What’s the O-Negative of Music?

by | Sep 19, 2022

Fleetwood Mac

O-negative blood is considered the “universal blood type” because O-negative blood can be safely transfused into a person with any other blood type.

I’m a big fan of music (here’s my IFOD on the 100 Greatest Alternative Bands) and for about a decade I’ve been on a quest for a band/musician who is universally liked — an O-negative of music if you will.

For years I thought that I had found the answer in Fleetwood Mac. Their album Rumors is the 8th best-selling album of all time. Their combination of pop and rock is easy on the ears and catchy. I asked dozens of people over multiple years if they liked Fleetwood Mac and they all said yes. I thought I had my answer. Then I was at a party a few years ago and when “Go Your Own Way” came on the guy I was talking to said “argh, I hate Fleetwood Mac.” Bummer. Back to the drawing board.

Since then, I’ve surveyed people about all sorts of bands. The Eagles? Nope, a surprisingly high proportion of people said they don’t like the Eagles. How about Michael Jackson? No, tons of people don’t like the King of Pop. Lady Gaga? She’s an amazing talent and an even better person, but nope, I’ve found people who can’t stand her music.

Is there such a band/musician that everyone (or nearly everyone) likes? Maybe there is no O-negative of music. Maybe tastes in music vary too much for there to be a universally liked musician. (Here’s an IFOD on Why Do We Like the Music We Do?) But I still hold out hope. Maybe it’s Tom Petty? Or Dua Lipa? Or Daft Punk? The Weeknd?

If you have an idea about what band/musician might be the O-negative of music please nominate them in the comments. I may send out a survey monkey at some point with the nominees to see if we can get closer!


  1. Very interesting endeavor.

    Personal opinion – you’d have to more fully define “liking” a band. Some artists I like their early music, but not later, and others their more recent albums vs. debut. Some bands release new music that you could easily identify as part of their repretoire right away, whereas others span genres and styles by album or song. Fascinating topic, and definitely an interesting conversation!

    That said…isn’t “Friends In Low Places” the most popular karaoke song…so Garth Brooks? (Although you’ll immediately find people who “don’t like country”).

  2. I’ve yet to meet anyone who wasn’t at least lukewarm about the Beatles. So perhaps they are the ticket.

  3. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. You don’t have to like classical music to love this universally recognized piece of music.

  4. Some good ideas from the peanut gallery. Personally, I would go with the Beatles as I can’t find a reason someone wouldn’t like them. But that’s just me.
    I didn’t see any votes for Elvis. Back in the 70’s Elvis seemed to be loved by all ages and crossed over into all types of music (country, rock, blues, gospel, etc. )

    • Dave I’m surprised you didn’t try to make a case for the Nuge!

  5. No, wait. I un-nominate The Alan Parsons Project. Instead, I nominate David Byrne. Particularly with the Talking Heads.

  6. I nominate the Alan Parsons Project. Eye in the Sky. Need I say more?

    Also Paul Simon.

  7. ABBA

  8. Hands down – Taylor Swift. Folks may not like her personality or the way she has marketed herself, but everybody likes her music.

  9. People who claim not to like the Beatles are just being contrarian, and in many cases they are really just saying the band is overrated (not the same as not liking them). So, the Beatles.

  10. People who claim not to like the Beatles are just being contrarian, and in many cases they are really just saying the band is overrated (not the same as not liking them).

  11. The name of the band is Genesis you big dummy.

  12. First, is music something humans invented or did we discover it? I believe the latter, and so I think sounds of nature tend to be the o-negative of music… like the sound of rain on a tin roof or the sound of waves crashing into the beach. I hope it doesn’t sound like a lame answer, but if Mother Nature is the OG of music then I think it is fair to give her credit for the most ubiquitously liked “songs”.

  13. Wilco is by no means universally liked or even that well known. But their audience at a show spans ages 8 to 80, all there on their own, all fans of different eras of the band’s long catalog. Not many artists have done that; most legacy act’s audience ages with them. On the other end of the spectrum, Billie Eilish has as many fans my mother’s age (85) and my age (62) and my daughter’s age (29) as she does fans her own age and younger (she’s just past being a teenager). There are few acts that can span generations like Billie. Adele did this at one time, but I know first hand 11 year olds don’t listen to Adele. Lizzo might also be in contention.

  14. Prince. No question. Everyone likes Prince.

  15. itmightbe easier to first identify these unicorns within a given genre…..for example, in country you could 100% be sure that George Strait is the one. In 80’s rock, EVERYONE likes Def Leppard. In Southern Rock, for sure 38 Special or Lynrd Skynrd.

  16. Air Supply?

    No, seriously it has to be the Beatles …

  17. who doesn’t like Van Morrison?

  18. I believe that there isn’t a universally loved or liked music or musical group. Just consider that an individual s musical tastes can change. One thing to remember is that many people are not exposed to different genres of music.
    I love discovering new music, and revisiting familiar music from a new perspective.
    People rarely if ever agree universally.

  19. There was this band called The Beatles a lot of people seemed to like their music.

    Maybe the Supremes or Temptations but I am showing my age.

    • I’ve heard of the Beatles.

  20. The Beatles

  21. Who doesn’t like Adele?

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