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Music Quiz: ‘The’ Bands

Congratulations to Tony, who caffeined up and motored through last week’s Flip Flop albums quiz.

This week is straightforward after last time’s visual hysteria. You just need to name the band given the song.

I scored 35/38 – I think that was a pretty good effort, as the median score was 41%. The three I missed were all from the early 2000s, and I’d argue that a couple of them are very obscure now.

Has anyone seen these charts of most popular Spotify songs by decade:

It’s pretty fascinating – the 1950s is dominated by Christmas tunes. It’s also interesting how popular vintage rock like AC/DC, Queen, and The White Stripes is, given the current paucity of guitar rock in the charts. There are barely any female artists on the charts in the 20th century – Ella Fitzgerald is the only one without a Christmas song I think.

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Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande.
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  1. SCORE
    33/38… I got a few newer ones by just typing random band names in…

    As far as your question…not many rock bands are pushed by record companies anymore. It’s all about a single pop performer. Probably more economical. I hear unsigned bands that are great. It seems like it goes in cycles. Most young rock fans my son’s age that I know… listen to the classic bands…some the Foo Fighters as well.

    • It’s certainly not out of the question that a band could start off on an indie label and make it to the big leagues. The White Stripes were one of the last rock bands to make it big, and they started off making blues records on an obscure label. I don’t really mind the lack of successful modern rock music too much though.

      Good score!

      • It can happen that way but it shouldn’t have to take that. I think it’s tilted way way too much toward processed pop. Not that I dislike all of processed pop…10cc has some that could be classified as that.
        There are good rock bands out there that do not sound like NIckleback that should be signed.
        I do think it comes down to economics. The recording session for a pop artist is much cheaper. Rap is dirt cheap.

        Thanks…the potusoa band almost cost me

  2. 30/38. Your score is pretty good considering you probably weren’t born when half those songs were out. As to the Spotify lists, very interesting. I got to pretty much the same result looking at Billboard charts, namely that in the new millennium guitar-driven rock was – if not dead – no longer dominant.

    Rick Beato who does all those great YouTube videos did one on which artist gets the most plays. In the classic rock area, Queen demolishes all others. Seems everybody – including his young kids – knows their songs. You should check out his “What Makes This Song Great” on Bohemian Rhapsody.

    • I found the disconnect interesting, how old rock is popular but not new rock. Queen’s popularity is pretty interesting – they’re way bigger than The Beatles for younger generations. I think they were only a great album band for a wee while in the 1970s, but they have a ton of excellent singles.

      I have heard people discuss how around 1990, rock music started using strict click tracks etc. While those old Stones records speed up and slow down a bit, and Charlie Watts has a bit of swing. I think rock needs to breathe a bit, while pop music works fine with lots of technological imbuement.

      • Right. And bands like Stones and Faces, along with blues benefit greatly from a certain amount of sweaty raggedness. And while I genuinely believe “classic rock” is miles ahead of current rock, maybe the genre is just played out and they’ve flat-out run out of ideas. But for a generation that’s just as happy to go see hip-hop or a DJ, guitar-driven rock has about as much relevance as big band swing had with mine.

        • My reading of the Spotify charts was that there’s still a demand for rock music in younger generations, but the rock bands they like are older like Queen or The White Stripes.

  3. I agree with Jim S. about your good score. Way to go, Graham! For me it was 23/38 and I ran out of time. Some I thought I knew but didn’t (e.g. Bangles vs. Go-Gos) but some no clue at all. I thought the one about the white guy for sure was Vanilla Ice. oops.

    About the lists, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that most/all of the songs from all decades appear to be stuff that was played on the radio top 40 type channels. Nothing from AOR radio stations. Thanks for sharing the lists.

    • I’ve only really caught up on The Go-Gos in the last couple of years, didn’t really know them before that. I was more disappointed in the lack of female representation – it is good that there’s some R&B in there though.

    • I was born in 1979. Right now I think that’s a pretty good sweet spot to have enough time to learn about older stuff while still having enthusiasm for newer stuff.

      • The psychology of music taste has always interested me. I always wonder if it’s less age and just more open-mindedness and effort. Most people I know just listen to the radio and don’t give music discovery a second thought. Other people I know who are my age pigeonhole themselves to one or two genres and decide that the rest is “bad”.

        • I don’t understand the different tastes of different generations either. People now in their twenties seem more concerned with genres than anything else. When you talk about music with them, all they ever talk about is what genre a certain artist is. But they never talk about if the music is any good or not. I think maybe they can’t find much good to say about the music so they talk about genres instead. Whereas people like me in their forties or older always talk about exactly what they like about certain songs or artists. It’s a totally different attitude toward music than young people have today.

          • I’m guessing a lot of it has to do with wrapping one’s identity and ego around their music taste. That’s been a thing forever. You can’t be be a true metalhead unless people on the street can tell immediately, right? And you can’t be a true metalhead if you listen to anything else. I think this mindset pervades other subcultures as well.

            Think about how many jazz and classical music purists are out there. I know older jazz fanatics that would say music started sucking in 1968 when Miles went electric, not even giving classic rock a single thought.

          • For sure, identity with a subculture makes sense. I had a friend who was pretty wrapped up in left-wing music like Rage Against the Machine and Manic Street Preachers as part of his image.

            My grandad only really listened to classical music – and I don’t think he really liked any 20th century stuff, while the only classical music I ever listen to is 20th century.

          • I think the biggest problem with streaming is that it allows you to quickly flit from song to song without giving something a chance – if it doesn’t grab you in 10 seconds you can just skip to something else. Sometimes really good music takes a while to absorb because it’s more complex, but once you have your head around it you get more listening mileage and enjoyment out of it (because it’s more complex).

          • Absolutely. The difference between the way people take in music now vs. 50 years ago is not even comparable. That also contributes to the generational disconnect.

            Once streaming became the norm I actually had to figure out how to train myself to slow down again. I was like a kid in a candy store listening to everything I could, and I realized I wasn’t really connecting emotionally to a lot of what I was listening to for a couple of years.

          • Right. That could be the reason that there’s hardly any new music that I like. Since I never listened to it the old-fashioned way as a CD or album, but only by streaming, I never get a chance to listen to it properly. A song will start up and I’ll say to myself “this is crap” and then I’ll just go on to the next one and say that one is crap too when I never even listened to the whole thing. How could I like something when I never even listened to the whole thing?? But when I listen to old music by streaming I don’t do that. But that could be because I only listen to things that I already like.

          • There have obviously been some changes in production and popular styles of music that are predominant, but I don’t really hear any big drop off in quality – lots of stuff I like in every era.

          • I basically jam stuff I’m interested in onto a playlist and listen to it until it clicks – or until I’m sure it won’t.

        • Yup, I thought once if I ever wanted to write a book, psychology of music taste would be interesting. I have some friends who were passionate about music but don’t really listen to anything that was made after they were 25.

          Movies are a pretty important way of introducing people to new music – you have people sitting still and paying attention for a whole song. Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ wasn’t on their 1981 Greatest Hits, but after it was featured on Shaun of the Dead it’s one of their most popular songs.

        • An interesting discussion.

          A good example of how things have changed is that an album like David Bowie’s Pin Ups was disliked upon release by most because it wasn’t Ziggy, Hunky or Aladdin, but, because it was the only new Bowie stuff and there was no streaming to listen to alternatives, people stuck with it and it became more popular, certainly with me, who developed a real liking for it. The same applies to David Live or the Clash’s Sandinista!. You just persevered with what you had until it got into your bloodstream. You can apply the same to an album’s less instant tracks too.

          To this day I always listen to an album I am investigating all the way through, even if I don’t initially like the first few songs. It is embedded in me to give it a chance.

          I guess I wear some of my influence on my sleeve by calling myself The Punk Panther, but that only applies to the years 1977-81, when I was 18-22. I barely listen to punk these days.

          • Plus, another reason that you were willing to stick with an album and listen to it carefully is because you had to go out and buy it and pay for it. And something that has cost you money and effort to get you’re not likely to just ignore and not try to get some kind of use out of it. But streaming is more or less free, and it’s not like you have anything invested in listening to something that you don’t like right away. Its not like you’re wasting any time or money by not listening to it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it because it didn’t cost you anything. For the $10 that you used to spend on a CD you can now listen to millions of songs.

          • I was always very conservative with my choices in high school – I didn’t have much money and stuck to big staples like The Beatles and Paul Simon where I knew all their radio songs.

          • I’ve always liked Pinups and David Live. They are two of his best albums. And they’re both in my top 10 Bowie albums. Of course, I wasn’t even born yet when they came out, so I didn’t have the same experience you had with them. But I do know that they are two of his least-liked albums even now. Which is totally crazy.

          • I was a HUGE Zappa nut in high school in the early ’00s and I was spending every penny I saved on his Rykodisc catalog. I literally know his entire huge career like the back of my hand, and I’m grateful that my formative years were in the pre-streaming days. As a teenager these days there’s no way that can’t of thing would happen. I’d love to be able to dig that deep into something like that again, but I just can’t get it to happen organically like I used to. There’s so much out there at my fingertips now, it’s hard to resist trying to hit everything instead of sticking with one thing and letting it absorb.

          • I don’t think I really had access to Zappa’s catalogue in the CD era – I found a copy of We’re Only In It For The Money in a secondhand bin, which I didn’t really like. I’ve been able to delve much more into Zappa recently and discovered that I like a bunch of his stuff – I like him way more as a guitarist than as a social commentator.

          • I normally find it takes five or six listens to figure out if I like something. Can be faster if it’s relatively simple like country or if it’s an artist I’m already familiar with.

        • That’s a good point. I used to spend my paper round money on these albums and my friends and I were always lending our albums out to each other and taping them, so they got listened to lots.

          • I used to get a $5 allowance per week from my parents, and when I first started buying albums they only cost about $6 or even less. So I could basically buy like 1 album per week. And then by the time I was about 15 I would get $10 a week. I never had a paper route but if I wanted more money I would cut lawns, and stuff like that. And of course if I went to the used record store I could buy a lot more albums than if I bought them new.

        • My paper money was 70p per week, my parents gave me 50p per week. An album cost £1.99 so I could buy one every two weeks or so. Singles were 49p. I would also collect my Dad’s unwanted loose change (literally pennies) until I had enough for a single. Lots of home taping was done, off the radio chart show. There was also a store that would play you albums through headphones hanging on the wall. I would spend hours in there.

          • I remember the headphones in the CD era. My friend used to manage a record store and told me a story about a customer listening ecstatically to a CD copy of CSNY’s déjà vu through headphones and exclaiming stuff like “this bit is amazing”.

  4. 24 of 38 – didn’t get a bunch of the newer bands which means perhaps not as up on that stuff as I sometimes like to think. Re: the spotify list, I was also disappointed by the lack of female artists

    • I don’t think there’s much that’s really new, but there’s a lot of early 21st century stuff that probably betrays the age of the quiz maker as someone who was in their teens or early twenties when those bands were big.

  5. I got 36/38. Had no clue who sang Lump or Take it Off, as I’d never heard of those songs.

    As for those Spotify charts, the reason so many Christmas songs dominate the 1950s is that those classic songs are streamed every Christmas season, and also dominate the Billboard Hot 100 for most of December. As for bands like AC/DC, CCR and Queen being the dominant rocks songs that are still streamed en masse is that their familiar to millions of people young and old. I don’t get their enduring popularity either.

    • great work, you’re the only person to beat me so far.

      I like Queen and CCR fine, just interested how rock is still popular, just not really new rock.

  6. 33/38 – the bands I missed out on are ones that I don’t know much about.

    As for those Spotify charts, not surprised that there wasn’t much modern rock on there. I guess my generation are more excited about rock of the past and that pop today (w/ poptimism at an all-time hugh) is much more exciting, which I agree to. The best rock today is really not that popular, examples are the Australian psychedelic bands for instance.

    • I thought there were a few relatively obscure early 21st century bands in there.

      There’s critically acclaimed rock around, and Australia has stuff like Tame Impala and King Gizzard, but it hasn’t really into the mainstream.

    • I thought there were a couple of incredibly obscure answers in there – I haven’t heard anything about The Donnas for years.

      • I remember that one album by The Donnas but I didn’t remember the names of any of their songs. And the other one that I got wrong I never even heard of them, The Fray, so they’re probably kind of recent.

        • I think of The Fray as early 2000s – I just double checked and their debut album was 2005, and probably the height of their fame. I got that one right. Feels like the author chucked in a couple of favourite bands from their youth in, which is fair enough.

  7. I’m guessing a lot of it has to do with wrapping one’s identity and ego around their music taste. That’s been a thing forever. You can’t be be a true metalhead unless people on the street can tell immediately, right? And you can’t be a true metalhead if you listen to anything else. I think this mindset pervades other subcultures as well.

    Think about how many jazz and classical music purists are out there. I know older jazz fanatics that would say music started sucking in 1968 when Miles went electric, not even giving classic rock a single thought.

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