I’ve got to give props to my big bro Matt Wardlaw for the find here.
I’m a Billboard chart nerd (as you might be able to tell from my incredibly wordy and nerdy Chart Stalker columns). I’ve at one point or another owned just about every Joel Whitburn book. When I got fired from Tower Records in 1996, to console myself, I took the very little savings I had and blew $100 on a book that listed every Top 100 singles chart of the Eighties. I occasionally look up old issues of Billboard on Google Reader. Yeah, that’s how nerdy I am.
Rick Dees’ Weekly Top 40 was sort of the redheaded stepchild to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 in much the same way that Radio & Records magazine (the publication that Dees’ show drew it’s data from) was the redheaded stepchild to Billboard (which AT40 used for it’s charts). Nevertheless, as an avid listener to radio Top 40 charts from, say, 1983 to 1993 (and occasionally after), there were plenty of times I sat and listened to both. I’d sit at my desk on Sunday mornings, hand on the pause button of my boombox as I taped every song on the chart I hadn’t already gotten off the radio.
Well, at Dees’ website, you can relive those memories. There’s a selection of several original broadcasts starting from early 1985. I’ve only listened to a couple (and hope to listen to a couple more when hanging out with Wardlaw in Cleveland soon), but it’s so cool to be able to listen to these shows with (in most cases) two decades of musical knowledge and perspective. The jokes are usually corny (and in some cases, way more un-PC than I remember them), and I never noticed Dees’ borderline annoying habit of repeating words from the songs when announcing them on the show, but these shows are golden.
And for someone who fancies himself pretty much an authority when it comes to Top 40 pop music of the Eighties and Nineties, it’s always interesting to discover songs I don’t remember hearing before, like Robert Plant’s “Tall Cool One” (a song I remember the existence of, but don’t think I’d actually heard before) or Bardeux’s “When We Kiss”. I swear I never heard this one on the radio ONCE.
If you feel the need to geek out on music like I do, you’ll appreciate these broadcasts. Thanks, Matt, for making me aware!
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