Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Best Years Of Rock

What was the best time for rock music?

Well, I’m sure that there’s a hundred (or more) answers, depending on how you define “best”.  I’d tend to say the span from the late 60’s through the early 70’s,..  But, speaking as an engineer, what’s a more “technical” answer?

Let’s look at the Rolling Stone list of 500 greatest albums.  The original, 2003, edition.  Now look at a sliding window of time, and count the number of recognized albums.....  I chose a 7 year window, because that gives a pretty clear answer:

The blue dots are the number of albums from each year.  The green line is the 7 year average, looking at the 7 years up to the noted year.

You can see a very dramatic peak in 1973.  In other words, the 7 year window from 1967 through 1973.  It's equally clear if you look at the individual years.  Each year from 1967 through 1973 is solidly above all of the other years:

 This time window provided 189 of the Top 500 albums, 37.8% of the list. I won't list all of them in this post (but look for a post per year over the next few weeks).  Meanwhile, here's the top ranked album for each of the years:

  • 1967  -  Beatles – Sargent Pepper’s …    - #1
  • 1968  -  Beatles – White Album     - #10
  • 1969  -  Beatles – Abbey Road    - - #14
  • 1970  -  John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band    -  # 23
  • 1971  -  Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On    - #6
  • 1972  -  Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street    - #7
  • 1973  -  Stevie Wonder – Innervisions     - #24

 So, what do YOU say?  What time frame to you think was the best?  And what's your criteria?

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