Last month Rolling Stone published a revised list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The last version of the list was published in 2004 and, while the update brings the count of 21st century songs from 3 to 28, there have not been too many significant changes. The top ten songs remain the same.
|1||Like a Rolling Stone||Bob Dylan|
|2||(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction||The Rolling Stones|
|4||What’s Going On||Marvin Gaye|
|6||Good Vibrations||The Beach Boys|
|7||Johnny B. Goode||Chuck Berry|
|8||Hey Jude||The Beatles|
|9||Smells Like Teen Spirit||Nirvana|
|10||What’d I Say||Ray Charles|
Rolling Stone Top 10 Songs
The Beatles still have more tracks in the list than any other band.
|2||The Rolling Stones||14|
Rolling Stone Top 5 Artists
But what interests me most is what this list has to say about Rolling Stone, its readers and the compilers of the list. A while ago I wrote a post about Triple J’s Hottest 100 of All Time where I noted that the Triple J’s list was heavily skewed to the 1990s. This chart shows the distribution by decade.
So how does the Rolling Stone list compare? Here is its distribution.
The difference between the two should be clear, but just to labour the point, here are the two distributions side by side (and converted to percentages since the Rolling Stone list has five times as many songs in it).
Rolling Stone vs Triple J by Decade
I suppose it should come as no surprise that the baby-boomers love their 60s and 70s music and the Gen-Ys love their 90s music. But, having spent my formative music-listening years in the 80s, I cannot help but feel that decade is under-represented by both charts. Or is that an accurate reflection of the quality of music in the 80s?
And another question: how likely is it that this post will end up in the headlines of Bubblepedia? Fortunately, not very.
Data: the list was obtained from here, a reference obtained from the Wikipedia entry. I fixed some typos, added years and loaded the data into a Google docs spreadsheet. Let me know if you see any remaining errors.