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Off the Record: News Archive

A Music Quiz for Labor Day

02-Sep-2016

  1. This legendary “pea-picker” stayed at #1 for 8 straight weeks with this ode to back-breaking labor.
  2. This one-hit wonder, doo-wop group from Philadelphia hit #1 in 1958 with an imperative.
  3. The selfless worker in this 1961 #1 hit stood as tall as Joel Whitburn.
  4. This “end of the work day” anthem was a Top 5 hit in early 1966 and later became the theme for the TV work-place comedy The Drew Carey Show.
  5. He transitioned from prolific studio musician to huge Pop-Country crossover success and in one of his top hits sang of working for the county in Kansas in 1969.
  6. An appeal to a government worker topped the chart twice, first by a girl group in 1961 and then in 1975 by a brother-sister duo with a constructive last name.
  7. Longtime pilfering from his automotive employer was the subject of a novelty song by this legend in 1976.
  8. This band from Chicago hit #21 in 1978 with this rockin’ “Blue Collar” hit.
  9. This Country music queen turned to acting and scored both on screen and on the charts with this 1981 #1 smash.
  10. In 1982, the “Boss” of the rock and roll world wrote and co-produced this Top 40 unemployment lament for a former 1960s singing star.
  11. Hard to believe this ubiquitous Friday night anthem by a Canadian rock band only made it to #29 in 1982.
  12. These industrious Aussies sang of a land "where women glow and men plunder" in 1983.
  13. Originally a #41 Pop hit in 1982, this song was re-recorded as a duet by the original lead singer and one of the biggest Country music superstars of all-time and made the Country Top 20 in 2008. Bonus points if you can name both the original artist and the duo.

ANSWERS

  1. "Tennessee" Ernie Ford with "Sixteen Tons"
  2. The Silhouettes with "Get A Job"
  3. "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean
  4. "Five O’Clock World" by The Vogues
  5. Glen Campbell with "Wichita Lineman"
  6. "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes in 1961 and The Carpenters in 1975
  7. "One Piece At A Time" by Johnny Cash
  8. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" by Styx
  9. Dolly Parton with "9 To 5"
  10. "Out Of Work" written by Bruce Springsteen and recorded by Gary U.S. Bonds
  11. "Working For The Weekend" by Loverboy
  12. Men At Work with "Down Under"
  13. "Workin’ For A Livin’" by Huey Lewis & The News in 1982 and by Garth Brooks & Huey Lewis in 2008.

l

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The Music Man

20-May-2016

Check out a synopsis on Joel's career in the May 2016 issue of Milwaukee Magazine here.

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GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN

We began our final edit for the 15th edition of Top Pop Singles in early January and every week since has brought news of the death of one music star after another.

Below is a list of recently deceased artists appearing in Top Pop Singles. Underlined names indicate superstar status. (Kitty Kallen not only had a great solo career, but had several #1 hits as a big band singer.)

The list on our home page includes music figures who do not appear in our "Top Pop Singles" book.

  • TPS = Top Pop Singles rank
  • C&W = Hot Country Songs rank
  • R&B = Hot R&B Songs rank
  • POP = Pop Hits 1940-54 rank
For unranked artists, their top hit within the Top 40 is listed, with peak position and year.

2016

  • 5/4 - REGGIE TORIAN (The Impressions)
  • 4/30 - HARRISON CALLOWAY (Muscle Shoals Horns)
  • 4/24 - BILLY PAUL - "Me And Mrs. Jones" #1(3)/'72
  • 4/21 - PRINCE - TPS #20 / R&B #15
  • 4/21 - LONNIE MACK - “Memphis” #5/’63
  • 4/12 - MIKE LAZO (The Tempos: “See You In September” #23/’59)
  • 4/6 - MERLE HAGGARD - C&W #6
  • 4/6 - LEON HAYWOOD - R&B #275
  • 4/4 - CARLO MASTRANGELO (The Belmonts: “Tell Me Why” #18/’61)
  • 4/2 - GATO BARBIERI
  • 4/2 - MIKE GIBBONS (The Heywoods: “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” #1(2)/’74)
  • 3/30 - ANDY "THUNDERCLAP" NEWMAN - “Something In The Air” #37/’69
  • 3/29 - PATTY DUKE - “Don’t Just Stand There” #8/’65
  • 3/29 - PHIL HUMPHREY (The Fenderman: "Mule Skinner Blues" #5/'60)
  • 3/25 - JAMES JAMERSON JR.(Chanson: “Don’t Hold Back” #21/’79)
  • 3/24 - PETE (ANDERS) ANDREOLI (The Trade Winds: "New York's A Lonely Town" #32/'65)
  • 3/22 - PHIFE DAWG (A Tribe Called Quest)
  • 3/21 - LARRY PAYTON (Brass Construction: “Movin’” #14/’76)
  • 3/20 - RICK PINETTE (Oak: “King Of The Hill” #36/’80)
  • 3/19 - TERRY JOHNSON (Mar-Keys: "Last Night" #3/'61)
  • 3/18 - NED MILLER ("From A Jack To A King" #6/'63)
  • 3/16 - LEE ANDREWS (& The Hearts: “Tear Drops” #20/’57)
  • 3/10 - GOGI GRANT - “The Wayward Wind” #1(8)/’56
  • 3/10 - ERNESTINE ANDERSON
  • 3/10 - KEITH EMERSON (Emerson, Lake & Palmer: “From The Beginning” “39/’72)
  • 3/8 - GEORGE MARTIN (& His Orchestra)
  • 3/4 - JOEY FEEK (Joey + Rory)
  • 3/3 - GAVIN CHRISTOPHER - “One Step Closer To You” #22/’86
  • 3/1 - GAYLE McCORMICK (Smith: “Baby It’s You” #5/’69)
  • 2/22 - SONNY JAMES - C&W #25
  • 2/19 - RUSTY BURNS (Point Blank: “Nicole” #39/’81)
  • 2/15 - VANITY (Vanity 6)
  • 2/4 - MAURICE WHITE (Earth, Wind & Fire: TPS #108 / R&B #27)
  • 2/4 - JOE DOWELL - “Wooden Heart” #1(1)/’61
  • 1/28 - PAUL KANTNER (Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship: TPS #140)
  • 1/24 - JIMMY BAIN (Dio)
  • 1/18 - GLENN FREY (Eagles: TPS #126)
  • 1/17 - MIC GILLETTE (Tower Of Power: “So Very Hard To Go” #17/’73)
  • 1/17 - DALE GRIFFIN (Mott The Hoople: "All The Young Dudes" #37/'72)
  • 1/17 - CLARENCE REID - “Nobody But You Babe” #40/’69
  • 1/16 - GARY LOIZZO (The American Breed: “Bend Me, Shape Me” #5/’68)
  • 1/10 - DAVID BOWIE - TPS #166
  • 1/8 - OTIS CLAY
  • 1/7 - TROY SHONDELL - “This Time” #6/’61
  • 1/7 - KITTY KALLEN - POP #105 / “Little Things Mean A Lot” #1(9)/’54
  • 1/5 - NICHOLAS CALDWELL (The Whispers: R&B #44)

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Check out this well-researched article on Joel!

15-Apr-2014

Joel in his vault.

"He's No. 1 In His Field" - that's the headline of an article that appeared on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, dated April 8, 2014. Click here to read the story of how Joel turned his hobby into an industry.

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All-New Book Series - in color!

21-Mar-2014

I am thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my Top Pop Playlists 1955-1969! This is my first all-color print book that showcases this never-before-seen research. Here is what I said in the book's "Author's Note."

This first volume of Top Pop Playlists covers the golden age of Top 40 radio. It was a time when disc jockeys with colorful personalities played a vibrant mix of pop, rock ‘n roll, country and R&B records on radio across America. Tuning into your local station connected you to the happenings around town and the likelihood of hearing a brand-new Elvis record!

Stations produced a weekly ranking of their Top 40 most-played songs. These collectable countdown surveys were giveaways at record shops within their broadcasting range. While 40 positions marked the standard size of a radio playlist, many stations from larger markets had tighter lists, playing only 20 or 25 titles.

My aim for this book is to recapture a bit of that amazing era by arranging these oldies within the context that they were first heard. These playlists show the genre diversity that was regularly displayed on a single Top 40 radio station. For instance, leading off the Top Pop Playlist for January 1961 is easy-listening orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert, followed by the top girl group of the early ‘60s, The Shirelles. Pop and rock is represented by Bubby Knox, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison and Jimmy Clanton. Doo-wop is in fine form with hits by The Flamingos, The Shells and The Innocents. R&B sizzles with The Drifters, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters and Jackie Wilson. Country music contributors include Skeeter Davis, Ferlin Husky and Marty Robbins.

The idea for this book initiated as playlists in my iTunes library. I began arranging my iTunes playlists by year. However, as I converted more and more of my analog record collection into digital format, the yearly playlists became too large to manage, some years totaling 600+ titles. And so, I broke them down into monthly playlists. This, I found, was a great vehicle for putting each song in its proper place in history.

For this book, a list numbering 25 songs proved ideal as each year’s 12 playlists covered every song that peaked from #1 through #20 and reached deeper into the music vault with memorable songs that peaked well into the 30s and beyond. And that’s what makes these playlists exciting and unique. Each song can only appear in one playlist, in the month it reached its peak position, regardless of how many weeks or months it stayed at its peak position. Each playlist is essentially an exclusive greatest hits compilation for a specific month.

This project truly became an album of musical memories when I surrounded each playlist with picture sleeve photos. These images bring back, for me, the days of purchasing records – when getting the song you wanted also included a bonus song (the record’s B-side) and sometimes it was neatly packaged in a 7-inch square photo (the picture sleeve). So many connections with the music, now all but lost to the online marketplace, were made in that purchase: the trip to the record shop, face-to-face conversations with the clerks and fellow record buyers, the ability to hold the music in your hand, and finally, beholding the artist’s glossy image on the picture sleeve. Apart from the song titles herein, the picture sleeves tell the story of the ever-changing music culture.

It is ironic how one convenience of the digital world, iTunes, inspired me to recall on paper the excitement and vitality of an analog era. May you find these playlists to be the official soundtrack to the history of American pop music’s golden age.

Joel with his new guitar in the fall of 1959

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Common Threads

08-Nov-2012

While doing my research this week, two trivia questions came to mind. Here they are:

1. What do the following stars have in common: Johnny Cash, Brian Wilson, Clint Eastwood, Tim McGraw, Halle Berry, Buddy Holly, and Steve McQueen?

Answer: Their names were titles of songs that charted between 1995 and 2009.

2. What do these hits share?

  • "Rebel-'Rouser"... Duane Eddy
  • "At The Hop" ... Danny & The Juniors
  • "Blueberry Hill" ... Fats Domino
  • "Diana" ... Paul Anka
  • "Tossin' And Turnin'" ... Bobby Lewis

Answer: These were huge hits but their sequel songs with similar titles failed to hit big.

  • "Son Of Rebel Rouser"
  • "Back To The Hop"
  • "Heartbreak Hill"
  • "Remember Diana"
  • "I'm Tossin' And Turnin' Again"

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I've Heard That Song Before - Or Have I?

26-Oct-2012

"I've heard that song before - or have I?" Longtime chart watchers could easily think that looking at today’s Hot 100 chart.

Maroon 5 is at #1 with a song title that was #1 in 1985 for Phil Collins: “One More Night” – same name, different song. (Two other “One More Night” songs also hit the Hot 100: Streek hit #47 in 1981 and Amber hit #58 in 1998.)

Ke$ha’s current “Die Young” could be confused with “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry, which went to #19 on the “Hot 100” in 2010, hit again in 2011 climbing to #14, and was #1 on Billboard’s Country and Adult Contemporary charts.

“As Long As You Love Me,” now in the Top 10 by Justin Bieber with Big Sean, first appeared in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 Airplay chart as a different tune by The Backstreet Boys in 1998. (According to an eligibility rule that was revised later that year, the song could not hit the Hot 100 as it was not commercially released as a single.) Don’t forget the huge #1 Country hit of 1964 with a similar title by Buck Owens, “I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me).”

New breakout artist Alex Clare is in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 with “Too Close.” Another “Too Close” by Next stayed at #1 for 5 weeks on the Hot 100 and #1 for 3 weeks on the R&B Singles chart in 1998.

Also in the Hot 100’s Top 10 and #1 on the R&B charts is “Diamonds” by Rihanna. It could tie or surpass the same-named title by Herb Alpert featuring Janet Jackson in 1987 which peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and at #1 on both the R&B and Dance charts. (Two other versions of “Diamonds” appeared on the Hot 100: Chris Rea in 1979 at #44 and Fabolous featuring Young Jeezy in 2007 at #83.)

#1 Hits

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Music Vendor / Record World issues

28-Aug-2012

"Recently, a Feb 29, 1964 issue of 'Music Vendor' (only 24 pages) sold on auction at eBay for $218. These magazines are impossible to find and when an issue shows up for auction, the prices go crazy. They are truly extremely rare, therefore the chart data is unknown until now in the upcoming Hit Records book, and is highly anticipated all around the world."

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25-April-2012

25-Apr-2012

We've entered a new era! I am proud to announce the arrival of our first-ever eBook: Top Pop Singles 1955-2010! Forty-two years ago, I would never have imagined that my hand-typed yellow paperback would someday, somehow be weightless and in color -- in other words, available electronically! In preparing this edition, I've had the privilege of having the electronic version of Top Pop Singles on my computer. I love being able to quickly search through the book and zoom in on data.

Click here to check it out!

eBook <i>Top Pop Singles 1955-2010</i>

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01-Feb-2012

2011: The Final "Hot 100" Round-Up

Here are a few of my observations on last year's "Hot 100" charts.

2011 proved to be the busiest year on the chart since 1976. There were 510 entries on the "Hot 100" plus 240 entries on the "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" for a total of 750 pop hits for 2011! And the Cast of Glee was responsible for 100 hits: 75 on the "Hot 100" and 25 on Bubbling.

A whopping 45% of all songs on these charts, for a total of 340, were only on the chart for one week! Of these, 182 had their short stay on the "Hot 100" and 158 on the "Bubbling Under" chart.

Although Rihanna’s “We Found Love” beat out Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” for the most weeks at #1 (10 versus 7), Adele’s hit was a bigger #1 hit across several chart genres: Adult Contemporary (19 weeks at #1), Triple A (14 weeks) and Adult Top 40 (13 weeks). That’s a total of 53 weeks at #1 on four main Billboard charts. Adele followed that up with back-to-back #1 hits on the "Hot 100": “Someone Like You” and “Set Fire To The Rain.”

Rihanna continued her strong chart dominance with 14 appearances: 2 #1’s; 4 Top 10’s and 9 Top 40 hits. In fact, since 1940, she now ranks, among the elite artists with the most Top 10 hits in the past 72 years. With 21 Top 10 hits and 11 #1 hits, Rihanna ranks at #29, between Paul McCartney and George Michael.

Four other artists had sensational success in the Top 10 this year: Lady Gaga (4 Top 10’s), Lil Wayne (3 Top 10’s plus 3 more as a featured artist), Britney Spears (3 Top 10’s, plus 1 featured) and Bruno Mars (3 Top 10’s, plus 1 featured). Also worthy of mention are Drake (2 lead, 2 featuring), Pitbull (2 lead, 1 featuring), Wiz Khalifa (2 lead, 1 featuring) and Katy Perry (2 lead).

Only three artists that debuted on the "Hot 100" in 2011, climbed all the way into the Top 10: Foster The People “Pumped Up Kicks” (#3 for 8 weeks!), Bad Meets Evil “Lighters” (#4) and Hot Chelle Rae “Tonight Tonight” (#7).

The following famous names graced the "Hot 100": Donald Trump, Barbra Streisand, President Carter, Jack Sparrow, Tony Montana and Charlie Brown. None of them recorded a "Hot 100" hit in 2011, but, their names were titles of hits! Here are a few more names that appeared in pop titles this year: Jagger (Mick), Judas, Otis (Redding), Marvin (Gaye), John (Lennon), Mona Lisa, Cinderella, Gucci and Aston Martin.

There were 55 digital recordings that were certified platinum with two earning five-time platinum: Adele “Rolling In The Deep” and Cee Lo Green “F**k You”! Digital gold certification was bestowed on 39 recordings.

Thirteen songs stayed at their peak position for four weeks at more, all at positions #1, 2 or 3, except for Kenny Chesney’s “You And Tequila” which peaked at #33 and held that position for 5 weeks!

The average playing time of a Top 10 hit in 2011 was 4:13, the shortest being “No Sleep” by Wiz Khalifa at 3:11 and the longest being “The Edge Of Glory” by Lady Gaga at 5:17.

The average life of a Bubbling Under-only chart hit was one to two weeks. Only two titles lingered for three weeks: “This City” by Patrick Stump at #102 and at #123 “Light Up The Sky” by The Afters.

Thirteen Christmas songs lit up the holiday season, led by the only Top 40 entry “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber, peaking at #11. The last Christmas song that peaked higher than that was “This One’s For The Children” by New Kids On The Block in 1989 (#7). Going all the way back to 1955, only four other Christmas songs have made the Top 10 on the Hot 100: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (#7 in 1955), “Nuttin’ For Christmas” by Barry Gordon (#7 in 1955), “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms (#6 in 1957) and the all-time champ “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks (#1 for 4 weeks in 1958).

So, there you have it. I'm looking forward to all that 2012 holds in store.

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13 - A Great Number!

10-Sep-2011

I've been using my new 13th edition of Top Pop Singles since June of this year and it is my favorite Record Research book, by far! And I appreciate the fantastic response I've been getting from those of you who have the book.

Not only is it in a larger-size hardcover, it is the first edition, since 1999, that is also available in softcover! I've heard that the lower-priced softcover makes a great second copy for those who travel with their books or keep one at home and the other at work.

So much is unveiled in this edition that I'm not sure which is my favorite feature. The depth of the book has expanded greatly with my addition of the songs that made Billboard's Territorial and Breakout charts and their corresponding research. The new larger format of the book gives each page a much cleaner look than previous editions, even with the significant infusion of new, never-before-seen data. And, the number of pictures in the book has increased from 200 to 600! (Below are color versions of a few of the scores of picture sleeves that you'll find in black and white inside the book.) And that just skims the surface of the many new features! If you want to know more, click here!

So what's next? We've got some great new things lined up which we'll announce and offer first to our email subscribers. We give them special promo codes to get the best deals on anything on our site. If you want to get some extraordinary offers from us, sign up as an email subscriber by clicking on the 'Sign On' icon to the right.

Stay tuned!

Joel Whitburn

Author/researcher Joel Whitburn at his desk

picture sleeve of Annette

picture sleeve of Creedence Clearwater Revival

picture sleeve of The Diamonds

picture sleeve of Fats Domino

picture sleeve of Duane Eddy

picture sleeve of Jan & Dean

picture sleeve of The Mamas & The Papas

picture sleeve of Ricky Nelson

picture sleeve of The Ronettes

picture sleeve of Jack Scott

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19-May-2011

For those of you who have pre-ordered my all-new edition of Top Pop Singles 1955-2010 which is due out in June, here's a sneak peek at my Author's Note:

As an avid reader of Billboard magazine in the mid-1950s, I kept an eye on their weekly “Territorial Best Sellers” chart, paying close attention to the Milwaukee survey among the 22 markets on which Billboard reported. I would see on these numerous Top 10 charts the songs that were already hits in the major markets around the country, many of which later caught fire nationally. For example, at #4 on the Boston Top 10 survey of April 16, 1955, was B. Haley “Rock Around The Clock” -- the first mention of the song that would reign supreme over Billboard’s main pop charts that summer (“Best Sellers In Stores,” “Most Played in Juke Boxes” and “Most Played by Jockeys”) and kick the rock and roll era into high gear!

Also on that date on the Top 10 surveys for Boston, Milwaukee and Detroit was Mantovani’s “Lazy Gondolier.” This was one of the many local hits that graced the Territorial charts but didn’t break through to the national charts only to disappear from collective memory … until now. Had Billboard’s “Best Sellers” Top 30 chart been a Top 100 listing, these Territorial-only titles would have charted between #31 and #100. The majority of the songs that only appeared on the Territorial charts but not the national charts are from 1955. In November of 1955, Billboard introduced their national “Top 100” chart and the Territorial debuts would eventually appear there. The final “Territorial” chart was published on October 13, 1958. Over those musically groundbreaking years, influential rock and roll by The Charms, The Clovers, and The Five Keys appeared in Billboard exclusively on the pages of the Territorial charts, as well as classics like Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley” [Los Angeles], Big Boy Grove’s “I Gotta New Car” [Cleveland], The Medallion’s “Edna” [Pittsburgh], Jack Scott’s “Baby, She’s Gone” [Detroit], and The Wrens “Come Back My Love” [Cleveland].

Billboard resumed reporting on local markets on January 9, 1961, when it changed its masthead name from The Billboard to ....

Hope you enjoyed this preview of what's to come. I can't wait to get the bound book from the printers and have it in my hands. I love the new page size and there's so much more information in this new edition!

With Great Anticipation,

Joel

all-new 13th edition of <i>Top Pop Singles 1955-2010</i> in new size (8.5

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Ringing Out Our 40th Anniversary Year

01-Dec-2010

What a productive year we've had with five new releases: the Billboard Hot 100 Charts: 2000-2009 in deluxe print edition and DVD-rom, then Top Pop Albums 1955-2010 book and The Tracks CD-rom, and finally, due out in December, Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010!! And, we brought back our long out-of-stock Hot 100 Charts: The Sixties book. All were BIG projects, preceded by many months, even years of preparation.

What will our 41st year bring? For the past year, I've been readying a new edition of my Top Pop Singles book. I can't wait for this edition to come out. Among it's many new features will be one of a regional flavor. That's all I'm saying for now. You'll have to wait a few months before it hits the printing press.

Stay tuned for more to come .....

One of Joel's favorite pastimes - watching The Brewers play at Miller Park.

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Fabulous 40!

03-Feb-2010

"Your research is done. Now what? Are you going to get a real job?" Those were common comments I heard after I first published my research of Billboard magazine's pop singles chart as a book titled Record Research, back in 1970. The majority of the research project had consumed the better part of five years of nights and weekends, while I worked as a salesman for Campbell's soup during the day. In order to focus my attention on finishing and selling the book, I quit my 9-5 -- pretty risky for a man with a family and a mortgage. It's a move I advise with great caution and one that's certain to draw the well-meaning comments of others.

Absolutely thrilled when I was able to draw a very modest income, 40 years of continuing this labor of love would have been too great a dream. In those early years, I was fortunate to have the meticulous research assistance of my retired parents, from whom I got my passion for detail and documentation.

It was not until my third year of full-time research when it looked as if this business of Record Researching turned a corner. I was able to hire a part-time employee, then a full-time hire, and so on. Over the decades, I've been very proud of the individuals who have chosen to be part of the Record Research staff. They are and have been my extended family. My staff of today have been around for decades: Paul Haney and Jeanne Olynick for over two, Brent Olynick (brother-in-law to Jeanne, not husband) for more than three, and my daughter, Kim, since she was able to sort records and zip codes. And, for the duration, my wife, Fran, who has been my biggest and most loyal support.

Of course, turning 40 would not have been possible without the enduring support of music history lovers, like you. Getting to hear from those who also share 'a heart for the charts' has been one of the greatest encouragements of this business. Thank You!

Today, I'm very excited about the four new products that we're releasing this year: Top Pop Albums 1955-2009 book, The Tracks Of The Top Pop Albums 1955-2009 DVD-ROM, The Billboard Hot 100 Charts - The 2000s limited edition book, and The Billboard Hot 100 Charts - The 2000s DVD-ROM. So, when am I going to get a real job? Not likely, any time soon!

Time to get back to the research....

Joel Whitburn

Circa 1970, Joel and his 45 r.p.m. collection of records that hit <i>Billboard's</i> pop singles charts back to 1955.

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The 12th Top Pop & The 1st Cream Of The Pop

24-Oct-2009

Always a great highlight of my year is the release of an updated Top Pop Singles book. Though it is my labor of love, this business of music researching carries all of the challenges of what it takes to make a living in our increasingly harsh economy. So, the recent release of the 12th edition of my Top Pop Singles book has been especially significant.

It's always been my favorite project. I love the "Hot 100" chart. Since its inception in 1958, I have faithfully followed it each and every week, getting every new entry. My early research of the chart became this book's first edition, titled Record Research, and was the beginning of my business.

Having published 11 editions prior, I put everything I could into the current edition: all the Bubbling Under hits, rock 'n' roll on the EP charts, and more classic titles. The end result: I believe that this is the most useful and best book that I've ever published. And, I so appreciate the comments that many of you dear readers have shared with me about the book. It's great to know that there are others who recognize the effort involved in such a project and also love the end result.

I am grateful to Billboard for allowing me to be their longest-running licensee. This is our 40th year in business! Recently, they picked my new Top Pop Singles as a prize for their online sweepstakes! In conjunction, the book went on sale for 40% off. I had been planning a 40%-off sale for Record Research's 40th anniversary. The Billboard.com sweepstakes prompted a much earlier start for the sale. So, in time for holiday gift-giving comes our biggest sale ever: 40% off of 10 books and three DVD-Roms!

There's no time to rest on our laurels in this business. The industries in which we are a part of -- book publishing, information seeking and music -- have been transforming rapidly. How people read their books, find data, and listen to and purchase music are changing like no other time before; just ask the owners of book stores and record shops, and the publishers of printed encyclopedias. Spanning all of these worlds, we need to adjust as well, in order to make a living 'record researching.'

As many of you know, an update to my Top Pop Albums book (aka The Billboard Albums) is in the works. The sheer size of an updated version containing all of the cuts renders it too big to fit in one book. Printing and shipping the book in two volumes would enormously increase expenses, thus resulting in low book sales that would not meet costs. Printing a separate book devoted only to cuts also proved to be too expensive.

The results of the survey to our email subscribers told me that you still wanted all of the cuts but you didn't want to pay too much. So, to give you all of the information that you want at a reasonable price, we decided to print the Albums book, spanning 1955-2009, and include the Bubbling Under albums (which did not increase print size much), but it would not include the cuts in the printed edition. Sealed within the book's cover will be a DVD-rom containing all of the album cuts, listed by artist. Though this would not be our first publishing choice, it is the only possible solution that is affordable for us and for you. Look for this new edition in 2010!

Right now, I am working on a very fun project that I've called The Cream Of The Pop. The idea behind this project is that each book will cover one decade of every song and artist that made the Top 10 of the pop singles charts. It is a very visual project displaying original advertisements, sheet music and picture sleeves for certain hits. I'm having a great time paging through my archive of Billboard magazines looking for these great visuals. They really bring the past alive!

The first book will cover the entire decade of the 1950s - no split between the beginning of the rock era in 1955! This will also be the first project that I will show the B-side and the songwriter together for each song. It is a simple A-Z artist-by-artist listing, showing just the hits, very clean -- no bios or trivia.

I hope to keep the cost for this project below $10. I would love to show the colorful and exciting full-page ads I've found. So, I am considering releasing it as an e-book and on DVD-Rom.

Electronic publishing also opens up the option to us for publishing our other books, including our out-of-print publications like Pop Memories. Please send me a comment with your thoughts as to e-books and Cream Of The Pop.

Thanks for reading!

Joel

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Looking ahead...

21-May-2009

Summer's calling but there's little relaxing around here. We've been busier than ever adjusting to the rapidly changing worlds of music, information and publishing. We have several projects lined up and, as usual, we are re-evaluating the content and presentation of each.

The DVD-Rom for the Hot 100 Charts - The Eighties is in! Already the work has begun on scanning the charts for the next DVD-Rom The Hot 100 Charts - The Nineties. Look for it in a couple of months!

Right now, the project I'm tirelessly working on is the 12th edition of the Top Pop Singles 1955-2008 book. I love it with the inclusion of everything that hit the "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart. I've also added to the bottom of chart discographies the rock and roll EPs that made Billboard's EP's chart from 1957-60, a short-lived chart that captured the heyday of the vinyl Extended Play single. I believe that this will be my most thorough Top Pop Singles ever!

The next big project after that will be the revision of The Billboard Albums book. In just adding four year's worth of recent albums and their cuts, we will far exceed our printer's page size specifications for a single volume. We are currently exploring various options. We sent out a survey to all readers who signed up for our email newsletter. If you did not yet take the survey, you can access it by a link on our home page. I am very interested in your vote; I read every comment and so very much appreciate your input.

Thanks for your interest and enjoy your summer (or winter for our friends in the southern hemisphere)!

Joel Whitburn

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The MusicVault Is Now Online!

19-Jan-2009

At last! I am so pleased to announce that my music database is now online! I know from your comments to this site that many of you have waited patiently for this to be a reality.

For more than 11 years, this interactive site has been in the works -- securing the rights, planning the site, programming, programming, more programming, and testing! Now you can have access to my lifetime's work - nearly 45 years of continual research. This is my blood, sweat and tears, as well as those of my dedicated employees over the past 39 years.

MusicVault is a master compilation of all of my major books, so its been quite a project to present this mountain of data in an easily accessible, user-friendly way. You can instantly access all of the charted songs and albums of every charted artist on all the major charts or on a specific chart of your choosing! And then, sort them by debut date or peak date or peak position or peak weeks or total weeks charted or title (A-side or B-side) or recording label & number or RIAA certifications. The MusicVault provides the biographies from our books, as well as a charted hit's songwriter(s), where available.

When you enter a year into the singles search bar, you'll get all the charted hits of that year. For example, if, today, you searched by "2009," you would see that 88 songs have hit the singles charts to date.

Enter a record label in the search bar to see all of that label's charted titles!

You can narrow your search by specific chart. Search for specific words, titles, artists, etc., thoughout all charted singles and all charted albums.

MusicVault pre-dates the Billboard charts by 50 years, with the data from my now-out-of-print Pop Memories 1890-1954 book. You will have at your fingertips data on everything from the wax cylinder recordings of 1890 to today's downloads.

The MusicVault covers the complete history of America’s popular music in songs and albums from Pop, Country, R&B, Rock and Adult Contemporary. And it is the up-to-date online version of my following books:

  • Top Pop Singles
  • Hot Country Songs
  • Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles
  • Top Adult Songs
  • Rock Tracks
  • Pop Hits Singles & Albums 1940-1954
  • The Billboard Albums
  • Hot Country Albums
  • Top R&B Albums
  • Pop Memories 1890-1954 - out of print
  • Bubbling Under the Hot 100 Singles & Albums - out of print
  • You can now customize the data in my books to your preferences! Unlock the exclusive weekly updated data of the MusicVault with the purchase of credits. Each credit equals one search or sort. Get 5 FREE credits to check out the MusicVault.

    Access up-to-date information instantly - no shipping fees or waiting for a package to arrive! And, there are no ads! MusicVault is solid information from one side of your screen to the other!

    This is our second attempt to bring our database online. The first attempt was a rudimentary site that was subscription-based. Unfortunately, we did not even break even to cover the energy, effort and expense of that site. The subscription model was sorely abused by those that shared their passwords and others that logged and got vast amounts of information for their own work and profit. We were providing at a minimal cost the raw materials for the intensive hobby and work of others. It was impossible to justify the site, as I have spent a fortune over the years (and I'm no millionaire) in paying Billboard royalties to compile data from their charts, purchasing the every issue of the magazine, buying records, paying employees, buying the raw materials, etc. The subscription method allowed many others to copy and upload the data. I was giving away the work for which I had heavily invested.

    I am hoping that if the MusicVault eventually pays for itself, we will be able to further our programming by adding the photos of our pop singles collection back to 1940, as well as sound snippets of the songs! There is so much more that I wish to add to the site. We will continue to make refinements and weekly update the site.

    Stay in tune with the additions and news of the MusicVault plus exclusive sales by joining our email subscriber list. I hope that this is just the beginning of the story.

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Top Pop Treasures

25-Sep-2008

When was the last time that you heard Annette or Jack Scott on oldies radio? If you were listening to radio in 1960, you?d remember that their songs were frequently played.

The term ?oldies? has become limited to a few hundred songs, when, in fact, there are tens of thousands of great tunes from years past. I was discussing this sad fact with a friend who shares my passion for all genres of music, across all generations. The result of that conversation was the recently released CD series Top Pop Treasures on Curb Records. (Did I mention that this particular friend is Mike Curb?)

I LOVE this five-CD series! Top Pop Treasures contains radio?s long-forgotten musical gems. These are songs that you will instantly recognize but may not have heard for decades. None of the songs in this series were in the Top 10 of Billboard's "Hot 100" chart. And, each CD of 10 songs typically sells for less than $6!

All are the original versions and sound amazingly crisp and clear, many in real stereo. I love how the castanets sound on ?Gypsy Woman? by The Impressions on the 1961 volume.

Find the Top Pop Treasures CD series and you'll enjoy the unforgettable tracks listed below.

Top Pop Treasures 1958

Top Pop Treasures 1958

  1. Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay...Danny & The Juniors
  2. Leroy...Jack Scott
  3. Maybe Baby...Buddy Holly & The Crickets
  4. Guess Things Happen That Way...Johnny Cash
  5. You Cheated...The Shields
  6. For Your Precious Love...Jerry Butler & Impressions
  7. Maybe...The Chantels
  8. High School Confidential...Jerry Lee Lewis
  9. Buzz Buzz Buzz...Hollywood Flames
  10. The Little Blue Man...Betty Johnson

Top Pop Treasures 1959 CD

Top Pop Treasures 1959

  1. Dance With Me...The Drifters
  2. Here Comes Summer...Jerry Keller
  3. Misty...Johnny Mathis
  4. M.T.A....The Kingston Trio
  5. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday...Fats Domino
  6. You're So Fine...The Falcons
  7. It Doesn't Matter Anymore...Buddy Holly
  8. Say Man...Bo Diddley
  9. First Name Initial...Annette
  10. Woo-Hoo...Rock-A-Teens

Top Pop Treasures 1960

Top Pop Treasures 1960

  1. Three Nights A Week...Fats Domino
  2. Dreamin'...Johnny Burnette
  3. Artificial Flowers...Bobby Darin
  4. (You've Go To) Move Two Mountains...Marv Johnson
  5. (Welcome) New Lovers...Pat Boone
  6. Ta-Ta...Clyde McPhatter
  7. I Really Don't Want To Know...Tommy Edwards
  8. Pineapple Princess...Annette
  9. This Magic Moment...The Drifters
  10. Tracy's Theme...Spencer Ross

Top Pop Treasures 1961 CD

Top Pop Treasures 1961

  1. Bonanza...Al Caiola
  2. Barbara Ann...The Regents
  3. Moon River...Jerry Butler
  4. The Girl Of My Best Friend...Ral Donner
  5. Let The Four Winds Blow...Fats Domino
  6. Lonely Teenager...Dion
  7. Gypsy Woman...The Impressions
  8. I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door...Eddie Hodges
  9. The Way You Look Tonight...The Lettermen
  10. Perfidia...The Ventures

Top Pop Treasures 1962

  1. Surfin' Safari...The Beach Boys
  2. (Dance With The) Guitar Man...Duane Eddy
  3. Whats-A-Matter Baby (Is It Hurtin' You)...Timi Yuro
  4. Shadrack...Brook Benton
  5. Cotton Fields...The Highwaymen
  6. Beechwood 4-5789...The Marvelettes
  7. Make It Easy On Yourself...Jerry Butler
  8. James (Hold The Ladder Steady)...Sue Thompson
  9. Funny How Time Slips Away...Jimmy Elledge
  10. A Swingin' Safari...Billy Vaughn

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Goodbye Summer, Goodbye Brett, Hello Fall

25-Aug-2008

Where did summer go? I remember as a kid, my dad would take his four weeks of vacation from the electric company and our family would spend the whole month of July at beautiful Long Lake in Waushara County. Those glorious summer days seemed to linger forever. Now, July seems to fly by faster and faster every year. As the days grow shorter, I'm feeling the same melancholy as my six-year-old grandson about returning to school after a long vacation.

Summer's end found this Packers' fan hoping for a a hello but actually saying goodbye to Brett Favre. I've heard that the New York Jets fans can be fickle, so I don't want to hear booing of our favorite #4, at any time - even in the case of a rare interception. Our loss will most certainly be your gain!

There's yet another football team I'll be rooting for: the St. Louis Rams. My granddaughter has been working as an Athletic Training intern with the Rams' training camp. It's been an exciting time for her and for us! Go Packers! Go Jets! Go Rams!

I'm counting on our Milwaukee Brewers to still be playing in October in the World Series. Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia has been an outstanding addition to our team! Home games at Miller Park are setting attendance records. It's been a blast!

Back at the office, we're hard at work on a brand new edition of Hot Country Songs. Many of you will be glad to know that the B-sides are returning with this edition along with many exciting new features. Look for the publication of this comprehensive volume in November. It will be our best Country book ever!

I'm coming to the end of downloading all the "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" records. Just today, I ordered several new turntable stylus' that will help in finishing this enormous project.

From a fellow music fan -- have a great Fall season,

Joel

P.S. Following are some end of summer songs:

  • All Summer Long...Kid Rock
  • Anything But Mine...Kenny Chesney
  • Boys Of Summer...Don Henley
  • September Song...Jimmy Durante
  • Stolen...Dashboard Confessional
  • Summer Love...Justin Timberlake
  • Summer Nights...Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
  • Summer Skin...Death Cab For Cutie
  • Summer Song...Chad & Jeremy
  • Summer's Gone...Paul Anka
  • Summertime...New Kids On The Block
  • Things We Did Last Summer...Frank Sinatra
  • Wake Me Up When September Ends...Green Day
  • We're Going To Be Friends...The White Stripes
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