Friday, September 19, 2008

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Billboard Hot 100 Poll, Thank You

Last week, Billboard magazine published the list of the Hot 100's top 100 songs from the chart's first 50 years, August 1958 through July 2008. As many of you know, the list is based purely on chart performance and has nothing to do with the creative merits of a song (after all, "You Light Up My Life" by one of Pat's daughters came in at #7). This means that there are scores of artists who are barely represented on the list or don't show up at all. Another thing to consider is that until December 1998, a song did not appear on the Hot 100 until a retail single was released. This explains why a popular album track such as Led Zepellin's Stairway To Heaven did not make the list.

As lists tend to do, the Hot 100's top 100 songs chart sparked some angry comments. After reading some of the comments, I shook my head and went into my "Ren" voice and said "You eeeediot!" It was apparent that some of the commenters didn't bother reading the FAQ page that explained how the chart was determined. Not only that, but some of the artists they were saying should have been on the list (for example, Depeche Mode, Black Sabbath, and The Smiths) made absolutely no sense. It's not that those artists aren't any good, it's just that they were never known for their pop chart dominance.

If you are interested in seeing the entire Hot 100 list (as well as reader comments), click here. At the top of the page is a "Read the FAQ" link that explains how the chart was compiled. In case you are wondering, my poll is listed by ranking from 1-5.

11 comments:

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Ugh. I can't handle this list. Its just silly. Sigh. Its hard for me to overlook talent for popularity.

Bryan said...

WTF? Nirvana changed the entire music scene. How can they not be in the top 10?

The maca-freakin-raina. ugh

pussreboots said...

Santana. The rest is "just silly" as barbara points out.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

This list made me laugh. Which is why the music industry is in the toilet.

Thembi said...

How did any Rob Thomas anything get on here?

Candy Minx said...

Fascinating.

I voted for "Mack The Knife".

I think it is a really good song in that it sets up an emotional expectation and then delivers.

It one song that I actually find I can enjoy a lot of different versions...from Sonny Rollins to a duet with Jimmy Buffet and Frank Sinatra.

Jessica said...

I agree with the others--I don't like what this list is based on.

X. Dell said...

Tough choice between Carlos and Bobby.

Actually, the Billboard charts aren't an indicator of popularity. Even with the introduction of SoundScan in 1991, it's really been more a reflection of industry (radio and record) enthusiasm about a single as opposed to actual public enthusiasm. That the song "You Light Up My Life" rates so highly stems from the fact that it spent a record number of weeks at #1 in 1977. Truth be told, however, the structure of the industry at the time had more to do with that chart plcement than actual sales, although sales for that particular single were decent. Other singles, however, couldnt recoop the investment in independent promotion. The industry referred to them back in the day as "negative hits."

Malcolm said...

Barbara: I used to get pissed when I would consider some of the acts whose talents rarely translated into chart success. Although I still get a little mad, I pretty much take it for what it is.

Bryan: Nirvana's absense from the the top 10 of this list wasn't a surprise to me at all. Without a doubt, they changed popular music. But I don't think they were built for massive mainstream appeal. Having said that, what they accomplished in a short amount of time will never be forgotten.

Pussreboots: Don't tell me you're knocking "The Twist" and "Mack the Knife". :-)

Mistress of the D: I knew you'd get a laugh from this list.

Thembi: The only thing I've ever liked that Rob Thomas had anything to do with is "Smooth" and that's mostly because of the guitar work of Carlos Santana. As for Rob's work with Matchbox 20, ehh.

Candy: I totally agree with you in your assessment of Mack the Knife (setting up an emotional expectation and delivering). I never thought of it that way until now.

Jessica: If you ever really want to get pissed off, go out and buy a reference book that details the Billboard Top 40/Hot 100.

X. Dell: Did you wind up flipping a coin to decide whether Bobby or Carlos got your vote?

You brought up an interesting point about the Billboard chart/record industry. The thing is, a majority of the public will often swallow what the industry feeds them (regardless of its taste). There have been times in the past when a DJ/the public will intervene and make the industry switch gears. An example is when a jock would favor the B-side instead of the A or when they would accidentally play the flip side and the listeners would light up the phones requesting it get played again.

Not too long ago I was talking with one of my older brothers and he was lamenting the fact that there were many artists during the 1950s and 1960s who were talented, but only had one sizable hit. I agreed and added someting that you touched on in your comments. A lot of those acts were with small independent labels that didn't have adequate funds to promote them. Sometimes the record even died on its way up the charts because the label folded once it ran out of money.

X. Dell said...

No coin flip. Ouija board.

Just kidding. I agree wholeheartedly. People don't generally realize that a single doesn't appear on the charts because it's necessarily popular, and it doesn't rise because people actually buy it. I liken it to a turtle sitting on a fence post. You know he didn't get there by himself. Someone had to put him there. Same with hit records. So in a sense, this top-100 list is an ironically accurate reflection of industry hype.

But I still went for Carlos.

Pop Art Diva! said...

Lists are like awards - they never tell the whole truth and politics always rears it's ugly head!!

I had to vote for Mack The Knife - I loved that song and the jazzy way Bobby Darin sang it.

"Oh, the shark, babe,
has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white!"

 
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