Friday, February 20, 2015

Strength in the Rock Era

As we continue to enter the numbers for our upcoming update of the major music special Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, we noticed something we wanted to share.

We have always been under the impression that the Rock Era stayed fairly strong until about 1988 or so, but as more years pass, the analysis gets easier to do.  It now appears that songs began declining towards the end of 1975.  The overall quality was helped considerably by the Bee Gees in 1978, but then fell off again considerably in about 1981 from the strength of the 60's and early 70's. 

Thus, due to the fact that songs post-1975 have not continued to sell, we can conclude without question that the period from 1964-1975 was when the Rock Era was at its peak.  The beginnings in 1955 led up to that, and for the most part, music has declined since 1975.

You will definitely notice this in the songs that qualify for The Top 500*.  Naturally, if a song is #1 with little competition, it isn't going to fare as well as a song that had lots of other great songs around it.  That is far from the only factor, but all things being equal, some after 1976 will have a tougher time comparing to the songs from the heyday of the Rock Era.  There have been other years of strength--1980, 1984 (an especially good year), and other years since then, and times of strength (such as late 1976 and 1977), but the time period from 1976-2015 is far weaker than that from 1964-1974.

Intuitively, this makes sense, since the last of the Baby Boomer musicians were forming bands and recording albums.  In other words, the more younger people you have in a time period, the more creativity is around, and the more likely it is that good music will be produced.

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