Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mind Your Dollars: Top 40 Songs

First posted 8/29/2020.

The Greatest Songs Ever Recorded appears to be a website focused on money management so your guess is as good as mine as to why they are spending time making best-song lists. While I usually refrain from nit-picking about the shortcomings of specific lists, this one begs for it.

With only 40 songs on this list, one would expect most or all of them to also show up on the DMDB’s list of the top 1% of all-time songs (just over 1000 songs). I’m not arguing that the DMDB list is completely definitive, but the very aim of the list is to aggregate as many best-of lists from as many sources as possible. That makes for a more representative list that weeds out the idiosyncrasies of individual sources in favor of those songs which regularly make appearances. With a list of only 40 songs, one would assume nearly all of these titles would surely make a top 1000+ list (those that do are marked by 1% after the song title). However, 10 out of these 40 songs (25%) don’t make the cut. That certainly doesn’t mean those 10 songs are unworthy of recognition, but for them to acquire the elite status of being recognized as one of the 40 best songs ever recorded?

There are other problems with the list, including lack of diversity in racial, gender, and genre representation. More on that after the list. Also, you can click here to see song lists from other publications.

1. Simon and Garfunkel “The Sounds of Silence” (1965) 1%
2. Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World” (1967) 1%
3. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971) 1%
4. The Beatles “Yesterday” (1965) 1%
5. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) 1%
6. Bob Dylan “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963) 1%
7. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966) 1%
8. The Beatles “A Day in the Life” (1967) 1%
9. The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (1966) 1%
10. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968) 1%

11. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964) 1%
12. Roy Orbison “Only the Lonely” (1960) 1%
13. The Beatles “Drive My Car” (1965)
14. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965) 1%
15. The Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” (1969)
16. The Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (1968) 1%
17. Bill Haley & the Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954) 1%
18. Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire” (1957) 1%
19. The Beatles “Nowhere Man” (1968)
20. The Beatles “Blackbird” (1968)

21. The Who “Baba O’Riley” (1971) 1%
22. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising” (1969) 1%
23. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967) 1%
24. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967) 1%
25. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968) 1%
26. The Rolling Stones “Paint It, Black” (1966) 1%
27. Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit” (1967) 1%
28. Jefferson Airplane “Somebody to Love” (1967)
29. The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar” (1971) 1%
30. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “That’ll Be the Day” (1957) 1%

31. Bob Dylan “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (1964)
32. The Who “Behind Blue Eyes” (1971)
33. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Purple Haze” (1967) 1%
34. The Who “I Can See for Miles” (1967)
35. The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (1971) 1%
36. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” (1969) 1%
37. Simon & Garfunkel “I Am a Rock” (1966)
38. The Beach Boys “I Get Around” (1964) 1%
39. The Doors “Break on Through” (1967)
40. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963) 1%

Analysis of Mind Your Dollars vs. DMDB

The Mind Your Dollars’ list suffers in multiple ways – including lack of representation for different eras, races, genders, and genres. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

DMDB Book:
  • 1950s: 15%
  • 1960s: 44%
  • 1970s: 21%
  • 1980s: 13%
  • 1990s: 7%
Mind Your Dollars:
  • 1950s: 10%
  • 1960s: 78%
  • 1970s: 13%
  • 1980s: 0%
  • 1990s: 0%
Both lists place too much emphasis on the ‘60s. However, in the Mind Your Dollars world, Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and any other song recorded after 1971 had no impact.
DMDB Book:
  • White: 73%
  • Black: 28%
Mind Your Dollars:
  • White: 90%
  • Black: 10%
Both lists show the dominance of white artists over black artists, which reflects an unfortunate reality in the music world. Sadly, there’s no representation for any other races on either list. However, at least the DMDB least includes Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and other classics by black artists – classics which Mind Your Dollars fails to acknowledge.
DMDB Book:
  • Male: 88%
  • Female: 18%
Mind Your Dollars:
  • Male: 95%
  • Female: 5%
Based on these lists, there’s even less gender diversity than racial diversity. The only female on the Mind Your Dollars list? Grace Slick, the lead singer on the two Jefferson Airplane songs.
DMDB Book:
  • Rock: 65%
  • R&B: 24%
  • Pop: 11%
  • Country: 2%
  • Jazz: 1%
Mind Your Dollars:
  • Rock: 97.5%
  • R&B: 0%
  • Pop: 0%
  • Country: 0%
  • Jazz: 2.5%
Both lists also show the dominance of rock over other genres. However, the ONLY song on the Mind Your Dollars list that falls outside rock is Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

* Numbers may exceed 100% because some songs fit more than one category. For example, “Endless Love” is sung by a male and female so falls into both categories.


No comments:

Post a Comment