I'll add something to it from a slightly different prespective... Not from the generic "Hello World" program, but how to actually get that program typed in and running in the first place.
The beauty of those early micros in 1970's and 80's (for me) was their instantability (not a word, but hey).. Before that (and actually when I went to uny in the early 80's) there was punched card, coding forms, (and rooms full of girls typing in your program), batch processing and so on. Things started to change and interactive computing gained pace - the line editor, screen editor and so on. But still BASIC was instant. To run a Pascal, C, FORTRAN, COBOL, etc. program required an editor, knowledge of the computer system - what commands to run it, compile it (or in my unys case how to submit it to the batch processor), etc.
Even today we need an editor or an IDE to write a simple program and it sort of dissapoints me to see some IDEs with the debugger already there and running. Or we use an editor, Emacs, Vi, pick your holy editor war, then the magic runes to compile and or run the program.
PHP has an interactive mode - does Python? (I'm not a Python programmer, so just don't know, but I imagine it's going to be hard to keep track of indentations ,etc. in an interacive manner)
So maybe we shouldn't be thinking of the language, but more thinking of the environement - and the entry level of that environment to the newbie computer user - as I'm sure they'll be very dissapointed after leaving their shiny iDroidToys to have to type on a computer keyboard!
That's where BASIC scored IMO - it was instant, the editor was, well basic but functional and the entry level low. I'm also sure that if people are really keen then it really won't matter what language they start on - they'll soon have a hankering for learning more and those that don't have any enthusiasm for programming are weeded out early on and left to learn cooking or some other useful skill... I went from BASIC to FORTRAN, then to something called IMP-77 which is an Algol derivative, but one that gave me a good intro to structrured programming. Pascal and C were trivial to pickup after that. (However I'm also a good cook, so something went wrong somewhere!)
I did notice that todays equivalent of people typing something like this:
10 PRINT "Gordon is COOL"
20 GOTO 10
into a shop computer/laptop/tablet on display seems to have been replaced by kids using them to bring up somewhat "intersting" web sites... My how we've progressed!
I still like BASIC - to the extent that I recently wrote my own interpreter just for fun. It was nice to think what I could add into it to make it a bit more "modern" and not just another 8-bit BASIC clone. I'm actually having a lot of fun just playing with it now too, although my 2-line PRINT/GOTO program is now 3 lines:
20 PRINT "Gordon is COOL"
which seems like a step backwards... Ho hum!