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Friday, June 06, 2014

Garcia and Marley

At some point I will write up Garcia's engagements with reggae. It's an interesting story, really revelatory.

In the meantime, on a lark, I played with Google Ngram for these two. Ngrams are a very neat tool.

Figure xxx. Google Bigram: Bob Marley and Jerry Garcia, 1965-1981

The vertical is the percentage of all consecutive two-word phrases in English language books from the given year, digitized by Google (all of them, pretty much, by the 1970s), comprised by the respect phrases "Jerry Garcia" and "Bob Marley".

This metric is good to compare over time appearance of the phrase (of N components, hence Ngram) (look at the sharp Marley trajectory to his passing, and Garcia's relative stability to this point).  Hypothesis: "Grateful Dead" will reveal this same kind of trend as Garcia; both will spike up 1986ff.

But it's also good to compare cross-sectionally, i.e., Garcia and Marley. Very simply, the picture says that Garcia was more popular earlier in this series, their stardom paths crossed in 1973, and Marley soared to greater fame until his death, while Garcia's level was established around 1973 and stayed steady during the rest of the period to 1981.


  1. What is on the vertical? What ae we tracking through the years? Record sales??

    1. Frequency of phrases "Jerry Garcia" and "Bob Marley" as percent all two word in all digitized English language books.

  2. Enjoyed recent speculation on whether Garcia attended oct 73 marley shows at the matrix, harder they come predates this. Family man says he was guest at November 73 concert and garcia offered to lend them the dreads sound system!,,


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