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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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Last updated: August 6, 2019
First submittedAugust 6, 2019
Times taken5,574
Rating3.92
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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
+11
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 63
Aug 6, 2019
I'm just curious: is the "Birmingham" that's listed Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, England?
+5
level ∞
Aug 6, 2019
England. Birmingham, Alabama has 231 points.
+3
level 86
Aug 8, 2019
I was really surprised that Minneapolis,Seattle and Vancouver didn't make the list, makes sense now
+1
level 63
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 78
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 68
Sep 19, 2019
Rihanna outweighs Prince (and whoever else is from Minneapolis)? Wow. And everything from Jamaica? And everything from Seattle? Wow.
+5
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 80
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.
+3
level ∞
Aug 7, 2019
Gary is part of the Chicago metro area.
+1
level 70
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 55
Sep 19, 2019
Gary's in Indiana though
+1
level 62
Sep 24, 2019
Gary is still included in the Chicago metro area. Chicago is in the northeast corner of Illinois. It's only about a 40-minute drive to Gary with no traffic. The first city you hit upon crossing the border is East Chicago, Indiana, and Gary is only about six miles east of that, and about 20 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois. It's part of what people call "the Region": the area in northwest Indiana that functions as part of Chicagoland. It's even on Central Time (unlike the rest of Indiana, which on Eastern Time) to accommodate the many people who commute to and from Chicago for work every day.
+2
level 72
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 73
Sep 4, 2019
That is a lot of effort to go to. Have a pat on the back :-)
+6
level 66
Aug 6, 2019
I expected Gary, Indiana to make the list based on the Jackson Family and Minneapolis based on Prince alone.
+2
level 63
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!
+3
level 75
Aug 6, 2019
...is Saginaw all Stevie Wonder?
+5
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? :)
+6
level 79
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 71
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 61
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 77
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 81
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 77
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 61
Aug 7, 2019
Strange that they have the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Seems other locales would make more sense then.
+1
level 73
Sep 4, 2019
Bone Thugs n Harmony? I didn't realise they were so big in the US
+1
level 77
Sep 19, 2019
They're not really. I think that's the point.
+1
level 55
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 62
Sep 24, 2019
The Hall of Fame is in Cleveland because that's where DJ Alan Freed was based, and he is often credited with popularizing rock and roll on the radio.
+1
level 55
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 80
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 62
Sep 24, 2019
I'd have to imagine the points go to the city where the band was formed and got its start. The Eagles are definitely an LA band, even though the members grew up in other places.
+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 44
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 56
Sep 19, 2019
I only at the very end realized that it could be more than Cities in the States LOL
+1
level 41
Sep 20, 2019
I assume Melbourne is AC/DC and INXS? And maybe Crowded House?