15 Comments on "The Slow Death of the Instrumental"

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize the radio of 1996 was so feminine. Jibes with my recollection, but I’m blanking on the specific hits of that year.

  2. The top edge of the blue area can represent male, female and both in sum, yes. The space between the top and bottom of the blue area would be male lead vocals.

  3. I am definitely fascinated by the fact that music without lyrics stopped being popular enough to be a number 1 hit in 1986.

  4. It wasn’t till I saw Benjie’s comment that I realized the top of the graph wasn’t white space, but part of the chart. That’s not really good graphic design.

  5. Eh, I think it is – a different color would imply that it was a subset of male; negative space, when you’re talking about the gender of the singer, works pretty well to convey ‘no singer’.

    Of course, during the inevitable rise of sail-punk you’re gonna have problems. (In fact, wasn’t there a song by Sting or someone taking advantage of someone with a glandular condition who essentially sounded like a castrato? I forget if it reached #1, but still.)

  6. I like how you put a “1986” right next to the last hit instrumental song.

    You are missed, Instrumentals.

  7. I was interested in 1985–according to the chart, there were no female solo acts that year–but looking it up, I’m getting conflicting information. The ARC Weekly and Hot 100 lists both have Madonna (Like a Virgin) and Whitney Houston (Saving All My Love for You) on their lists for 1985. How is #1 being determined?

  8. Whitney Houston didn’t reach #1 on the Cash Box charts, but Madonna did. That was an oversight on my part and the chart has now been amended.

  9. Dang, I thought the instrumental in 1985 would have been Axel F. Turns out it was Miami Vice Theme.

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