The Motherlode of Music Surveys
In September 2004, I wrote here about how I became a Top 40 geek:
In the fall of 1970, I was the first kid on my school bus every morning (at 6:50AM), and thus I rode on gravel roads and paths trodden by cows through the wilds of Clarno and Cadiz Townships for over an hour before getting to school. Being the first kid on, I had my pick of seats. The back of the bus is the most desirable spot, but what you must know about the social dynamics of the school bus is that little kids don't get to sit in the back. One particular morning, the seat I chose was underneath the radio speaker. And on that morning, the bus driver responded to popular demand by tuning in WLS, the Classic Top 40 giant from Chicago. And the rest, as they say, is history. Your correspondent fell utterly in love with radio and with the music that came out of it.A part of the story that has remained untold 'til now is this: A friendly neighbor girl who was a few years older (eighth grade, maybe) rode the same school bus I did. She always seemed to have candy or gum in her purse, and was willing to share it with younger kids on the bus. But one day, she gave me a copy of a WLS "Hit Parade" music survey she had picked up at our local record store. I cannot recall now how or why this happened, exactly--but for a long time after that, while other kids would ask her for gum, I would ask her for Hit Parades.
Forever after, I have been a chart geek. So it is with goggle-eyed stupid delight that I report to you the existence of a website I found today: ARSA, the Airheads Radio Survey Archive. It is the motherlode of music surveys, not just from one or two radio stations, but for hundreds across the country and around the world. You can access charts by station, by date, and even by song title. Chart data is sorted in many different ways--if you want to see how "Dream On" by Aerosmith performed on all the charts on which it appeared, you can. (It hit Number One in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 1, 1976, but not in South Bend, Indiana, until February 7.) In addition to reproducing chart data, the site also features photos of the charts themselves, so there are plenty of embarrasing DJ photos, perhaps even of guys you used to listen to. (There are no pix of me, but there is a survey from a station I worked at, published while I was there.)
I am supposed to be working this afternoon, but I don't think that's going to happen now.
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