Underground Music

July 22, 2010
Posted by Jay Livingston

How do you get from the rockabilly of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis to the doo-wop of Franie Valli? Well, if you’re in New York, you can walk uptown from Million Dollar Quartet to Jersey Boys. Eleven blocks of separation, one stop on the subway.

There are more sophisticated ways of visualizing connectedness and distance. Christakis and Fowler create attractive graphics of networks of people – they have several in their book Connected – like this one of Facebook photos of 353 students – smiling (yellow), serious (blue), mixed (green).

A fuller explanation is here.

With music, you can be less scientific and use the London Underground map.

(Click on the map for a larger view.)

To get from Elvis to Isaac Hayes, you take the Blues/Country line and change at James Brown for the Funk line. Some performers offer more connections – they are more central or nodal.

The map was created by Dorian Lynskey in early 2006, so you probably already knew about it, but it was new to me. You might have mapped things differently. Lynskey has Michael Jackson on only one line (Soul) while Basemant Jaxx spans four (Electronica & Dance, Pop, Rock, Soul) and Bjork five.

If you don’t like Lynskey’s version, you can download the map into your graphics program and make your own.

1 comment:

E. said...

I love these "subway" maps so much, I want to print them out and frame them.