No genre of music is so elusive in definition than New Age. Unlike Rock and Roll, Country, Jazz or Hip Hop, the New Age sound can cover a wide spectrum of interpretation. Some have argued New Age is merely a marketing term invented by record company executives.
Still, New Age has a distinct sound that allows the hearer to relax, to become contemplative, and meditate in a peaceful atmosphere.
New Age hasn’t been around all that long. The first New Age album is regarded by many as Tony Scott’s Zen For Meditation, released in 1964. The album had regional success, mostly in California. More New Age recordings were released in the early 1970’s, such as Deuter’s D, and Aum, and Kay Gardner’s Mooncircles. The genre began to see wide growth and acceptance in the 1980’s with the success of the Windham Hill record label. Record stores began to add a New Age category to their shelves, New Age was found in subscription radio services such as Sirius and XM, and Billboard and the Grammys both added New Age categories.
The New Age sound can be simple or complex, with guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, and middle eastern or Oriental instruments. Early on, most New Age music was mostly instrumental, but the genre can often feature vocals.
There have been many successful acts and many successful songs associated with New Age music. Here’s our picks for the Top Ten Best New Age Songs Of All Time:
List of Top 10 Best New Age Songs of All Time until in 2017
10. INFINITE SHORE – Steve Roach
There are eight tracks on Steve Roach’s 1996 album The Magnificent Void, each of them a seeming journey into the nether regions. If ambient music is to your liking, this is the album for you. Infinite Shore has you hovering above the ocean’s waters at nighttime, staring into the darkness of space. The entire album is a modern ambient classic, with Infinite Shore its crown jewel.
9. SADENESS (Part 1) – Enigma
Enigma is the brainchild of musician/producer Michael Cretu, representing his collaborations with other artists. In 1990, the project released the album MCMXC a.D., and Sadeness(Part 1) became an international hit, topping the charts in a whopping 24 countries, and selling over five million copies worldwide. The seductive track with the driving beat questions the sexual desires of Marquis de Sade (hence the title.)
8. TRUTH OF TOUCH – Yanni
If Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll, surely Yanni is the King of New Age. Having performed live before over five million people, selling well in excess of 25 million albums, including multiple platinum and gold sellers, the Greek born Yiannis Chryssomallis is the master of keyboards. From the 2011 album of the same name, Truth Of Torch showcases Yanni’s return to pure instrumentation, with its tribal rhythms and smooth jazz.
7. TITLES – Vangelis
Chariots Of Fire spent an impressive 97 weeks on the U.S. Billboard charts, including four weeks at number one in 1981, selling over three million copies in one year. The hit single Titles is often mistaken as Chariots Of Fire. Vangelis’ discography remains impressive, with scores in such films as Mask, Blade Runner and 1492: Conquest Of Paradise. But no song has done better commercially than his seminal hit Titles.
6. VALENTINE – Jim Brickman
In 1997, keyboardist Jim Brickman released his album Picture This, which included the hit single Valentine, with lyrics sung by country music singer Martina McBride. The single helped drive the album in sales, with over one million units sold. Brickman, a huge success in the New Age genre, has collaborated with many successful artists from other genres, including Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Donny Osmond and Olivia Newton-John.
5. THINKING OF YOU – Kitaro
Widely regarded as one of the preeminent New Age musicians in the world, Japanese-born Kitaro is a Grammy and Golden Globe winner, a master of his electronic-keyboard music. Released in 1999, Kitaro’s seventh studio album, Thinking Of You, contained this single of the same name. This is one amongst the Top 10 Best New Age Songs of All Time until 2017.
4. SILENT NIGHT – MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER
It can be a challenge to classify Mannheim Steamroller. They may well deserve a category of their own. But they can hardly be omitted from any New Age list, and we decided to go festive with a selection, inserting the most beautiful arrangement of the yule tide classic we’ve ever heard. From its lilting keyboard composition to the soothing violin which virtually lulls you to dream notions of a wintry Christmas Eve, Silent Night is a pleasing introduction for any Mannheim Steamroller newbie.
3. NOVUS MAGNIFICAT – Constance Demby
At twelve years of age, Constance Demby was playing concertos on the piano. In her high school years, she formed a jazz trio, studied voice, and became proficient on a number of instruments, including the dulcimer, tamboura and synthesizer. But Demby’s talents were not restricted to music: she is also an accomplished painter and sculptor. A trailblazer in New Age music, Demby is the master of space music, and Novus Magnificat, the 1996 release which sold over 200,000 copies, represents Demby’s mastery of ambient music.
2. OXYGENE IV – Jean Michel Jarre
From his 1976 album Oxygene, Oxygene IV reached number four on the UK charts. The improbable album ultimately sold a staggering 12 million units for Jarre, who has sold an impressive 80 million records altogether. Critics subsequently hailed the album as being responsible for creating the synthesizer revolution of the 1970’s. Oxygene IV is but one track, albeit our favorite from the album whose track listings are in what Jarre calls “popcorn style,” Oxygene I, II, III, IV, and so forth. Quite an accomplishment for an artist who produced the album in his own makeshift home studio.
1. DOWN TO THE MOON – Andreas Vollenweider
Winning a Grammy for best New Age album in 1987, Down To The Moon contains twelve tracks of New Age gold, including the first single which shares the album’s title. The entire album is a synthesized, space odyssey masterpiece, featuring the multi-talented Vollenweider on harp. The Swiss-born Vollenweider’s fifth album release remains our favorite, and Down To The Moon is the cut which introduces us to his ambient genius
These above are the Top 10 Best New Age Songs of All Time until 2017. New Age music is in a category of its own. Its ambient sound is a natural aid for reflection, meditation or relaxation, as well as enabling certain religious or spiritual practices. With record sales in the hundreds of millions from a wide expanse of creative artists, New Age music has established itself as its own unique, and highly successful genre.