Regular readers are well aware that I kept a list of my own Top 50 for the better part of three years (from 3/29/80 to 12/25/82, to be precise). My primary rule was pretty simple: all songs on AT40 for the week prior had to be included (I usually made my chart very early in the week and relied on the show just broadcast for my baseline). That of course invariably led to a small lag. I pretty much modeled chart action on what I’d seen Billboard do all those years I’d been listening to Casey to that point: songs didn’t usually debut all that high, they’d climb fairly steadily, and would, with precious few exceptions, start to fall only after staying in the same spot for two (or more) weeks or maybe after rising just one position.
As 1980 drew to a close, it was natural to want to put together a Top 100 for the year based on my weekly rankings. The biggest issue was the incomplete data, a lack of information about almost a quarter of the year. What to do?
In the end, I wasn’t very scientific in constructing the year-end list. The Top 20 or so probably do reflect how I felt about the songs at the time; after that, it’s more impressionistic, crudely approximating where I thought things would shake out, informally incorporating peak position, length of chart run, and what I supposed January, February and March charts might have looked like. I think I was a little careful about discounting theoretical chart points for performance in 1979 by songs like “Escape,” “Better Love Next Time,” and “Cruisin’,” but that may be revisionist thinking on my part.
Anyway, without any further ado:
No doubt I’d make numerous changes to this forty years on, but many favorites then are still must-listens today. Oftentimes you like what you like, right?
I was much more rigorous in putting my 1981 Top 100 together; I’m planning on taking a look underneath the hood of that effort this time next year.