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Billboard’s Top Songs Of The Past 5 Decades, Visualized

Earlier this year, Flowing Data statistician and visualizer Nathan Yau released a poster of 100 Famous Movie Quotes as a series of diagrams. Now it’s time to do the same thing for music. For his follow up, Yau is charting the top Billboard’s top 100 songs from 1958 until 2014, and converting them into a series of pie charts, line graphs, bar charts, flow charts, and more.

Unlike Yau’s previous visualization, the songs in the Billboard Hot 100 defy strictly literal charting. Sure, some classics like Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and Chic’s “Le Freak” are pretty straight forward: Yau charts the former as a corkscrewing vortex, and the latter as an exploding ‘Freak’ molecule with atoms radiating outwards.

See the full chart here.

But how do you chart Ricky Martin’s “Macarena”? If you’re Yau, you make it a line graph tracking level of annoyance over times played. “Hey Jude” by the Beatles? By charting the linear progressions of “Nahs” over time. Or some of the Billboard Top 100’s weirder blockbusters, like the theme song of the 1959 film A Summer Place. Well, uh, you draw a house overlooking the sea. Hey, they’re not all winners.

Like Yau’s 100 Famous Movie Quotes, the Chart-Topping Songs poster can be purchased as a signed, hand-numbered limited edition. Orders are expected to start shipping in October. You can pre-order one for $24.00 here.

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