Is rock and roll a bad influence on our children, or, indeed, on us? And what
about movies? In 1999 an American research team decided to find out. They
set out to ‘examine the frequency of substance use in the most popular
movie rentals and songs of 1996 and 1997’. Lets leave movies for
another time, and see what they found out about songs.
Taking 1000 songs from Billboard, Radio and Records magazines, and the
College Music Journal, the researchers broke them down into five genres:
Country and Western; Alternative Rock; Hot-100; Rap and Heavy Metal.
Of the songs surveyed there are a few with tree connections. No Rap Rock
Family Tree exists, sadly, and late 90s Country is a bit of a Rock Family Tree
blind spot, but Alt Rock features Oasis ( Heady Days in Madchester Vol 1)
with songs such as ‘Champagne Supernova’ (tick), and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ (cross).
The findings? No surprise that ‘illicit drugs’ were mentioned in 63% of rap songs, and including all ‘substances’ pushes the figure up to 75% . But only 20% of Hot-100 and Alt-Rock songs are similarly contaminated, and the numbers fall to 14% of Country and Western and a shockingly clean-living 12% of Heavy Metal. Who knew? And why didn’t they investigate the use of coffee?