Land on a classic rock radio station all over the United States, and there’s a good chance it sounds a bit like classic rock radio everywhere else. There’s a good reason for this: In many cases, playlists aren’t determined by individual DJs or a regional flavor, but by programmers or consultants. Additionally, there is an aversion to picky listeners, as there is a widespread theory on radio that people will turn off things that are unfamiliar to them. In other words, the radio prefers to reinforce tastes than to cultivate new ones.
Fred Jacobs, the man responsible for pioneering the classic rock format, explored this phenomenon in a piece called “The state of classical rock is….” in which he also criticized the lack of global discovery of new music on the radio. “Radio could play a major role – albeit a different one from what it did before – in the conservation and exhibition of new music,” he wrote. “But he’s so busy playing it safe – playing defense – that he’s lost sight of his unique ability to provide perspective, context and enjoyment to new and emerging music.” Jacobs went on to liken the radio to the preemptive defense of football, noting “this is essentially how [it’s] played the game against the internet’s pure-plays since streaming first became a new way to enjoy audio. Rather than continue to play a leading role and take advantage of its ubiquitous – and free – position in the musical ecosphere, the radio crouched down, played it near the musical vest, and became less and less less relevant from a musical point of view. every year.”
Yet how narrow is mainstream classic rock radio these days? To establish a baseline, Salon pulled statistics from the 71 radio stations monitored by Nielsen BDSradio that identify as classic rock. For the week of April 4-10, Cheap Trick and Steve Miller Band saw obvious broadcast bumps for “I Want You To Want Me” and “The Joker” (respectively), no doubt due to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame of each act. inductions. Yet there is clearly no correlation between the artist’s popularity and circulation: the most played Beatles song, for example, is “Come Together”, which landed at No.178 with 194 laps, while that Elton John’s most played song was “Rocket Man”. at 139 times, which was good enough to rank at # 286. Bruce Springsteen’s most played song, meanwhile, with 100 tracks, good enough for # 399, was “Glory Days”. There were also a few weird anomalies: for example, Billy Squier’s “Lonely is The Night” landed at No. 73 in the broadcast rounds for the week, and placed well above his AOR and pop hits. top level crossover.
Unsurprisingly, the graphic is also a sausage festival. There are only five musicians in the top 100 overall: Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, and Joan Jett. (Pat Benatar sneaks up to # 118 with “Heartbreaker.”) The painting also features many repeated acts. Queen and Pink Floyd each have seven songs in the Top 100 Streams chart, while AC / DC has six and Van Halen has five. Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Journey each have four songs. In other words, just ten acts make up almost 50% of the most played songs in the past week, a consolidation of power and influence that doesn’t promote or accurately indicate the diversity of playlists.
An obvious first step in improving classic rock radio is to stop treating women as new, a multi-step process that means increasing rotations for artists it already plays (e.g. Scandal, The Pretenders, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar, Lita Ford, Stevie Nicks) while adding other rotating women; to name a few absent artists, The Runaways, Suzi Quatro, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Melissa Etheridge, Linda Ronstadt, Patti Smith and Blondie. With the ’90s and even modern bands increasingly slipping into the classic rock rotation, now is the time to ensure that classic rock does not codify itself into an even more male dominated genre.
Adding deeper album cuts (or less remembered singles) and broadening the definition of classic rock to include more bands would also help. But perhaps more importantly, mainstream classic rock radio needs to focus on some of the basic songs that have been turned to death over the years. After all, all of these songs can be streamed on demand or recorded as MP3s these days, making their radio ubiquity infuriating, if not lazy.
Here are 10 classic rock songs, all of which appeared in last week’s Nielsen BDSradio Top 100, that need to be removed (or at least seriously devalued) from the heavy rotation.
1. Pink Floyd, “Another brick in the wall (part II)”
No. 2 —413 laps
While the dystopian disco and anti-authoritarian vibe of the song fits in well with the American political climate right now, its overly simple themes and lyrics – not to mention the squeaky children’s chorus – ensure that it needs some attention. a break in a heavy rotation.
Increase diffusion for: Superior songs from “The Wall” such as “Run Like Hell” (No. 132) or more futuristic and avant-garde Pink Floyd songs such as “Welcome To The Machine” (No. 519).
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama”
N ° 4 – 407 laps
The Southern Rockers seem to be a two-hit wonder about how “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Freebird” get in and out of radio playlists. However, the band has plenty of other songs in the top 1000 of the tune chart, 12 in all, which makes even more parity very easy to achieve.
Increase diffusion for: “Gimme Three Steps” (No. 242) and “What’s Your Name” (No. 260), or incorporate extracts from albums such as “All I Can Do Is Write About It”.
3 & 4. Queen, “We Will Rock You” https://www.salon.com/ “We Are The Champions”
N ° 10 – 377 laps / N ° 11 – 376 laps
“We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” are staples at sporting events, but against the backdrop of a classic rock radio sound like the equivalent of shtick. A revolutionary band like Queen deserves better than that.
Increase diffusion for: Glam adorned with “Killer Queen” (No. 97) or “You’re My Best Friend” (No. 279), or singles such as “Now I’m Here”, “Play The Game” and “Radio Ga Ga “, three songs that didn’t even make the top 1000.
5. Travel, “Don’t stop believing”
N ° 17 – 356 laps
The pop culture renaissance (and saturation) of this song means it now appears everywhere from baseball games to TV shows, and doesn’t need to be so dominant on classic rock radio anymore.
Increase diffusion for: “Stone In Love” (# 370) or the soundtrack to “Vision Quest” cut “Only The Young”, which was a big hit in 1985.
6. Ozzy Osbourne, “The Crazy Train”
N ° 26 – 341 laps
Osbourne has had a long and rich career, both with Black Sabbath and as a solo artist, but his first solo single, which addresses Cold War paranoia, remains his most popular. While unmistakably influential, the inordinate attention given to this song made it sound like nails on a chalkboard when it aired – sadly, as the late Randy Rhoads’ guitar work on it shouldn’t be held up. for granted.
Increase diffusion for: “Shot In The Dark” (No. 414) or his duet with Lita Ford, “Close My Eyes Forever” (No. 761) —not to mention any Sabbath song that is not “War Pigs”, “Iron Man” or “Paranoid.”
7. Van Halen, “You really got me”
N ° 35 – 325 laps
It’s frustrating that after “Panama”, Van Halen’s song that received the most air last week was the cover of the band Kinks. Of course, this is the quartet’s widely known debut single, but the band’s early albums have a myriad of songs that are simply better representations of what makes Van Halen great. (And the mighty “Eruption,” which often precedes “You Really Got Me” on the radio, only gets 185 turns, so it’s not as if Kinks’ cover is being aired as an excuse to showcase skills. solo by Eddie Van Halen.)
Increase diffusion for: The Roth-era jams “Ain’t Talkin ” Bout Love” (No.231), “Unchained” (No.348) and “Everybody Wants Some” (No.451), or the chestnuts from the debut album such as “Little Dreamer” or “I’m the only one.”
8. AC / DC, “TNT”
N ° 38 – 315 laps
Australian hard rockers are (rightfully) all over the broadcast charts, but the popularity of this 1976 song is a headache as it isn’t as smart or anthemic as other AC / DC songs. .
Bump airplay for: Beloved (but still underestimated) arias such as “Whole Lotta Rosie” (# 962) or “For These About To Rock (We Salute You)” (# 224) or an AC / DC tune by the (relatively) modern era like “Who Made Who” of 1986 (No. 507).
9. Eagles, “Hotel California”
N ° 39 – 315 laps
One of the other oddities of the mailing list is how many Eagles songs have made it into Nielsen BDSradio’s top 100. There’s “Hotel California” and “Life In The Fast Lane”, then nothing until “Already Gone” lands at # 191 Of course the Eagles’ music is decidedly sweeter than most on the radio these these days, but the precise harmonies and Laurel Canyon breezes of the band’s hits are a good antidote to aggression.
Increase diffusion for: Rather than throwing “Hotel California” into the ground, swap “Take It Easy” (No. 236) or “Heartache Tonight” (No. 367), or live favorites such as “Seven Bridges Road” (No. 733 ) or the cover of Tom Waits “Ol ’55”.
10. Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
N ° 89 – 260 laps
“Sympathy For The Devil” is a dynamic album track and a quantum leap in seismic songwriting for the Stones, but the impact of the song’s evil chronicle has faded over the years in because of the overplay.
Increase diffusion for: “Jumpin ‘Jack Flash” (# 213), “Tumbling Dice” (# 767) and “Street Fighting Man” (# 926). Or how about adding some well known songs that are not recorded on BDS like “Moonlight Mile” or “Dead Flowers”.