The Rolling Stones – how big?

The Rolling Stones played Croke Park last night.

Later this summer Taylor Swift and Michael Buble will play there.

Last year it was U2 and Coldplay, the year before Beyonce and Springsteen.

It got me thinking – how do you get to the point where you can sell out Croke Park and it’s equivalents around the world?

Do you have to sell millions of records, or do you have to build up a separate reputation as a ‘good stadium act’?

Does it matter when your success happened?

Do artists who were big in the ‘60s and ‘70s actually play more stadium gigs than anyone else now or is that just my perception?

Then I found this website – and got lost in it for an hour.

It claims to be ‘the most comprehensive collection of world music chart information anywhere’, and I’m not going to disagree. They bring together over half a million individual chart runs abiut almost 150,000 songs since 1900.

They recognise that their approach works better for the 20th Century than the 21st, and recommends another site for more recent data. It is only as good as it’s ranking system I guess (and I’m not qualified to argue with that), but I have never come across anything nearly as extensive or thorough. Anyone with an interest in music or music trivia should check it out.

Some things I learned from it…well firstly the artists with the most chart success in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s wer a surprise to me. Elton John, Prince, Mariah Carey anyone? I knew they were big but that big?

Biggest song of the 1970s….Stayin’ Alive anyone?

Finally, according to it, The Rolling Stones were the third biggest chart act of the 1960s, as well as the second biggest of the 1970s, so I guess it should be no surprise that they can fill Croke Park.

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