have fond memories of Duke Ellington and Bing Crosby. Of course, millennials—born between 1981-1996 and addicted to Spotify, YouTube, and Beats By Dre headphones—will probably tell you that Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Drake are the greatest performers to ever grace a stage.
To help dissect each of these arguments and more, Stacker compiled comprehensive chart data on every year in music ranging from 1940-2019, using Best Ever Albums data as of July 30, and ranked the years according to their total rank score. The total rank score is devised by Best Ever Albums, which awards points to an album based on how many times it appears on “Best of” lists in magazines, e.g., Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; on entertainment websites, e.g., Pitchfork's Top 100 albums of the 2010s; print media, including books and academic research; official forum rankings; and more. The total albums listed for each year is the number of albums in the database for the given year.
One spoiler to take note of, the 1940s and the 1950s tend to be ranked considerably lower because there was much less music production back then, and the data used measures the number of great albums in a year, as much as the “greatness” of the albums themselves.
Do years in which hip-hop reigned supreme push the 1990s and 2000s to the top of the list? Or do the days of Woodstock, tie-dye shirts, and raging Jimi Hendrix guitar solos garner more accolades? Continue reading to find out which year over the past eight decades has been the best in music history.
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