Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday
In my youth, I was an avid follower of Billboard. After all, it's where Casey Kasem got his stats for "American Top Forty." In my disk jockey tenure, every two years, I'd pick up the latest copy of Joel Whitburn's "Billboard's Top 40" guide. It was almost a necessity in AC and Top 40 radio, so that when someone requested a one hit wonder or wanted to hear a song by an artist and it "wasn't their big hit, but it was still pretty popular", you had the answer at your fingertips.
This was back in the 80's and 90's, when I enjoyed a good percentage of what comprised the Top 40 charts. My career in radio was short lived-the lure of a real paycheck was too great. Soon after, I stopped following the Billboard magazine or charts. Poor Joel Whitburn no longer got the royalties from my purchase of the 19.95 softcover copy of his guide biannually. Billboard and I had to agree to disagree. I'd come to the conclusion that just because it was popular, didn't mean it was worth listening to. This was a conclusion Ed had arrived at long before I did, and I'm telling you that before he places it in the comments.
Last month, I was over in Tampa and picked up the free paper that I really miss, TBT. I like the sarcastic, edgy take on the news. (Mandy, I totally see you working for this paper!) They find the wackiest stuff to report on, as well as simplifying Tampa news for those who don't have the time to take in the full size newspaper. (oh, and the pop culture updates are hilarious!)
The day I picked up a copy, the cover was "Pop Quiz" and listed Billboard's list of the ten greatest songs of all time. I looked at it and only three qualified in my humble opinion. Then again, I'm not paid to decide these things, the wonks at Billboard are. They based it on radio airplay and sales. The problem is that that data was not collected in the same way as it was even 18 years ago. Jukebox plays have become irrelevant, and Nielsen is used now, but wasn't then.
Are you curious about the list? If you go to their website, tbt's blogger. weighs in on the subject, but you can find the complete list over at Billboard's site.
I'm already long winded enough, so I'll just go into the Top Twenty. Again, I'm not a paid expert in the music field, and you'll probably see why after I rant and rave at the selections!
In descending order:
20. How Deep is Your Love-The Bee Gees.
Okay, I can agree with this one being in the top 20. Saturday Night Fever is a time capsule movie: an accurate portrayal of the disco scene and the music was another example of excellent casting. No rants here.
19. Le Freak-Chic This song also fits on the list, because the summer it was released, it was on the air EVERYWHERE on the NY radio dial. Initially written by Nile Rodgers as "F*ck Off" when he was refused entry at Studio 54, he got the last laugh when it got lots of spins at the famed disco!
18. The Theme From 'A Summer Place'-Percy Faith and his Orchestra. Before my time, so I can't vouch for how popular it was, and those Joel Whitburn books are not handy to help me out, so I'll have to give this one a bye. I will say this, I don't think of "A Summer Place", I think of "Animal House" and Larry's Angel and Devil encounter!
17.I'll Make Love to You-Boys II Men Really? This is the best choice of their catalog? "End of the Road" didn't get more airplay? Really?
16. Everything I Do, I Do it For You-Bryan Adams Oh, crap, I forgot a whiny singer in that post a few weeks ago. Yes, this one is proof positive that just because it is played frequently doesn't always mean it is good. Ugh. This is the first example in this list of a song that was so annoying that I never bothered to see the movie, though in this case, I like most of the actors in it.
15.Foolish Games/You Were Meant For Me-Jewel
Yodeling does NOT belong in a top song of all time list. Anywhere. Any song with yodeling should be banished to the cutout bin, not rewarded with a slot in the best songs of all time.
14. Tonight's The Night-Rod Stewart Rod had jumped the shark before this song came out. Sorry, it doesn't make the cut. I think this was the pity slot, because people didn't request "You're In My Heart' enough to get him into Casey's end of year "Best of" version of "American Top 40".
13. Endless Love-Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie Pardon me, this paragraph is being preempted, because the author is in the bathroom puking her guts out because this song has now been earwigged into her head. Curse you, Billboard magazine.
12. Bette Davis Eyes-Kim Carnes I think Billboard feels bad for vocalists who sound like they gargled with some Draino, because Bryan and Rod are already here. Pretty woman, annoying voice. It shouldn't be on the list.
11. Yeah!- Usher, Feat, Lil John and Ludacris While it is rap with a melody, is it really worthy of the top 20? I can think of some Old School stuff that blows this away. Oh yeah, that's right, this is based on AIRPLAY, and other than NY, Philly and LA, no one knew who the Sugar Hill Gang was! The rest of these guys? Pale imitators and thus, they don't rate a slot on the list.
10. Un Break My Heart-Toni Braxton Okay, it's not what I'd put in the top 10, but she's pouring out her heart in that song. I guess we'll let it stay.
9. We Belong Together-Mariah Carey It's based on airplay, so I guess that she's got to be in the top 10, too. Doesn't mean that I have to like it. Thankfully, she's not squealing in the higher register that calls dogs in this one...
8.Hey Jude-the Beatles WTF???? Number 8???? And this is their ONLY entry in the top 20? What the hell is this crap? One song per artist? This list is BO GUS!
7. You Light Up My Life-Debby Boone Oh, uh UH! Debby Boone outranked the Beatles? ARE YOU FOR REAL?! What crack are they smoking at Billboard, anyway? (I prefer my best friend from that year's interpretation "You Light Up My Farts". Hey, we were 11, we were allowed.)
6. Physical-Olivia Newton-John Don't get me wrong, O N-J is sweet and is more worthy than many in the top 20, but AHEAD of the BEATLES? With a song about how much she wants to bed down this guy and 'get animal'? This is one of the top ten songs OF ALL TIME?
5. The Macarena-Los Del Rio Without this song, The Pros DJ service would be lost. Just put me out of my misery now, this song is representative of the best music? Can you imagine if aliens landed on our planet and Billboard played them the best music and played this little number? They'd set their weapons on kill before you could blink an eye. And we'd all be dead because of Billboard putting the qQ$$T$%WY%$Y%$^@%%^ Macarena on their BEST list!!!!
4. How Do I Live? LeAnn Rimes. This is just WRONG! The song was recorded by LeAnn, determined to be too Pop for the Con Air soundtrack (or in my not so humble opinion, was too bombastic and overwrought). She was asked to redo it and refused.
Diane Warren (the writer of the song) asked Trisha Yearwood to record it for the movie soundtrack. It was released and when Rimes heard it, quickly released it as a single, too. Hers outsold Yearwood's by 30 million, but Trisha got the Grammy.
Teeny boppers who have temper tantrums and ignore recording protocols do NOT earn a place on the best songs of all time. Best hissy fit of all time, probably.(besides that "Ever survive?" that's too weak on the version you've probably heard? It's much better on the one you probably haven't)
3.Mack the Knife-Bobby Darin This one definitely belongs here. Without a doubt.
2. Smooth-Santana with Rob Thomas How sad is it that Santana makes it on here when they have a guest vocalist? They should be here with "Oye Como Va" or something else, dammit!
At least I agree with the top slot.
1. The Twist-Chubby Checker Gotta give props to a guy who has more dancing ability in his little finger than I do in my whole body. Go ahead and tear the house down, Chubby, you deserved Number one.