Senior Moments: Why More Albums by Middle-Aged Artists Like Tom Petty and “Weird Al” Are Hitting No. 1

These aging acts, who defy the charts’ reification of youth, resist easy categorization or examination. Normally, when chart analysts like me describe a shift in trends, we refer to the epochal switch Billboard made in 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan data was baked into its charts and changed everything we know about how hit records are made. This is not one of those cases. While SoundScan did make it easier for acts of any age to debut at No. 1, in most instances those debuts were by artists under 40—right through the end of the 1990s, youth still ruled on the Billboard 200. (The age question isn’t worth exploring before SoundScan, either—when John Fogerty made “comeback” headlines in 1985 by topping the chart with Centerfield, he was a ripe old 39.)

via Pitchfork.

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