Golden Oldies Lyrics Quiz
General Rules

Version 2.10 — Oct. 20, 2012


  1. Introduction
  2. Quiz Format
  3. Usage Criteria for Regular Recordings and Tie-Breakers
  4. Alphabetization
  5. Artist Re-use
  6. Song Re-use
  7. Songs Recorded by Multiple Artists
  8. Submitting Quiz Entries
  9. Scoring
  10. The Used Recordings List
  11. Revision History

1. Introduction

The goal of the Golden Oldies Lyrics Quizzes (GOLQs) is to have fun sharing music trivia and memories from the Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll while challenging both novices' and experts' abilities to identify songs and artists from golden oldies lyrics.

These rules have been devised and revised over time by Rick Schubert, Barry Silk, Howard Teitelbaum, Ron Crandall, Carole Hanrahan, Jamie Lubin, Marc Dashevsky, Bob Bluestein, and others. They are based on earlier quiz rules by David Griboff and Valentino Herrera. Extensive revisions in Version 2 were by Bob Bluestein.

The GOLQ home page is at An archive of all previous quizzes and answer keys/results may be found there.

2. Quiz Format

Each GOLQ contains portions of the lyrics (or occasionally URLs pointing to MP3 music clips from the recordings themselves) from 25 regular recordings and two tie-breakers. The object of the quizzes is for entrants to identify these recordings by song title and artist's name. The regular recordings are sorted alphabetically by artist. The tie-breakers are not in the alphabetical mix with the others; they, too, are sorted alphabetically by artist, but only with respect to one another.

Each regular recording is worth 20 points: 10 for a correct song title, 10 for a correct artist's name. Partial credit is given for imperfect answers. Each tie-breaker is marked only as correct, partly correct, wrong, or no guess. Tie-breaker answers are used only to help break a numeric tie in the regular portion of a quiz.

For the purposes of these quizzes, the song title and artist's name, exactly as listed on the original record, are considered a recording's correct song title and artist's name. When a quiz master does not have access to an original record, the authority used is the most current available version of Joel Whitburn's book, Top Pop Singles, barring evidence that it is inaccurate. (The book may be purchased through the Record Research web site.) Please take care to submit answers as close as possible to the correct ones.

Although most quiz recordings used will have peaked in the top 25 or so, expect a few recordings on any given GOLQ that will challenge the experts. Most recordings will be rock 'n' roll or R&B, but some may be included merely by virtue of being rock 'n' roll era recordings (crossover country hits, novelty recordings, spoken narrations, etc.).

3. Usage Criteria for Regular Recordings and Tie-Breakers

For the purposes of the GOLQs, a recording is defined as a particular track off a phonographic record. A regular recording is a recording which appeared at any time from 1955 through 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart or its logical predecessors either as:

Tie-breakers are tracks which do not meet the criteria for use as regular recordings. Unless otherwise specified in a quiz's preface, tie-breakers were recorded or issued sometime from 1945 through 1969. (However, a quiz master is allowed full discretion in awarding no, partial, or full artist credit for versions of the correct song not matching the given time frame.) The vast majority of tie-breakers are cuts of significant rock 'n' roll interest or popularity, or have a strong connection to rock 'n' roll or its roots in R&B or C&W.

Each quiz will list in its quiz banner—along with GOLQ number and due date—specific banner years, namely, the particular range of years spanned by that quiz's regular recordings. The years contributing to this range are those that recordings #1-25 first appeared on the 1955-1969 Billboard pop charts. Note that any 1954/55 recording thus contributes the year 1955 to this range.

4. Alphabetization

The artists' names used to alphabetize GOLQ recordings are the artists' full names as they actually appear on the original records. When a quiz master does not have access to an original record, Top Pop Singles is used, barring evidence that this source is incorrect.

Recordings are alphabetized without regard to upper/lower case according to the following rules:

If a particular person's (such as lead singer's) name is used as all or part of the artist's name, the following alphabetization rules apply:

For example:

Artist Alphabetized Under
Little Peggy March March
Buddy Holly & the Crickets Holly
Martha & the Vandellas Martha
Sir Douglas Quintet Sir
Little Anthony and the Imperials Little
The Crickets featuring Buddy Holly Crickets

A note about last names: “Simon, Paul” sorts before “Simon & Garfunkel” (even though “Paul” sorts after “And”) because “Simon, Paul” is alphabetized under the primary category “Simon”. Amongst Simons, however, “Paul” follows “Joe”.

Gimmicky or non-standard format names are generally alphabetized as spelled. Thus, for example, “Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans” fits alphabetically after (in order) “Bo, Eddie”, “Bob & Earl”, and “Bobbettes, The”, and before “Bond, Johnny”.

For ambiguous alphabetization cases, the sorting scheme employed is that of the most recent versions of Top Pop Singles. If you don't have this book, the best advice is to use the publicly-available GOLQ Used Recordings List as a guide to alphabetization precedents already set. (See Section 10 for the format of and instructions for obtaining this list.)

5. Artist Re-use

Artists may be repeated from previous GOLQs, but an artist will not be used more than once on any given quiz. Even essentially equivalent artists will not be used on the same quiz. (While the phrase “essentially equivalent” is subject to quiz master interpretation, a useful guideline might be that the artists “Buddy Holly” and “The Crickets” should not appear on the same quiz, but “The Byrds” and “Crosby [ex-Byrd], Stills & Nash” may.)

Different artists coincidentally having the same name may coexist on a quiz; they will appear in the chronological order of the chart debut dates of their recordings on the quiz.

6. Song Re-use

A song may not be re-used on a quiz until two years later (i.e., as measured by the due dates of the quizzes). For this purpose, essentially equivalent recordings such as Jay & the Americans' She Cried and The Shangri-Las' He Cried (a female remake) are considered different versions of the same song; thus, for example, if one of these were used on a quiz whose due date was 31 January 2012, neither recording would be usable again on a quiz whose due date was on or before 31 January 2014.

Recordings coincidentally having the same song title are under no such re-use constraints.

7. Songs Recorded by Multiple Artists

If a song has been issued as a recording with the given lyrics by more than one artist, and those recordings all fit the criteria for being on the quiz, then a correct response is one whose artist fits alphabetically between the artists of the adjoining actual answers. If you don't know which artist fits alphabetically because you have not identified the adjoining artists, you may include multiple artists in your entry, but you are guaranteed full credit only if you include an alphabetically appropriate artist.

The quiz master will use judgement in awarding no, partial, or full artist credit for answers naming only performers of song versions not containing the exact given lyrics.

8. Submitting Quiz Entries

To submit an entry to the current GOLQ, append your answers to the quiz lines that begin #xx),  where xx is either 01 through 25 or T1 or T2 (representing tie-breakers 1 and 2). Answer lines should be of the form:

#xx) Artist: "Song Title"

Please delete the original lyrics; the quiz master will look for lines beginning with #xx) (possibly preceded by a greater-than sign or a blank space). Any interesting artist- or song-related information or general quiz comments are welcome; they may even end up included in the publicly posted quiz answers/results. For proper credit, include the following information on your quiz entry:

Name(s) =
E-mail address =
Age(s) [will be published if filled in] =
Number of people (including you) who contributed to your answers =

Please do so by including these four lines and appending each response to its line.

Always e-mail (never post) your answers; make sure to e-mail early—there are often delays. The quiz master's address to which entries should be sent (along with the quiz deadline and any other information specifically relevant to the current GOLQ, such as possible themes or year range hints) is included in the preface to the quiz.

9. Scoring

Quiz entries are graded by the quiz master, and the results are posted shortly after the quiz's deadline. Regular recordings are graded on a 0-20 scale, and tie-breakers are marked either + (correct), - (partly correct), x (wrong), or . (no guess). As a (far-fetched) illustration, if a few competing GOLQ entries all had the 25 regular recordings identified correctly (500 points), their final rankings would depend on their relative successes in identifying the tie-breakers, and the top of the standings might look like:

1AA500++  A perfect score
2BB500-+  Near perfect: T1 only partly correct
T3CC500+.  T1: correct, T2: no guess; tied for 3rd
T3DD500x+  T1: wrong, T2: correct; tied for 3rd

It should be noted that while tie-breakers are marked only by symbol, they are graded numerically by quiz masters, so that in different instances the symbols -- may rank higher than, even with, or lower than the symbols +. while the symbols x- may rank higher than, even with, or lower than another entrant's symbols of x- depending on the degrees of partial credit awarded by the quiz master.

10. The Used Recordings List

The GOLQ Used Recordings List contains an up-to-date table of all recordings which have been used on quizzes since GOLQ #001. The list is available at The recordings are listed alphabetically by artist's name and, within the listings for a given artist's name, by song title. Next to each recording's artist and song title are two columns, one for the recording's chart years and one for the GOLQs on which it has been used. A listing sorted by song title may be displayed by clicking on the caption of the title column.

11. Revision History

Version Date Comments
2.8 01 May 2006
2.9 24 May 2009 Rule 6: Removed "lyrics must be essentially different" restriction.
2.10 20 Oct 2012 Rule 6: Changed 50-quiz re-use rule to two years.


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