Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Searchable Database of the 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made

I've mentioned before that I'm a statistician.  As a result, I do a lot of SAS programming, and every so often I've presented a paper at one of SAS's conferences.  You may ask what in the world this has to do with a list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made.  Lex Jensen has created a fascinating home page with lots of information about two different areas.  One part of it is totally SAS focused.  There's a way to search for papers presented at any SAS conference.  I was able to track down my own papers more easily through this site than I possibly could have going through my own computer files.  He's also created a lot of cool links to music lists, especially one particular Dave Marsh list.

Among the many music references on my shelf, I do not have Dave Marsh's book on the 1001 greatest singles ever made.  Dave Marsh comes from a generation of music critics that overvalues 60s soul at the expense of rock music (and specifically at the expense of rock, as opposed to rock and roll).  That's fine.  There are plenty of others who place far too little value on 60s soul, but you have to accept that Marsh's rankings come with that bias.  Even among better known white artists, Bruce Springsteen manages to crack the top 25, while the Beatles do not, and I have to assume it's because Bruce does that soulful thing that Marsh digs better than the Beatles.

Anyway, back to Lex Jensen.  He's created a really neat searchable database of Dave Marsh's list, so I could quickly verify that there were 3 Beatles songs in the top 100, 3 Aretha Franklin songs in the top 100, and 3 Marvin Gaye songs in the top 100.  Dave Marsh also has a pretty heavy pro-American, anti-British bias.  The fact that Bob Seger has 4 songs on the list while The Jam have none makes that case reasonably well, but he does let The Clash in with 3 songs.  It's a really, really, big list.  I haven't digested it all yet, but that's what makes Lex's database so nice to have available.  Have some fun doing some searching on your own (for either music lists or SAS papers - it's so rare you have the choice, so use it wisely).

1 comment:

  1. Did you know I contributed a page to the SAS community wiki?