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Cities of Origin - American Popular Music

Which urban areas have made the most important contributions to American hit music?
Includes cities in other countries!
Based on Billboard ratings, not critical ratings
See comments for methodology
Quiz by Quizmaster
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First submittedAugust 6, 2019
Last updatedAugust 6, 2019
Times taken4,328
Rating4.05
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Points
Urban Area
41,221
New York City
27,116
Los Angeles
17,944
London
11,468
Chicago
10,555
Atlanta
8,345
Detroit
7,454
Philadelphia
7,178
San Francisco Bay Area
4,644
Miami
4,540
Houston
4,074
Toronto
Points
Urban Area
3,761
Boston
3,463
Dallas
3,247
Saginaw
3,163
Liverpool
3,076
Nashville
2,911
Manchester
2,567
Washington D.C.
2,483
Memphis
2,041
Melbourne
2,036
New Orleans
1,871
Birmingham
+10
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
Here's how I made this...

  • Billboard makes a list of the top 100 hits for every year.
  • I looked at the lists for every year from 1962-2018.
  • Each #1 hit got 100 points, each #2 hit got 99 points, etc...
  • Then, using a script, I went to the Wikipedia page of all the musical acts.
  • With a lot of manual effort I determined the city of origin for each act, and then applied the points for each act to the city.
+8
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
The next cities were Saint Michael Barbados (because of Rihanna), then Minneapolis, Kingston Jamaica, and Seattle.
+6
level 60
Aug 6, 2019
I'm just curious: is the "Birmingham" that's listed Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, England?
+4
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
England. Birmingham, Alabama has 231 points.
+3
level 85
Aug 8, 2019
I was really surprised that Minneapolis,Seattle and Vancouver didn't make the list, makes sense now
+1
level 61
Sep 19, 2019
I guessed Minneapolis and then Seattle as my first two guesses. I'm glad to see I wasn't too far off, at least.
+4
level 76
Sep 19, 2019
I was going to complain about Seattle not being on here but now that I understand the methodology I will refrain from whining. Fun quiz, thanks for the hard work!
+1
level 67
Sep 19, 2019
Rihanna outweighs Prince (and whoever else is from Minneapolis)? Wow. And everything from Jamaica? And everything from Seattle? Wow.
+4
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
Saginaw made the list because of Stevie Wonder and Madonna (who was born in nearby Bay City).
+1
level 63
Aug 6, 2019
Stevie Wonder's hometown is Detroit even if his birth certificate lists another city as his place of birth. Stevie was 4 years old when his family moved to Detroit. Motown signed him when he was 11. Ask anyone from whence Motown came. How many would say Saginaw? You clearly put in a lot of effort to create these metrics, but it feels like there's room for improvement if that's how these totals were compiled.
+2
level 79
Aug 6, 2019
If you're not counting Gary for the Jacksons, then why are you counting Saginaw for Stevie Wonder? And Saginaw over Seattle... wow.
+2
level ∞
Aug 7, 2019
Gary is part of the Chicago metro area.
+1
level 69
Sep 19, 2019
Great work on this, but I have to agree with a couple of others that Saginaw's points (Stevie Wonder's, at least) should be awarded to Detroit. If all were, Detroit would top Chicago.
+1
level 52
Sep 19, 2019
Gary's in Indiana though
+2
level 71
Aug 13, 2019
For this amount of effort, you get 5 stars; I don’t even care if the topic is dull or loathsome af to me. (Not that this one was; I’m just sayin’.) Thanks for all you do to give us cool and accurate quizzes!
+1
level 72
Sep 4, 2019
That is a lot of effort to go to. Have a pat on the back :-)
+5
level 65
Aug 6, 2019
I expected Gary, Indiana to make the list based on the Jackson Family and Minneapolis based on Prince alone.
+2
level 60
Aug 6, 2019
Gary would go to the numbers for Chicago since it is part of the Chicago metro. And I was a bit surprised that Minneapolis didn't make it also!
+2
level 73
Aug 6, 2019
...is Saginaw all Stevie Wonder?
+3
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
Also Madonna. One other band made a minor contribution as well: ? and the Mysterians.
+1
level 44
Sep 19, 2019
Captain Scarlett? :)
+5
level 78
Aug 6, 2019
I feel so stupid. My brain said - American Popular Music = American cities, so I never crossed the pond. I always forget to read the notes under the title.
+1
level 70
Aug 8, 2019
I'm right there with you. Just goes to show you've got to read the tiny print in the instructions. I got all of the American cities and just kept listing anything, even ones that didn't make sense.
+1
level 70
Aug 6, 2019
Very good quiz. It's particularly interesting that Memphis and Nashville are so close to each other.
+1
level 60
Aug 7, 2019
Close? It's a 3 hour drive. Manchester to Birmingham is only 2 hours and Detroit to Saginaw comes in under 2 as does Philadelphia to New York.
+3
level 76
Aug 6, 2019
Feels weird that New Orleans is so low and Seattle doesn't feature but I guess it makes sense given the rationale.
+3
level ∞
Aug 7, 2019
Seattle would do well on a critics list probably.
+2
level 79
Aug 26, 2019
I think the same applies to Minneapolis. Not necessarily a bunch of "chart toppers" but great music legacy in each of those places.
+4
level 76
Aug 6, 2019
Apparently, Cleveland doesn't rock after all.
+2
level ∞
Aug 7, 2019
Yeah, they don't have a lot of famous groups. The top pointgetters for Cleveland are Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Henry Mancini, and Tracy Chapman, none of whom are rockers.
+1
level 60
Aug 7, 2019
Strange that they have the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Seems other locales would make more sense then.
+1
level 72
Sep 4, 2019
Bone Thugs n Harmony? I didn't realise they were so big in the US
+1
level 76
Sep 19, 2019
They're not really. I think that's the point.
+1
level 53
Sep 19, 2019
The Moondog Coronation Ball was considered the first Rock Concert. It was held in Cleveland in 1952. That's why they say "Cleveland Rocks"
+1
level 54
Sep 19, 2019
Bugger! I was only trying cities from the US! If I'd read the title correctly of course I would have put Liverpool and Manchester.
+2
level 78
Sep 19, 2019
Just a couple of quick questions, one on methodology and one about a specific band. What did you do for bands? The Eagles were made of people from all over the country. If they got a score of 120 for a year did you divide it by 4/5 and give points based on where each member was born or did you attribute all the points to the city where they formed? That would help explain the huge numbers for cities like NYC, Los Angeles and London where young musicians flocked to and bands formed. Second for curiosity sake, did you attribute the Bee Gees to Douglas and if so where did it fall on the list?
+1
level 69
Sep 19, 2019
Surprised not to see St. Louis here. Chuck Berry. Miles Davis. Ike & Tina Turner. But your cutoff years 1962-2018 would lessen their impact.
+1
level 42
Sep 19, 2019
Cleveland-That is where Alan Freed got Rock 'n" on the map. That is why the R&R Hall of Fame is there. We were very happy when he came to New York City in 1954 on 1010 WINS. Great memories of listening to him and the great music he played.
+1
level 55
Sep 19, 2019
I only at the very end realized that it could be more than Cities in the States LOL
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