Someone I work with and occasionally exchange emails with about music, sent me this great story. He said it might have some blog material. And he was right.

It was from a website called and it had to do with the kind of music you listen to and your IQ.

I wasn’t surprised that it stated country music and hip-hop fans were at the bottom of the list.

I’m guessing heavy metal fans aren’t too far behind (at this point I should note: no offense to anyone reading that may be a fan of these genres; my favorite group, The Doors, shows their fans rank on the low end of the classic rock scale).

But you could just look at news stories to see these stats being true. Take Metallica. I just heard on CNN that a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student disappeared after attending a concert. Be on the look-out for a cute blonde in a Pantera T-shirt and black mini skirt, with knee high boots.

There was a cop in Massachusetts back in April at a Metallica show. He got thrown out for urinating on fans (and tried to get back in by showing his badge). He was fined $2,500 and had to take alcohol counseling. I’m hoping he’s not still on the force. I also wonder about someone he pulls over getting out of line. Does he threaten to pull out his mace or pull out his….

I remember hearing about a fan that fell to their death at a Metallica concert years ago.

Just imagine what kinds of stories I could find if I picked a country or hip-hop group.

The funny thing about this story is they talk so much about Radiohead, a band that’s good, but doesn’t deserve the hype the critics bestow upon them. The photo of singer Thom Yorke, looks like a person on stage with Downs Syndrome.

The study looked an internet data bases, ipod selections, SAT scores…all in a very unscientific (but fun) way. They got the favorite bands of students at over 1,300 colleges, and looked at SAT scores.

Classic-rock fans seemed to straddle both sides, with Aerosmith, The Doors, and Queen at the low end (dang it! I love Queen, too).

The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Elton John are near the smart end of the scale (but really, who doesn’t like those bands?).

The dumbest thing about this is the speculation that the music could “muck up a students test taking abilities” or destroy brain cells.

I’ve always said dumb people like dumb movies. And they speculate that dumb people like dumb music. As funny as that is…I have to think if you grew up in some place like Texas, and were exposed to country music at an early age, it’s the genre you are probably going to like as an adult – high IQ or not.

And why the surprise that lyric driven stuff has higher IQ fans then the beat driven tunes? Some fans are going to want to dissect and appreciate interesting word play. The other fans want to get on a dance floor and grind (in my best Seinfeld voice: Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

I wonder what Josh Groban and Ludacris will think when they see their fans fall in the dumb category.

A few of the artists that fall into the various categories:

Dumb groups: Lil Wayne, Justin Timberlake, Brad Paisley, Eminem, Foo Fighters, and Nickelback.

Smart groups: U2, Beethoven (well, duh), Dylan, Beatles, Grateful Dead (huh?!), Bowie, and Hendrix.

C students: AC/DC, Pearl Jam, and two that anyone (even the fans on the dumb list) probably could’ve guessed – The Eagles and Journey.


towelheadedcameljockey Oct. 19, 2009 @ 3:10 p.m.

"The other fans want to get on a dance floor and grind" - where's the study for people's use of words and age? There was this kid in my 3rd grade class who I'd always trade music with. I remember he wanted my "License To Ill" and I wanted to hear his "Dr Feelgood", so we traded. I never got my tape back, he ended up leaving to study at our local college then off to Johns Hopkins he went while we all made our way over to Middle School. I should have kept that damn tape.


Russ Lewis Oct. 19, 2009 @ 8:49 p.m.

What surprised me most was the Doors correlating with low SAT scores. I've always thought of them as brainy rock though maybe not cerebral. Wonder what kind of scores fans of the Loud Family or the Negro Problem get.

I used to wonder which kills more brain cells: rap or metal. I'm now convinced it's rap. First, there's metal and there's metal. There's very sophisticated, intricate stuff with a high degree of musicianship, and then there's Sabbath. With rap, you've got words and a beat. Melody, harmony, and actual singing can go to hell. Mind-numbing stuff.

I'd hate to hear what they'd say about my favorite group, the Stooges. They probably appeal to dirthead intellectuals.


PistolPete Oct. 19, 2009 @ 10:14 p.m.

The Doors were overrated. I searched for but just came up with a bunch of sites about Michigan.


PistolPete Oct. 19, 2009 @ 11:17 p.m.

Hmmmmmm....I guess I'm average since there are roughly 100 genres of music and I can find at least one artist/song from each that I'll like.


Russ Lewis Oct. 20, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

Yeah, nobody said it was scientific, which is a good thing, 'cause nobody's gonna tell me the Doors are for boneheads. And everybody knows there are exceptions; there are some damn smart hip-hoppers out there. (Never met one, but I'm sure there are.) (Oh wait, yes I have.) Still, it would make a great project for someone to analyze this more systematically and see what it tells us, if anything.

For what it's worth, one of my favorite podcasts comes from Stanford University. It's called Entitled Opinions (look for it on iToons) and is hosted by Robert Harrison, the hypereducated head of the Italian department, who is as likely to quote Jim Morrison or Frank Zappa as he is Dante or Heidegger. (Past topics have included Bocaccio, Henry James, and ancient Athenian democracy.) He also properly asserts that the Doors were godlike and that Jimi Hendrix was the 20th Century reincarnation of Mozart. Interesting guy. Proof that pop muzik doesn't make everybody stupid.


Adam92102 Oct. 20, 2009 @ 12:15 a.m.

I will completely agree that this type of story is blog-worthy. However, I want to point out that whoever wrote the story back in Michigan is far from a journalist, especially one who deserves to have a job after this mess.

First, the story is about an "unscientific" study. Ok, stop right there because I can't see past all the red flags. And that word was in the actual title of the article. Once I saw that the article immediately lost all credibility.

Second, I wish people would quit associating intelligence with music listened to. No, Judas Priest is not to blame for that dumbass that committed suicide. Also, Paul is NOT dead. Look, the world is full of either idiots or geniuses. To determine who is who by what music they listen to is as bad as stereotyping races. And that's all this article seems to enforce.

Third, the article never mentioned or even gave any links to the study itself. How many participants were there? Who funded it? What was the original thesis? Were there any age factors included? And the biggest question of all... why?

The editor of MLive needs to be fired. Or at least give everyone an apology for feeling this was an article worthy of publishing. Oh, and to use Thom Yorke in the article's picture was a gross mistake. Think what you want of Radiohead but you'll be hard-pressed to find lyrics and music as intricate and meaningful. Yeah, the guy looks creepy but so does Stephen Hawkin. Are we going to start making fun of him, too?


Russ Lewis Oct. 20, 2009 @ 12:38 a.m.

"Third, the article never mentioned or even gave any links to the study itself."

Follow the link again. It's at the bottom of the page. Takes you right to the study itself.


Adam92102 Oct. 20, 2009 @ 12:48 a.m.

Ah, ok. I stand corrected on the actual "study" being listed. Thanks for pointing that out.

I went to this Virgil's website and while I may not have found anything on there that stood out enough to make me want to hunt this guy down, I still got a gross vibe from his page. He just seemed like a pretty annoying person. Maybe he's a ridiculously nice guy. Who knows? But this "study" he did... sorry, it's pretty stupid in itself. I'd really like to see Virgil's album collection.

I think what's so bothersome is that for some reason, this "study" just gnaws away at me and I don't know why. It's one of those ideas someone comes up with while drunk at a party but never follows through with. Except this d-bag actually did. And for some reason, it really bothers me... ha. Sigh....


Russ Lewis Oct. 20, 2009 @ 12:51 a.m.

"This 'study' just gnaws away at me and I don't know why." If you get it figured out, let us know.


magicsfive Oct. 20, 2009 @ 7:11 a.m.

i don't have the strength...i still love you. :)


Josh Board Oct. 20, 2009 @ 9:07 a.m.

Pete...I think there will always be a few "guilty pleasure" songs people like, and I don't think that's what they mean. You could like a certain rap song, or a few songs by Black Sabbath, but that doesn't mean you're a fan of that band (ie they would be considered your favorite band of all-time). bring up a good point, that a fan of Judas Priest killed themself while listening to their music, but then Beatles fans in the 60s thought that Paul had died and been replaced with a lookalike (that sounded very similar, too; what a coincidence for the Fab Four!) And yes, there are probably smart people that listen to Lil Wayne, and dumb people that listen to Dylan (they just might not say it's because of the lyrics, but his great vocals).

But I definitely think there's probably something to all this.

If you were to take a thousand people leaving a Dylan concert, and compare their intelligence with a thousand people leaving a Lil Wayne concert....are you trying to tell me that all across the board, things will be equal? Some dumb people, some smart people, some average people? Sorry, but it won't happen in the same kind of numbers.

My reason for guessing this? Well, when the news crews go do a story outside the venue (of both that I listed), one has fans jumping around behind the camera acting goofy, or running up to the reporter yelling crap into the microphone. The other group of fans consists of people merely walking by, not paying much attention to the reporter, unless stopped and asked to comment.

Again, that's the most unscientific research ever. I'm just sayin'


Josh Board Oct. 20, 2009 @ 9:08 a.m.

Oh...also, Thom York wasn't used in that photo because he looked weird. That was my comment. He was used because Radiohead is on the intelligent list.


Josh Board Oct. 20, 2009 @ 11:42 p.m.

Ya know another thing I was thinking today. Well, only two cars passed me by with music blaring. One had hip-hop, so loud I'm not sure how the woofers didn't pop the dudes ear drums. And heavy metal, so loud I can't figure out how blood wasn't squirting out the chicks ears.

And, I think I mentioned never hear the Beatles blaring from a car stereo. I'm guessing you don't hear Vivaldi's wonderful Mandolin Concerto, either.

And don't tell me classical music doesn't work well blasted. Put on some Wagner, and you'll see it can.

It's just the level of intelligence by the music listener. I mean, comedian Jeanine Garafollo said she loved Weezer, but they were too loud in concert.


Russ Lewis Oct. 20, 2009 @ 11:56 p.m.

Yeah, somebody wrote years ago that if you want to turn heads, forget about blasting rap or metal out the car windows. Pull up along, say, Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, roll down the windows, turn on the car stereo with the louder-than-bombs speakers, and play some classical. For the neighbors. THAT will get attention.


PistolPete Oct. 21, 2009 @ 1:05 a.m.

I've been known to blast Ralph Stanley at two in the morning drunk off my a$$ while driving. My favorite to blast at the gas station while filling up was this:


Russ Lewis Oct. 21, 2009 @ 2:56 p.m.

Good choice, Pete. The Ralph Stanley, not the drunk driving. And that's DOCTOR Ralph Stanley to you.


PistolPete Oct. 21, 2009 @ 3:07 p.m.

Ironically,while driving drunk and blasting Dr.Stanley,I recommend this....


PistolPete Oct. 21, 2009 @ 3:09 p.m.

This was another great tune to pump up the volume on while drunk joyriding....


Russ Lewis Oct. 21, 2009 @ 3:25 p.m.

(#19) Excellent version, but the Blind Boys of Alabama do a MONSTER version of that song. The Lemon Groove Library has it.


cardig Oct. 27, 2009 @ 2:26 p.m.

Josh wrote.."are you trying to tell me that all across the board, things will be equal"

I am not disagreeing, but.... There is a huge difference in the average fan of Lil Wayne and Dylan....AGE That may have something to do with the studies results.


Josh Board Oct. 29, 2009 @ 2:09 a.m.

That's a good point, cardig. But I believe this (unscientific study) looked at SAT scores as the main gage.

And, age wouldn't really matter much, either. I've met some old Grateful Dead fans, that have the IQ of a spoonful of Ben & Jerry's.

  • New Offense Apology: I apologies to all those I offended in this blog: Dead heads, Ben and/or Jerry, fans of Lil Wayne, Adam, PistolPete, Magic, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, Pearl Jam, Journey (most specifically, singer Steve Perry), The Eagles (aside from Joe Walsh), and all fans of country music and rap.

You really need to read, the whole blog

(my apologies to radio team Frosty, Heidi, and Frank, who I stole this ending from!)


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