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An evergreen or long-running piece of music is a popular piece of music that was published several years or even decades ago and which is still often played by the media and gladly heard by the listeners. It can be pieces from pop music , rock music , hits , folk music , chansons , rap , jazz , soul , hip-hop , classical music or even film music (more rarely also techno or house ). Another name for such a piece of music is oldie (derived from the English old for old ).

Word origin

An evergreen plant is called evergreen in English . In a figurative sense, a person or thing that has lasting freshness, success or popularity is also called evergreen . In the financial sector , an evergreen is a contract that is automatically renewed after a period has expired, unless one of the parties terminates the contract. Thus the term evergreen is broader in English than in German.


Most of the pieces, especially in pop music, are fast-moving consumer goods that are forgotten by the audience after a more or less short stay in the hit parade . However, some songs retain their popularity for decades, are often covered and outlast changing musical tastes. These are often timelessly attractive pieces of music that are often airplayed , especially on radio and television . These are known as evergreens. The German music industry regularly uses the term when putting together sound carriers ( compilations ) that were published some time ago and that enjoy a high degree of popularity.


For Dietrich Schulz-Köhn , evergreens have to meet three criteria, namely to last for many years, have simplicity in melody , harmony and rhythm and be “on everyone's lips”. Long-term survival is only guaranteed by the memory of the music listener, which distinguishes the evergreens from other, no longer remembered titles. As a rule, titles with a simple structure and text with a catchy refrain can be remembered .

The demarcation to the old folk song (e.g. “ Am Brunnen vor dem Tore ”) is not clear, especially when it comes to very old pieces (e.g. “ Lili Marleen ”) or “Gassenhauer” and “ catchy tunes ” ”Of later years (e.g.“ Marble, stone and iron breaks ”), but the term is applied more to English-language songs. According to Brockhaus "'Lennon / McCartney' [...] wrote one evergreen after the other." Evergreens are often played in different versions. The distinction from catchy tunes is not always easy, but not every catchy tune is automatically an evergreen and vice versa.


  • Hermann Fischer: Folksong, Schlager, Evergreen. Studies on lively singing based on studies in the Reutlingen district . Tübingen Association for Folklore, Tübingen 1965.

Web links

Wiktionary: Evergreen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. limited preview in the Google book search
  2. ^ Bibliographisches Institut GmbH (Dudenverlag): Entry on Oldie in Duden.de
  3. ^ Oxford University Press: Entry on oldie in OxfordDictionaries.com
  4. a b Oxford University Press: entry on evergreen in OxfordDictionaries.com
  5. Campbell R. Harvey; Farlex, Inc .: Management Resources to Evergreen in Financial dictionary of TheFreeDictionary.com
  6. German Evergreens, June 2006; Harald Banter Evergreens, December 2007, Kölsche Evergreens, 1973
  7. I Got Rhythm: 40 Jazz Evergreens and Their History , 1990, p. 7 f.
  8. The Beatles - for Sir Paul McCartney's 65th birthday  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as broken. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: Brockhaus aktuell, 2007.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.brockhaus.de  
  9. Peter Wicke / Wieland Ziegenrücker, Handbook of Popular Music , 2004, EM 8363-01.