Friday, August 7, 2009

Rock 'n Roll Research: Where does my music originate?

I have always been fascinated by band origins and how they are founded. For instance, most everyone knows the Beatles are from the Liverpool area. Aerosmith is from Boston but Steven Tyler met Joe Perry in New Hampshire, and the band Boston is really from Boston. But the band Berlin is from Los Angeles; Beirut from New Mexico. This kind of thing intrigues me. Music is complex and stupid.

I combined this with a personal inquiry: what country produces the most rock music that I normally listen to? Like, when I flip on a radio or take a look at my MP3's, would I most likely to listen to an American band, or what? So, I made a spreadsheet.

Ground rules:
1. Must be rock bands from the post-Beatles era.
2. Must be notable artists.
3. No overlapping bands and side projects (Yardbirds, Cream, Derek and the Dominos are all treated as one, because of the Eric Clapton [UK] connection).
4. No multinational bands (no Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Garbage)

I made a list of 100 groups (which is harder than it sounds) and categorized them by country of origin. For instance, Radiohead would count as 1 credit for the UK. I found something interesting:

For an American kid, there is a 43% chance I would be listening to music from the United Kingdom. This influence is surprising, considering the USA has almost always had 3x the population (and by logic, 3x the opportunity for successful music acts).

Raw data:

Perhaps my next research project will be a thesis on why the coda of "Jungleland" is perfect for a driving scene in a film.

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