While we all have our own favorite “classic” songs, music popularity over time is fairly difficult to determine; especially with any degree of scientific accuracy. Billboard charts only can tell you what was popular at any given time; and, depending on the decade you grew up in, the definition of “timeless” can vary from person to person.
Not happy with the answer of “it’s subjective”, data scientist Matt Daniels, the same person who last year analyzed the vocabulary of various hip-hop artists, set out to determine just exactly where the most timeless songs in the history of music. Armed with data from Spotify, Daniels — specifically seeking quantifiable timelessness data on BLACKstreet’s 90s hit “No Diggity” (featuring now-billionaire Dr. Dre) — has put together some impressive interactive infographics on the subject of timeless music.
Number one on the most popular songs of the 90s: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. “No Diggity” came in at number five; interestingly enough, it was the sole hit on the top 5 to reach a number one spot on Billboard, as seen below.
Daniels’ has also looked at hip-hop artists specifically (in a Biggie vs. 2pac sort-of-way); in addition to top hits from decades heading all the way back to the 50s — both based on Billboard rankings and the number of Spotify plays each track received.
There is a plethora of music geekery over at Polygraph; much more than can be replicated here. To check out a more detailed look at Matt Daniels’ findings, head on over to his article.