Most Common Words in Album Names, Band Names and Song Titles

June 14, 2010
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The Whitburn Project collects data about all the songs in the Billboard chart. We analyzed the data, which spans from 1890 to 2008, to find which words were most commonly used in album names, band names and song names.

According to the results, a fairly cliched band name would be “Billy, The Orchestra, And His Band”, who would probably release an album called “The OST of Me and My Love In“. Almost certainly, their first single from the album would be called “The Love of Me in You“.

Tracking word use in song titles by decade (from 1950s to 2000s), it’s fairly depressing to note that both Love and Heart experienced their worst decade in the 2000s. English language lovers will be pleased to hear that the same recent decade saw record highs for Wanna and Ya.

Popular words used in Musical Artist names in Billboard charts, 1890-2008

Popular words used in Music Album names in Billboard charts, 1890-2008

Popular words used in Song names in Billboard charts, 1890-2008

Popular words used in Song names in Billboard charts, by decade, 1950-2008

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8 Responses to “ Most Common Words in Album Names, Band Names and Song Titles ”

  1. Jer Thorp on June 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Nice post!

    I’d be inclined to filter out the common words (i, and, the, to, in, a) to get some more interesting data in the lists.

    Though I like that you kept wanna and ya in the mix!

  2. debcha on June 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I’d love to see this data for, say, just nouns and verbs (no pronouns, prepositions or articles). I suspect that would be much more interesting and dynamic over time.

  3. Golan Levin on June 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Could you release the data sets? I’d love to see (or make) a 2nd- or 3rd- order Markov model for this data. Then it would be possible to generate band names with the same word adjacencies.

    For example, we’d see “and his orchestra” emerge as a tri-word chunk with high statistical likelihood.

  4. amorphous on June 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    @Golan It’s not my data to release (I’m not actually sure what the copyright on the data set is), but if you read the comments on this page – http://waxy.org/2008/05/the_whitburn_project/ – you can probably find the data yourself… (check the comments around Aug 26, 2008).

  5. Most Common Words in Movie Titles, By Genre on June 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    […] our previous posts (Most Common Words in Album Names and Most Common Words in Movie Tag Lines) we thought it only right to apply the same analysis to […]

  6. Wes on July 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    This post spurred some thinking and I wanted to try an approach that not only shows the most frequent words used, but ALL words in song titles and then breaking this down by decade between 1809 and 2009.
    Here’s the result:
    http://www.pitchinteractive.com/popmusic/

    This way, we can get a sense for the volume of information and explore a little more.

    Thanks for your post and to Jer for bringing this to my attention.

  7. amorphous on July 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    @Wes Wow! Very pretty!

  8. roont on July 6, 2010 at 4:01 am

    this is stupid. THE? really? who would have guessed!!

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