The difference between you and me, though, is I say "tough shit" to the context. I say it to The Who and I say it to the black artists. Tough shit. That's the way it went down. Maybe it isn't fair, but that's the way it is. I don't come in here trying to give a handicap to The Who saying that they weren't on a level playing field with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the USA and all their huge UK hits should count for more. But that's basically exactly what you're saying when it comes to a black artist charting poorly in the UK. It's a double standard. And so is your concerts argument.
Really? This coming from the same person who, over the years, has systematically attempted to include every possible advantage into already established criteria that would help a single band that you worship? Sorry, not buying it. If you are suggesting that you'd be just as vociferous about somehow including concert ticket sales if the Who drew as many fans as the Grass Roots then you're a liar. Every single quote you dredge up is to improve the Who's standing. Every single reference you use benefits the Who. Now you're saying you're fair and objective? No way. You killed your own credibility regarding the Who long ago. I even told you that you were doing it and that it'd be to your advantage if you stopped talking about them entirely, but you can't help yourself. Anytime you sense their status being threatened you lash out.
But as for the context of things. That is the single most important thing in ranking ANYTHING. If you were to rank baseball players by sheer career statistics and NOT take into account the era they played in, as well as the ballpark conditions, opposition, etc. you'd have a faulty list. If you ranked Greatest Presidents and had the relatively calm two-terms of Dwight Eisenhower ranked higher than Abraham Lincoln, who presided over a Civil War, because you couldn't care less about the context in which the two men did their jobs, you'd be an idiot. Of course context matters. It matters more than anything else because 1948 and 2012 are not the same. In 1965 hit singles stayed on the charts just about ten weeks because every major artist was releasing newly written and recorded songs about every eight to ten weeks, radio played songs from ALL styles of rock, meaning there was far more diverse competition for airplay and always newer songs coming out to claim another spot in the playlist, and because touring was not done the same way as it is now, so the emphasis on recording was greater. By contrast, decades later, artists were releasing new material far less often, trying to maximize album sales rather than sell singles, touring for a year or two on the back of it to reap more money, thus staying out of the studio for that entire time, and radio had split into demographic based formats allowing hit songs to stay on the charts much, much longer because alternative songs were ONLY competing with other alternative songs for space on alternative-based radio, and hard-rock songs were vying for airtime only with other hard-rock songs. But if you want to delusionally pretend these things don't matter, and all things are equal, then Satisfaction (#1 for 4 weeks, charted for just 14) gets crushed in Commercial Impact by Flo Rida's "Low", which charted for forty weeks, including ten at #1. Yeah, that wouldn't be TOO controversial.
Overall in terms of context, race plays only one part in it, amidst a myriad of other, equally important, aspects that have to be taken into consideration. Independent record labels in America in the 60's did not waste money releasing records in Great Britain because they didn't have enough cash (or reliable collection methods overseas) to be able to afford it. A record can't very well become a hit if it's unavailable in a country. That's a business reality, not racial. Certain popular white styles of rock do not get played on radio often because there's no format for them. That's not racial either, but it absolutely has to be taken into account, otherwise you're ignoring the reality of the situation. The Kinks were banned from America for a few years, yet were popular in the U.S. before that as well as after it. To not take that into consideration would be insane. But so too would claiming that concert ticket sales are, in of themselves, reliable measures of the supreme popularity of all artists equally, even though there are decades of professionally compiled studies showing that it unquestionably benefit only certain eras, styles and demographics.
Every artist can only deal with the circumstances of their time. Singles-era artists had different commercial benchmarks than album-era artists, one nighters on the chitlin circuit is a different reality than corporate driven world tours, exposure on TV or the movies in 1954 is not the same as exposure in 1984 when MTV ruled. Everything changes and to ignore those changes is to re-write history to suit only a specific perspective. That's why you need to put everything in context. It determines simply how well every artist did in relation to their own time and stylistic expectations, whether they fell short of the accepted standards, met those standards or far surpassed them. After all, the ultimate goal is to be as accurate as possible and for the rankings to be truly reflective of what someone actually did, not someone's interpretation of what they did based on faulty logic and historical ignorance.