Idiot was their first album. Outside of the album's singles, the only other song of theirs widely known to the new generation is "Good Riddance." Don't expect them to realize it predates Idiot, though.
  • MC Hammer is known for his breakthrough hit "U Can't Touch This" and maybe "2 Legit 2 Quit", and absolutely nothing else. In his heyday, he was not even close to being considered a one-hit wonder, and believe it or not "U Can't Touch This" was actually the lowest charting song of his many Top 10 hits.
  • Destiny's Child is better known for being Beyoncé's former group than Beyoncé is as an ex-Destiny's Child member.
    • The Jackson 5 is a near-identical situation. They wouldn't have nearly the same legacy they do today had Michael not become huge on his own.
  • Hip-Hop singers? Due to Public Medium Ignorance, most people nowadays think it's "just another name for rap". But if the existence of singers in hip-hop is acknowledged, they'll likely name the late Nate Dogg as an example.
  • Survivor, much like MC Hammer, is known for "Eye of the Tiger", "Burning Heart", and nothing else. In their heyday, they were one of the biggest arena rock bands on the planet, and were never thought of as a two-hit wonder.
  • The Clash was one of the pioneering Punk Rock bands, and one of the few that actually got critical respect due to their willingness to experiment with other genres. If you asked most people however, the only songs they'll likely be able to name (if they can name any at all) are "I Fought the Law", "London Calling", "Train in Vain", "Should I Stay or Should I Go?", and "Rock the Casbah".
  • '90s R&B singers? Mariah Carey is usually the first to come up. Other names you might hear are Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, TLC, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, and Aaliyah, along with rare mentions of SWV and En Vogue. Brits may also name Gabrielle and Des'ree as well.
  • Female rock artists and female-fronted rock bands? Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, The Go-Go's, Alanis Morissette, Jefferson Airplane, The Runaways (and definitely Joan Jett and Lita Ford either way), No Doubt, Avril Lavigne, Blondie, Pretenders, Hole, Evanescence, Garbage, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bonnie Raitt and Paramore. The Plasmatics, Fanny, Patti Smith, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, The Slits, Cocteau Twins, Babes in Toyland, Alabama Shakes, L7, Skunk Anansie, Jinjer, Otep, Walls of Jericho, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, Within Temptation, New Year's Day, Nightwish, Epica, Kittie, Butcher Babies, Lacuna Coil, Spiritbox, and In This Moment might get a mention. Metal fans are also likely to mention Doro (and probably also Warlock), Arch Enemy, The Agonist, Holy Moses, Delain, The Gathering, Anathema, Unleash the Archers, Theatre of Tragedy, and Battle Beast, and and there may also be rare mentions of Girlschool, Abnormality, Cerebral Bore (though Simone Pluijmers has not been a member for some time), Fuck the Facts, Nervosa, Avatarium, Oceans of Slumber, Leaves' Eyes, Arkona, Venom Prison, and Entheos; Code Orange may also get a mention despite Reba Meyers not serving as a figurehead (though she is an integral member). Finally, Rickie Lee Jones may get an extremely rare mention.
    • Transwomen in rock? Mina Caputo and Laura Jane Grace. Jayne County may also receive a mention, and metal fans may also name Marissa Martinez or Melissa Moore. Punks may also give Connie Sgarbossa an extremely rare mention.
    • This has actually become a bit problematic, as any poppy female-fronted band had inevitably been compared to Paramore. Marmozets, for example, is often tagged with this despite having nothing in common with them except the fact that they're fronted by a woman.
  • Black rock and punk musicians? Jimi Hendrix is usually the first that comes to mind. Others who might get mentioned are Clarence Clemons of The E Street Band, Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson of The Allman Brothers Band, Carter Beauford, Boyd Tinsley, Rashawn Ross, and the late LeRoi Moore of the Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave (though his mother was white), William DuVall of Alice in Chains (though, expect him to be referred to as "that black guy who replaced Layne Staley after he died"), Clive "Benji" Webbe of Dub War and Skindred, Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, Jaleel Bunton, and the late Gerard Smith of TV on the Radio, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, Tony MacAlpine, Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, Craig "DJ Homicide" Bullock of Sugar Ray (who breaks the norm in that he was their turntablist, given the band's history with the Nu Metal genre), the members of Bad Brains, and the members of Living Colour (or, at the very least, Vernon Reid). Doug Pinnick of King's X, Josh Travis of Emmure, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, and Glass Cloud, Myke Terry of Volumes, Aaron Heard of Jesus Piece and Nothing, Jason Butler and Stephen Harrison of Fever 333, Skin and Cass of Skunk Anansie, Diamond Rowe of Tetrarch, De'Mar Hamilton of Plain White T's, Traa Daniels of P.O.D., and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes might get a weak mention. At least one or two members of Fishbone may get a mention, likely Angelo Moore and probably Rocky George as well (primarily due to his involvement with Suicidal Tendencies). Darryl Jones may get a mention, mainly for having been The Rolling Stones' session and backing band bassist since Bill Wyman's departure. Prince should really be on the list, but he's usually considered rap/R&B, and only "rock" during the Purple Rain era; plus, his mother was white. Michael Jackson could also be counted if you focused on "Beat It" and a handful of others. Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish might've gotten a mention as well, but lately he's known more for his fruitful Country Music career in The New '10s. Ice-T might get a mention due to Body Count. Lastly, while Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Slash of Guns N' Roses, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, and Tommy "Vext" Cummings of Bad Wolves are well-known figures, it is highly unlikely that they will be mentioned despite all four being mixed-race.
    • Black metal musicians? Howard Jones of Light the Torch, Killswitch Engage, and Blood Has Been Shed, Terrance Hobbs and Mike Smith of Suffocation, Byron Davis of God Forbid (probably at least Doc Coyle as well due to Bad Wolves, maybe also Dallas Coyle or Corey Pierce), Derrick Green of Sepultura, Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, Adam Warren of Oceano, and Kyle Anderson of Brand of Sacrifice. Katon W. de Pena of Hirax, Caller of the Storms of Blasphemy, Malcolm Pugh and Stevie Boiser of Inferi, Mendel bij de Leij of Aborted, Cammie Gilbert of Oceans of Slumber, Beelzeebubth of Mystifier, Trey Pemberton of Creeping Death, Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man, Lwandile Prusent of Vulvodynia, and Dustin Mitchell of Filth may get mentions, depending on who you ask. At least one member of Suicidal Tendencies will probably also be mentioned, most likely Dean Pleasants or Rocky George, possibly also Stephen Bruner due to his later fame as Thundercat. Mike Alexander of Evile may also get a rare mention due to Dead Artists Are Better.
  • The only song Wiz Khalifa made is "See You Again". It is also the only song from the soundtrack of Furious 7 (or for that matter, the Fast and Furious soundtrack as a whole), despite there being a wide variety of other songs.
  • Mark Ronson only made one song: "Uptown Funk!", and it will always be attributed to Bruno Mars. His second biggest selling songnote  is “Valerie”, which was apparently an Amy Winehouse song - the Zutons are never credited for it, despite it being their song.
  • There is only one jazz fusion group, and that's Weather Report (if you're lucky, you may get a reference to Brand X, but often it'll have less to do with their music and more to do with them having Phil Collins as a member — and that's if anyone remembers that Collins was even in a jazz fusion group at one time). Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, and certain members of Weather Report are the only solo acts in this genre, as well. Every once in a rare while, someone will remember that McLaughlin helmed Mahavishnu Orchestra and will give them a mention as well, but they definitely won't know any of the other personnel, let alone mention Shakti as well.
  • Phil Collins, as far as many people are concerned, only ever made soft rock and '80s pop (with or without Genesis). It's often forgotten that Genesis actually took a few albums to become a pop band after Collins took the lead singer helm from Peter Gabriel, or that the first album he ever performed on (Ark 2 by Flaming Youth, which was an Acclaimed Flop) was more straightforward rock, or that he was a member of Brand X, who were moderately successful among the jazz fusion crowd, and remain one of the biggest names in the genre even after disbanding (many people often discuss how successful Collins was in Genesis and in his solo career, but they often leave out Brand X). In addition, while most of his songs are about romantic relationships (in both positive and negative contexts), not a lot of people remember that he's written, or helped in writing, a good number of songs that have nothing to do with the subject; not only has he written introspective songs, such as "Take Me Home", but he's also written some instrumentals (not just for Genesis and Brand X, but for his solo career as well).
  • The only eurobeat songs most people will be familiar with are those that have been featured in the anime and video game adaptations of Initial D.
  • Vocaloid songs? As far as everyone is concerned, the only Vocaloid is Hatsune Miku, or at least the "big five" Crypton-produced Vocaloids (Miku, KAITO, MEIKO, Kagamine Rin and Lennote , Megurine Luka). Even though they're not the first Vocaloids in existence nor the most recent, they're still the five Vocaloids that comes to most people's minds first when the brand is brought up.
  • To most people, Led Zeppelin have two songs ("Whole Lotta Love" and "Stairway to Heaven"), and an Epic Riff that everyone knows but nobody could tell you what it's from ("Kashmir").
  • Christmas music can be prone to this. Unless they're over 60 years old, can anyone name a song by Brenda Lee besides "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", by the Ronettes besides "Sleigh Ride" (or "Be My Baby", which isn't even a Christmas song), by Bobby Helms besides "Jingle Bell Rock", by Gene Autry besides "Here Comes Santa Claus" or "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", by Burl Ives besides "A Holly Jolly Christmas", by Perry Como besides "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", by Vaughn Monroe besides "Let It Snow", by Jose Feliciano besides "Feliz Navidad", or by Andy Williams besides "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", even though none of those artists was a One-Hit Wonder in their heyday?
  • The Eurovision Song Contest has somehow lasted since 1956, despite the only acts appearing on it being ABBA, Céline Dion and Cliff Richard (who didn't even win, despite competing twice).
  • Only Moog ever made synthesisers — their name is synonymous with "synth". Nobody has ever heard of the Teleharmonium (1895!), the Buchlanote , EMS, Korg etc.
  • All 1960s soul music came from one label: Motown. Stax and Vee-Jay might get a mention every now and again.
  • A common response people have when asked what they like is that they "like all music except rap and country" or "all music except classical". This suggests that they are either have particular tastes - or more likely they are just unaware of how diverse music is because they only listen to music on the radio.
  • All Pop Punk ever recorded came from four bands: Green Day, blink-182, Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy. Sum 41 might get a mention from time to time.
  • Oasis only recorded one album: (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. They only ever recorded three songs: "Wonderwall", "Champagne Supernova" and "Don't Look Back in Anger".
  • The Spice Girls only recorded one song: "Wannabe". "Say You'll Be There" and "2 Become 1" might get a mention from time to time.
  • The only song Night Ranger ever recorded was "Sister Christian".
  • All modern children's music was recorded by The Wiggles.
  • Heartland rock artists? Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Cougar Mellencamp are the only ones who get brought up. Bruce Hornsby might get a mention, but he's best known outside of the heartland rock fandom for the fact that his sole #1 hit "The Way It Is" was sampled in Tupac Shakur's "Changes".
  • As far as the general public and snarky online reviewers are concerned, Post-Grunge bands only ever made AC ballads (with or without vaguely Christian lyrics). It's often forgotten that many Post-Grunge bands did both harder-edged rock songs and the obligatory ballads, or that quite a few Post-Grunge bands were primarily known among rock audiences for their rock songs (e.g. Three Days Grace's "Animal I Have Become"). As for Post-Grunge in general? The only bands in the genre the average person can name are Nickelback, Creed and 3 Doors Down, and whenever the former two come up it's usually as a Take That! to either one of them.
  • The only artists played on adult-alternative radio are John Mayer and Norah Jones.
  • Scott Joplin is synonymous with ragtime music, to the point that average listeners will not have even heard of any other ragtime composers. What's more, Joplin's own compositional output is reduced to just a handful of hits such as "The Entertainer", "Maple Leaf Rag", and occasionally "The Easy Winners." A bit of short shrift for a genre that was wildly popular for over two decades and had a significant influence on later Jazz and Classical Music compositions.
  • Third Eye Blind's only songs are "Semi-Charmed Life", "Jumper", "How's It Going To Be" and "Never Let You Go".
  • The only songs Coolio ever recorded were "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage" (though the former gets brought up more often than the latter). In his heyday, he had a third Top 5 hit and three more songs that reached the Top 40, was huge in the hip-hop community and was generally not even close to being considered a one/two-hit wonder.
  • Arlo Guthrie's only songs are "Alice's Restaurant" and "City of New Orleans" (the latter of which was actually a cover).
  • These days, Bobby Brown is seemingly only known for "Every Little Step", "My Prerogative", and nothing else. In his heyday he had nine Top 10 hits and wasn't even close to being considered a two-hit wonder.
  • During the genre's heyday, the only emo bands mainstream audiences could name were My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy.
  • Jimmy Eat World's only song is "The Middle".
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     World Music 
World Music: To the general public traditional folklore music that keeps a very identifiable exotic flavor will often be brought in association with a specific country. Therefore, despite the fact that other countries have also their own local jazz, rock or pop bands, it will be the artists who perform traditional music (immediately recognizable as authentic to that country) or whatever big artist(s) that hails from that country that will get the most recognition. There is also a tendency to see African, Latin American, Asian and Eastern European music as World Music, but not Western music.

  • Africa: Fela Kuti. Miriam Makeba, if you want a female one.
    • All African music is performed on djembé drums, while black indigenous people do tribal dances. Also typical is chanting in canon, often set to images of a sunrise. More modern African music is Afrobeat.
  • Argentine: Ástor Piazzolla.
    • All Argentine music is tango.
  • Australia: Didgeridoo music.
    • Australian rock? AC/DC, Inxs, Men at Work, Midnight Oil, Little River Band, Parkway Drive, and Tame Impala (Crowded House are more associated with New Zealand).
    • Australian hip-hop? Iggy Azalea. Even though she completely skipped out on the Australian hip-hop scene for the American one. Diafrix or Bangs may get a rare mention.
    • Australian metal? Thy Art Is Murder, along with rare mentions of I Killed the Prom Queen, Psycroptic, Aversions Crown, and Destroyer 666.
    • Australian boy bands? 5 Seconds of Summer. Maybe Human Nature if you're lucky, but they did not gain recognition in the US until they did a few residencies in Las Vegas, wherein they performed doo-wop and Motown covers.
    • Australian country? Keith Urban (even though he was born in New Zealand, and did not have hits until after he moved to the US).
    • Australian pop? Olivia Newton-John (even though she was born in England, and did not have hits until she moved back to her birth country), Kylie Minogue and Savage Garden.
    • Australian Christian music? Hillsong. Some older fans of the Newsboys may be able to remember that the group originally formed in Queensland (though they did not become successful until they moved to the US).
  • Austria: Waltz music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Falco.
  • Bali: Gamelan music.
  • Belgium: Jacques Brel.
  • Barbados: Rihanna.
  • Brazil: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, João Gilberto, Ary Barroso, Sergio Mendes, Milton Nascimento
    • Carmen Miranda (with her tutti frutti hat) was born in Portugal, but raised in Brazil and closely associated with the country.
    • Samba
    • Tropicalista music.
    • Forro.
    • Brazilian metal? Sepultura and Angra. Krisiun may get an extremely rare mention.
  • Even British music probably counted as "world" music for many people prior to the 1960s, when British pop singers were almost totally unknown outside the British Empire (or Commonwealth). Probably the only people who remember Matt Monro (1950s singer) are those who happen to know that he sang the theme to the second James Bond movie, From Russia with Love.
  • Canada: Bryan Adams, Rush and Men Without Hats in the '80s, "Informer", Alanis Morissette, Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan and Shania Twain in the '90s, Nickelback, Sum 41, Three Days Grace, Avril Lavigne and Simple Plan in the '00s, and Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd in the '10s (as well as Arcade Fire, Deadmau5, Carly Rae Jepsen and "Rude" in the very early half of the '10s — though Deadmau5 is still a major figure in the EDM scene and Arcade Fire and Jepsen maintain cult followings)
  • The Caribbean: Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley.
    • Calypso, soca, reggae, ska and dancehall seem to be the only genres popular culture knows from that region.
  • China: All Chinese music will be performed on an erhu.
  • Colombia: Shakira.
  • Cuba: Pérez Prado, The Buena Vista Social Club, Celia Cruz, Benny Moré.
  • Denmark:
    • Danish metal? Volbeat, King Diamond and Mercyful Fate.
    • Danish Eurodance acts? Aqua (though frontwoman Lene Nystrøm hails from Norway). Cartoons may get a rare mention.
    • Danish rock? Cryoshell. Michael Learns to Rock and Dizzy Mizz Lizzy may get rare mentions.
    • Danish pop? . Alphabeat and Junior Senior may get rare mentions. Lukas Graham may also get a mention, but only because of "7 Years" and/or "Mama Said".
  • Egypt: Umm Kulthum.
  • England: Pompous bombastic classical music or the British Rock Star stereotype.
  • Estonia: Winny Puhh (best known for their memetic performance in the 2013 edition of Eesti Laul, the Estonian Eurovision Song Contest selection).
  • France: Édith Piaf or Daft Punk. Or maybe David Guetta
    • All French rock songs are performed by Johnny Hallyday.
    • French metal? Gojira.
    • French hip-hop? MC Solaar.
    • All French music will be played on an accordion. Or can-can dancing in the Moulin Rouge. Or Chanson.
  • Finland:
  • Germany:
  • Greece: All music from there is the Sirtaki, which isn't even a traditional dance to begin with.
  • Hong Kong: Cantopop.
  • Iceland: Björk, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men. Skálmöld may get an occasional mention, as well as the very occasional mention of Quarashi.
  • Ireland: Fiddle music, Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance. Maybe Enya if you're lucky, or Westlife, Boyzone and B*Witched if you grew up in the UK in the 90s.
    • Ireland has only ever produced just three rock bands: U2, The Cranberries and Thin Lizzy (though U2 are much more likely to get a mention than the other two — the Cranberries are mostly remembered by Americans for "Zombie", "Linger", and "Dreams", and Thin Lizzy usually only get a mention because of "The Boys Are Back in Town"). My Bloody Valentine, Horslips, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Boomtown Rats (with the exception of Bob Geldof) and Ash apparently don't exist. (Though The Corrs sometimes show up on the occasional rom-com soundtrack alongside the Cranberries, maybe.) Snow Patrol might get a mention, but only because of "Chasing Cars".
  • India: Ravi Shankar.
    • All Indian music is played on a snakecharmer's flute, tablas or a sitar. Or lifted from a Bollywood musical.
    • Indian metal? Demonic Resurrection.
  • Israel: Klezmer music.
    • Israeli metal? Melechesh.
  • Italy: Opera.
  • Jamaica: Reggae, ska, and dancehall.
  • Japan: Gong and/or koto music. Something more modern? J-Pop, usually the kind that was used as a Theme Song to an anime (all J music will be referred to as J-Pop, regardless of the actual genre).
  • Mexico: Beyond the US and Central America, all Mexican music will be labelled "mariachi" regardless of its actual style.
  • Middle East: No image of the Middle East is complete without a scene where a muezzin is calling/chanting the ritual morning prayer. All Arabic music is mysterious and mesmerizing, lasting one to three hours in length. Adding to the Oriental atmosphere are lutes, an oboe, tambourines, rhythmic percussion and sometimes a singer who sounds hypnotized himself.
  • Moldova: SunStroke Project.
  • The Netherlands:
    • Dutch metal? Pestilence.
    • Dutch Eurodance? Vengaboys.
  • New Zealand: Lorde and Flight of the Conchords (Keith Urban is more associated with Australia).
    • New Zealand metal? Shihad (and usually only because of the fact they briefly changed their name to "Pacifier" after the 9/11 attacks because their name was a mispelling of "jihad") and Alien Weaponry.
    • New Zealand rock? Crowded House (even though they were formed in Australia (Neil and Tim Finn were born in New Zealand), and a number of their members throughout their history have been Australian or American). Split Enz, which the Finn brothers were also part of, may get an occasional mention.
  • Norway: Edvard Grieg
    • Norwegian pop: a-ha (and the only Norwegian pop song to exist is their Signature Song "Take On Me").
    • Norwegian metal: The only genre of metal Norwegian metal bands perform is Black Metal.
  • North Pole: Tuvan throat singing.
  • Pakistan: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
  • Portugal: Fado music.
  • Poland: Romani music and disco polo.
  • Russia: That Russian Squat Dance and male choirs with bassoon voices.
  • Scotland: Bagpipe music.
    • Scottish rock bands? The Proclaimers are the only one that'll get mentioned, and only because of one song. Cocteau Twins (unless you're a Dream Pop fan or a hippie), the Bay City Rollers (outside of "Saturday Night"), The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pilot (outside of "Magic"), Bis, and Belle and Sebastian apparently don't exist.
    • Scottish metal bands? Alestorm are the only one to exist, with them also being the only pirate metal band in existence.
  • South Africa: Seether and Die Antwoord. Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg might get a mention at times.
  • South Korea: Oppan Gangnam Style! And more recently, BTS. If you're lucky, they'll acknowledge the existence of K-Pop, but they won't know that there are Korean artists that perform music that isn't K-Pop.
  • Spain: Flamenco music.
    • Spanish pop music is Julio and Enrique Iglesias.
    • Spanish metal: Mägo de Oz.
  • Sweden:
  • Taiwan: Mandopop.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Nicki Minaj, calypso and soca. Even then, the only artists who performed the latter two genres that people outside of Trinidad and Tobago can name are Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener, who were both massively successful in the Caribbean and its diaspora for many years.
  • United States: The country produced many internationally popular genres, but most of the world associates it solely with country, hip-hop and jazz.
  • Wales: Their musical output is solely limited to male vocal choirs, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Bonnie Tyler (the latter limited to just "Total Eclipse of the Heart"). Acts like Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers, Shakin Stevens (except at Christmas), Stereophonics and Super Furry Animals are never remembered outside the UK or Wales, and if Lostprophets are remembered, it's only because of the lead singer's child sex abuse prosecution.

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