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The London Guardian song chart

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Song chart London Guardian

The Guardian newspaper in London published "A history of modern music" in June 2011. They decided to list 100 songs for each of seven different genres.

Count of songs against years

When the 100 songs in each of the seven music styles are plotted against the years the result looks like the picture above. Looking in detail this plot is a bit odd, first there is a peak at 1969 (there are a silly number of the selected songs from Woodstock that year) and then there is a distinct bump starting in 1978 to the present day. If we had to guess we would suggest that this selection was made by someone born in 1970 (whose parents enjoyed Woodstock). The numbers also seem to indicate that all seven selected styles have been producing good songs over the period 2000-2010.

Success of songs against years

If instead of plotting the count of songs we calculate the average score that they got we obtain a somewhat more easy to read result. This suggests that jazz and folk music actually had little impact after 1965, That hip-hop actually had little impact until 1988 (rather than being a significant force from 1978). Also that pop music continues to be the major genre

This second plot gives a much better feel of genres, how they arrive, peak and decline. The years 1900 to 1950 are a bit sparse, perhaps if we added say film-musicals, big-band and easy listening then we'd have a more complete picture. But defining styles of music is always a loser's game, no two people can agree.

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