Just what is Classic Rock? Its not what you think and no, it is not defined by the time period it was recorded in. That of course would make too much sense.
One blogger, Walt Hickey who grew up on Green Day looked into this question when he heard Green Day being played on a “classic rock” station. I guess we could argue that if its over two decades old, its classic rock, but the question still remains; how do radio stations make this determination?
Hickey gives a bird’s eye view of what’s being played on classic rock stations all over the country after he researched a sampling of stations in 30 large metro areas. His results were intriguing.
What is classic rock depends on where you live. This is so because radio stations survey listeners and according to one radio executive Hickey interviewed, people who like the “core classic rock songs,” – that is, the songs everyone considers classic rock- are then surveyed on what other songs they like. These songs then become “classic rock” too. Guess it is all about the money.
Here are the facts Hickey gathered in his study:
The Classic Rock Golden Period
1973 to 1982 is the core classic rock period. This is based the volume of songplays in the 30 major markets Hickey studied. Tracks released in this 10 year period account for over half of the “spins” on classic rock stations.
The Worst Year for Classic Rock
1991 seems to be the last significant release year for classic rock.
3 Bands Account for Almost Half of Classic Rock Radio Airplay
Led Zeppelin (our personal fav) Van Halen and the Rolling Stones together account for nearly half of all radio spins on classic rock stations.
The Top 5 classic rock songs (from the study)are:
Dream On – Aerosmith
Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
All Along the Watchtower – Hendrix
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
More Than a Feeling – Boston
Let us know in the comments if you were ever surprised to hear a song labeled “classic rock” on the radio.
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