You can’t quantify music.
In the 80s, when MTV brought the artists into our lounge rooms, the charts and the sales were used to quantify what was successful.
But it doesn’t make sense a lot of the time.
A lot of artists from the 70s who didn’t have high charting albums proved to be very influential to a whole new generation of music fans in the 80s.
Just because a track reaches #1 it doesn’t mean it’s better than a track which doesn’t get to Number 1.
Quiet Riot went to Number 1, but on Spotify, “Cum On Feel The Noize” has 136 million streams and “Bang Your Head” has 40 million.
Meanwhile, Ozzy didn’t go to Number 1 with the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album but “Crazy Train” has almost 280 million views.
Obviously what is good is in the eye of the beholder. It’s up to us to define and not for someone else to define for us.
Today there are ten year olds who can shred like Eddie Van Halen.
Does it mean they are better than EVH?
And they can’t write at this point in time.
Then again according to DLR and Sammy Hagar, EVH had to get reined in when it came to putting riffs together for songs. VH3 is the result of an unchained EVH. But without him, culture and guitar playing would be very different.
Someone like Pete Way passed away recently, and 99% of the music consumers wouldn’t even know or care who he is. But to others he is monumental.
These kind of people are progenitors. They don’t often get the acclaim they deserve. Or they might get a victory lap or an award way down the line.
But without them, history would be different.
Like Pete Green. He didn’t have the sales on his resume, but he was the influence to a lot of artists who had the sales on their resume.