If you were asked what was the most important development in pop music in the last 50 years, what would you pick? An evolutionary biologist who normally studies worms looked at 17,000 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 over 50 years and found that hip hop beats out the British Invasion of 1964, Beatles, Stones ‘n all. From the LA Times:
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Forget the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson and Madonna. The most important cultural shift in American pop music began with the explosion of rap in the early 1990s.
The Beatles and the Rolling Stones didn’t spark the British Invasion of the 1960s, but they did fan its flames.
And don’t buy snobs’ complaints about the homogenization of pop. With the exception of a brief period in the 1980s, there’s been plenty of diversity in the charts.
These are the conclusions of engineers and biologists who analyzed 17,000 digitized songs from Billboard’s Hot 100 to produce an evolutionary history of American popular music — no listening required.