Music of the 1980s

Explore the biggest genres of the decade including pop, rap, new wave, country, R&B, and more. See what songs, albums, and videos won awards each year. Check out lists of the decade’s biggest songs, albums, acts, and videos overall and in different genres. More than 40 songs and 20 albums are spotlighted.

Read more about the book here.

Published 2021. $13.95.

The Top 100 Songs of the Digital Era, 2000-2019

The last generation has dramatically changed how it accesses music, turning largely to downloading and streaming. The result has been some of the biggest hits in music history, including Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” and Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk!” Check out these songs and more in this guide to the 21st century’s most important songs.

Read more about the book here.

Published 2020. $13.95.

The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999

The Grammys. The Billboard charts. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine. National Public Radio. The Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Q Magazine. Spin. New Musical Express. MTV. VH1. ASCAP. BBC. All have done lists of the best songs of all time. Each, however, has its bias. This book aggregates more than 100 sources into a definitive list.

Read more about the book here.

10th anniversary edition published 2021. $13.95.

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953

Songwriters, big bands, and barbershop quartets ruled. Broadway and sheet music drove popularity. This book focuses on songwriters such as Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan and musicians like Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, and Al Jolson. Compiled from sales figures, and chart data, and hundreds of best-of lists, these are the best songs of roughly the first half of the 20th century.

Read more about the book here.

Published 2016. $13.95.

Charting the Classic Rock Hits, 1962-1981

Billboard magazine launched an Album Rock chart in 1981. It featured Eric Clapton, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Rush, Styx, The Who, and other acts which are now called “classic rock.” This book analyzes more than 70 classic-rock best-of lists to gauge how classics like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” might have fared had a classic rock chart existed then.

Published 2019. $13.95.

The Top 100 Albums of All Time

By aggregating hundreds of best-of lists, Dave’s Music Database has stripped away the bias of individual lists in favor of cold, hard numbers. Commentaries about albums consolidate the views of multiple experts instead of serving up single opinions. It all makes for one definitive, inarguable best-of-all-time list.

Read more about the book here.

Published 2014. $13.95.

Aural Fixation: More Essays from a Musical Obsessive

The second collection of music-themed essays originally featured in the column “Aural Fixation” take on the Grammys, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Glee, terrestrial radio, Tom Cruise, and the state of the music industry. Whitaker asserts that rock and roll isn’t dead, that pop music matters, and that best-of lists are a good thing.

Published 2013. $9.95.

No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”…And Other Essays from a Musical Obsessive

In this collection of essays, Dave Whitaker delves into his theory of musical hierarchy, tracks the technological changes in music over his lifetime, taps into why list making is so fascinating (well, it is to him), and, yes, admits to owning 21 versions of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” Dave also fights music snobbery, advocating for “The Styx Defense” in which people should listen to whatever they want unashamedly.

Published 2013. $9.95.

Last updated 12/16/2021.

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