Top 40

Last updated

In the music industry, the Top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.

Contents

History

According to producer Richard Fatherley, Todd Storz was the inventor of the format, at his radio station KOWH in Omaha, Nebraska. [1] Storz invented the format in the early 1950s, using the number of times a record was played on jukeboxes to compose a weekly list for broadcast. [2] The format was commercially successful, and Storz and his father Robert, under the name of the Storz Broadcasting Company, subsequently acquired other stations to use the new Top 40 format. In 1989, Todd Storz was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. [3] [4]

The term "Top 40", describing a radio format, appeared in 1960. [5] The Top 40, whether surveyed by a radio station or a publication, was a list of songs that shared only the common characteristic of being newly released. Its introduction coincided with a transition from the old ten-inch 78 rpm record format for single "pop" recordings to the seven-inch vinyl 45 rpm format, introduced in 1949, which was outselling it by 1954 and soon replaced it completely in 1958. The Top 40 thereafter became a survey of the popularity of 45 rpm singles and their airplay on the radio. Some nationally syndicated radio shows, such as American Top 40 , featured a countdown of the 40 highest ranked songs on a particular music or entertainment publication. Although such publications often listed more than 40 charted hits, such as the Billboard Hot 100, time constraints allowed for the airing of only 40 songs; hence, the term "top 40" gradually became part of the vernacular associated with popular music.

An article in the Spring 2012 issue of Nebraska History magazine offered this comment as to Todd Storz' legacy: "the radio revolution that Storz began with KOWH was already sweeping the nation. Thousands of radio station owners had realized the enormous potential for a new kind of radio. When television became popular, social monitors predicted that radio would die. However, because of the invention of Storz and others like him, radio would be reborn". [6]

Storz is credited by some sources as helping to popularize rock and roll music. By the mid-1950s, his station, and the numerous others which eventually adopted the Top 40 format, were playing records by artists such as "Presley, Lewis, Haley, Berry and Domino". [7] [8]

From the 1980s onwards, different recording formats have competed with the 45 rpm vinyl record. This includes cassette singles, CD singles, digital downloads and streaming. Many music charts changed their eligibility rules to incorporate some, or all, of these.

Some disc jockeys presenting Top 40 and similar format programs have been implicated in various payola scandals.

Music charts

Music charts and various radio programs adopt different chart formats including Top 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100 and 200 although radio formats usually restrict to the Top 40 wherever the chart contains more than 40 songs.

Radio format

Top 40 is also adopted to a radio format called Top 40 format, spinning mainly hits appearing in the official Top 40 charts of the country in addition to some upcoming hits that are greatly expected to get into the Top 40 imminently. The format is variously known also as CHR (contemporary hit radio), contemporary hits, hit list, current hits, hit music, top 40, or pop radio.

See also

Related Research Articles

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It originated from African-American music such as jazz, rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, gospel, as well as country music. While rock and roll's formative elements can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Rock Around the Clock American early rock and roll song

"Rock Around the Clock" is a rock and roll song in the 12-bar blues format written by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers in 1952. The best-known and most successful rendition was recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954 for American Decca. It was a number one single for two months and did well on the United Kingdom charts; the recording also reentered the UK Singles Chart in the 1960s and 1970s.

Easy listening Popular music genre

Easy listening is a popular music genre and radio format that was most popular during the 1950s to 1970s. It is related to middle-of-the-road (MOR) music and encompasses instrumental recordings of standards, hit songs, non-rock vocals and instrumental covers of selected popular rock songs. It mostly concentrates on music that pre-dates the rock and roll era, characteristically on music from the 1940s and 1950s. It was differentiated from the mostly instrumental beautiful music format by its variety of styles, including a percentage of vocals, arrangements and tempos to fit various parts of the broadcast day.

Soft rock is a derivative form of pop rock that originated in the late 1960s in the U.S. region of Southern California and in the United Kingdom. The style smoothed over the edges of singer-songwriter and pop rock, relying on simple, melodic songs with big, lush productions. Soft rock was prevalent on the radio throughout the 1970s and eventually metamorphosed into a form of the synthesized music of adult contemporary in the 1980s.

Layla Song written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon

"Layla" is a song written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, originally recorded by Derek and the Dominos, as the thirteenth track from their only studio album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). Its contrasting movements were composed separately by Clapton and Gordon. The piano part has also been controversially credited to Rita Coolidge, Gordon's girlfriend at the time.

Bill Drake, born Philip Yarbrough, was an American radio programmer who co-developed the Boss Radio format with Gene Chenault via their company Drake-Chenault.

Cant Help Falling in Love 1961 single by Elvis Presley

"Can't Help Falling in Love" is a song recorded by American singer Elvis Presley for the album Blue Hawaii (1961). It was written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss and published by Gladys Music, Inc. The melody is based on "Plaisir d'amour", a popular French love song composed in 1784 by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini. The song was initially written from the perspective of a woman as "Can't Help Falling in Love with Him", which explains the first and third line ending on "in" and "sin" rather than words rhyming with "you".

Contemporary hit radio is a radio format that is common in many countries that focuses on playing current and recurrent popular music as determined by the Top 40 music charts. There are several subcategories, dominantly focusing on rock, pop, or urban music. Used alone, CHR most often refers to the CHR-pop format. The term contemporary hit radio was coined in the early 1980s by Radio & Records magazine to designate Top 40 stations which continued to play hits from all musical genres as pop music splintered into Adult contemporary, Urban contemporary, Contemporary Christian and other formats.

Floyd Cramer American pianist (1933–1997)

Floyd Cramer was an American pianist who became famous for his use of melodic "half step" attacks. He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His signature playing style was a cornerstone of the pop-oriented "Nashville sound" of the 1950s and 1960s. Cramer's "slip-note" or "bent-note" style, in which a passing note slides almost instantly into or away from a chordal note, influenced a generation of pianists. His sound became popular to the degree that he stepped out of his role as a sideman and began touring as a solo act. In 1960, his piano instrumental solo, "Last Date" went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music chart and sold over one million copies. Its follow-up, "On the Rebound", topped the UK Singles Chart in 1961. As a studio musician, he became one of a cadre of elite players dubbed the Nashville A-Team and he performed on scores of hit records.

A radio format or programming format describes the overall content broadcast on a radio station. The radio format emerged mainly in the United States in the 1950s, at a time when radio was compelled to develop new and exclusive ways to programming by competition with television. The formula has since spread as a reference for commercial radio programming worldwide.

Robert Todd Storz headed a very successful chain of American radio broadcasting stations and is generally credited with being the foremost innovator of the Top 40 radio format in 1951. The selection of records to be played was based on sales reported by record stores, an indication as to which would be of greatest interest to listeners. Only the favorites would be played, in rotation. Some sources also credit his Omaha radio station as among the first to play at least some rock and roll records.

"Always on My Mind" is a ballad written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James, first recorded by Brenda Lee, and first released by Gwen McCrae in March 1972. Lee's version was released three months later in June 1972. The song has been a crossover hit, charting in both the country and western and pop categories. Elvis Presley's recording was the first hit version of the song.

The Adult Contemporary chart is published weekly by Billboard magazine and lists the most popular songs on adult contemporary radio stations in the United States. The chart is compiled based on airplay data submitted to Billboard by stations that are members of the Adult Contemporary radio panel. The chart debuted in Billboard magazine on July 17, 1961. Over the years, the chart has gone under a series of name changes, being called Easy Listening(1961–1962; 1965–1979), Middle-Road Singles(1962–1964), Pop-Standard Singles(1964–1965), Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks(1979–1982) and Adult Contemporary(1983–present).

KCRO is a commercial AM radio station in Omaha, Nebraska. KCRO is owned by Hickory Radio and airs a Christian talk and teaching radio format. The studios are located on Burt Street, while the transmitter is located behind Roncalli Catholic High School near Sorensen Parkway in Northwest Omaha.

WHB Radio station in Kansas City, Missouri

WHB is a commercial radio station in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. The station is owned by Union Broadcasting and it airs an all-sports radio format. For most of the 1950s through the 1970s, while it was broadcasting at 710 AM, WHB was one of the nation's most influential Top 40 outlets.

The CHUM Chart was a ranking of top 30 songs on Toronto, Ontario radio station CHUM AM, from 1957 to 1986, and was the longest-running Top 40 chart in the world produced by an individual radio station. On January 10, 1998, sister station CHUM-FM, which airs a hot adult contemporary format, revived the CHUM Chart name for a new countdown show.

"Susie Q" is a song by musician Dale Hawkins recorded late in the rockabilly era in 1957. He wrote it with bandmate Robert Chaisson, but when released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records and whose daughter Susan was the inspiration for the song, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles, were credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties.

Cultural impact of Elvis Presley

Since the beginning of his career, American singer Elvis Presley has had an extensive cultural impact. According to Rolling Stone, "it was Elvis who made rock 'n' roll the international language of pop." The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll describes Presley as "an American music giant of the 20th century who single-handedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s". His recordings, dance moves, attitude and clothing came to be seen as embodiments of rock and roll. His music was heavily influenced by African-American blues, Christian gospel, and Southern country. In a list of the greatest English language singers, as compiled by Q magazine, Presley was ranked first, and second in the list of greatest singers of the 20th century by BBC Radio. Some people claim that Presley created a whole new style of music: "it wasn't black, wasn't white, wasn't pop or wasn't country—it was different." He gave teens music to grow up with and listen to, as most singers in his time created music geared for adults.

The History of Rock & Roll is an American radio documentary on rock and roll music, first syndicated in 1969. Originally one of the lengthiest documentaries of any medium, The History of Rock & Roll is a definitive history of the Rock and Roll genre, stretching from the early 1950s to the present day. The "rockumentary," as producers Bill Drake and Gene Chenault called it, features hundreds of interviews and comments from numerous rock artists and people involved with rock and roll.

Adult contemporary music (AC) is a form of radio-played popular music, ranging from 1960s vocal and 1970s soft rock music to predominantly ballad-heavy music of the present day, with varying degrees of easy listening, pop, soul, R&B, quiet storm and rock influence. Adult contemporary is generally a continuation of the easy listening and soft rock style that became popular in the 1960s and 1970s with some adjustments that reflect the evolution of pop/rock music.

References

  1. Fong-Torres, Ben (1998). Dick Fatherly Knows Best (from The Hits Just Keep Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio). Miller Freeman Books. ISBN   0-87930-547-9 . Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  2. "POPBOPROCKTILUDROP". kimsloans.wordpress.com. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  3. Fisher, Marc (2007). Something In The Air: Radio, Rock & The Revolution. Random House Books. ISBN   978-0-375-50907-0 . Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  4. "Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame" . Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  5. "Timeline/Fun Facts," Broadcasting & Cable, Nov. 21, 2011.
  6. "Todd Storz: Radio for a New Era". History Nebraska. March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2021. The shift in the musical experience was profound and paved the way for listening styles of subsequent decades
  7. "FROM HIT PARADE TO TOP 40". Washington Post. June 28, 1992. Retrieved March 4, 2021. in the mid- to late '50s with upstarts named Presley, Lewis, Haley, Berry and Domino
  8. Hall, Michael K (May 9, 2014). The Emergence of Rock and Roll: Music and the Rise of American Youth Culture, Timeline. Routledge. ISBN   978-0415833134.

Further reading