The 2001 Musicradio 77 Web Site All Time Favorite Hits
Commentary and analysis by Mike Riccio
(as voted by site visitors 10/30/01 through 12/2/01)
It's the fourth annual Musicradio77.com Top 77 All-Time Favorite list as voted by you!
What a turnout we had this year for our fourth annual survey! It was the most participation, the most excitement, and the most work to compile this list ever (yikes!). But at the same time, it was the most FUN ever for me to do. I was on the "edge of my seat" as I counted the votes, wondering where each song would end up and guessing, just like you, what the final Top 77 would be.
Year after year, it's simply fascinating to see what voters choose as their favorites. And this year the votes came in for songs that spanned from the 1940's through 2001...everything from superhits to super stiffs, and artists from superstars to one-hit wonders to NO-hit wonders.
Hey, who could EVER guess that votes would come in for novelty songs like "Mr. Jaws" and "Energy Crisis" by Dickie Goodman, "Wild Thing" by Senator Bobby, "Ahab the Arab", "Disco Duck", "Alvin's Harmonica", and many more?
And I loved the "specialty" voting that came from people like Dave Freeman of Flushing, New York, who obviously really didn't mind it much when the Beatles split up. He voted for songs from Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr...all solo efforts.
And we had some other "thematic" voting too, from Big Jay Sorensen of Rowlett, Texas. A regular contributor to our New York Radio Message Board, Jay remembered two of his favorite "parks" this year - MacArthur and Echo. Sorry Jay, but only one of them made OUR list.
Laurence Glavin from Methuen, Massachusetts attempted to add a touch of class to our chart this year as he cited his three all time favorites from classical masters Schubert, Beethoven, and Mahler.
And then there's Rich Klein of Dallas Texas who honored those at the opposite end of the music spectrum from classical as he decided this year "...to honor bubblegum hits", and hence voted for the DeFranco Family, the Jackson Five and the Osmonds.
Cathy Mercadeo of the Bronx, New York, led the charge for the instrumental hits on the list as she voted for "Mexico" by Bob Moore, "Asia Minor" from Kokomo, and "On the Rebound: by Floyd Cramer. But sorry Cathy, none of these made the cut.
Stan Jablonkie from Congers, New York really got into the spirit of MusicRadio by remembering the legendary feud between Neil Sedaka and a famous WABC DJ by voting for "Bad Blood" and dedicating it "for Big Dan"!
And "sweets" came from David Mucha of Los Angeles, California as he voted for "Sweet Caroline" and "Sweet Seasons". The news became bittersweet for David, however, as neither song made the Top 77.
And, oh do I love those combinations! It's
incredible to see the mix of songs and artists one voter will group together as their
favorites, like Pink Floyd and the Fleetwoods from Robert Wudyka of Levittown, New York.
Or hard rocking Slade with middle-of-the-road singer Maureen McGovern. Or how about David
Bowie and Eddie Fisher? Or recent hit-makers Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch with ancient
hit-makers Bill Haley and the Comets.
Judy Garland got votes with Bruce Springsteen, the Flamingos and Led Zeppelin got together as one voter's favorites, and Led Zeppelin joined hands with Tommy Roe for another voter. Debbie Reynolds met the Rolling Stones, and Gene Simmons hooked up with Lee Ann Womack. How's THAT for an unlikely paring?
Female power brought Rosemary Clooney and Tiffany together. And someone voted new teen chart champs B*Witched right next to 60's ballad singers the Letterman and the Bachelors.
It was interesting to see Pedro Hazel of New York, New York vote for BOTH Diana Ross' and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Well, Pedro, one of 'em made it, anyway.
And it was even more interesting to see how Andy Williams' "Happy Heart" ended up being voted together with Rockwell's "Obscene Phone Caller". Is there a connection there?
Or better yet, how's this for a subliminal or not-so-subliminal message? It's the top three choice of "Bitch", "Lay Your Hands on Me", "Into the Groove"...now THAT'S some story line! And, er...as if that's not bad enough...it was voted by "Pregnant Pam" of Queens, New York. NO FURTHER COMMENT!
Steve Jacobs from the Bronx, New York made me happy by voting for Shania Twain, but unfortunately Steve's vote and my cheerleading wasn't enough to get the Canadian cutie onto the list.
And as David from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania voted for his favorite, "Here Comes the Sun", we couldn't agree more with his tribute words to its' author when David wrote; "There Went the Sun", George Harrison, 2001.
Vince "Rock and Roll" Geek from
Brooklyn almost took top honors for most interesting name. Unfortunately, he was nosed out
by what would have to anyone's choice for unusual name, Queequeg Quigley of Nukufola, West
And speaking of international and national participation, we heard from all but six states (shame on you, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, North Dakota, Utah and Vermont). Washington D.C. checked in, as did 12 foreign lands: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Malaysia, Mexico, North Mariani Islands, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Ukraine, and the West Indies. By the time the final bell rang, we had over 2600 votes with 67.3% coming from men and 29.4% coming from women (the balance was undetermined due to unisex first names).
To Hilary who wrote: "It was fun seeing all the different songs and where they came from...And nearly impossible to only choose three favorite songs. Thanks for all your hard work." I understand, I understand. But can you imagine if I asked for everyone's top ten, Hilary? I'd be calculating the results until June!
And to Mike Gallant, who wrote: "I just wanted to congratulate you on your hard work with these yearly Top 77 Favorite Song lists. You have no idea how many of us truly appreciate your dedication with this annual project. Can't wait to see "our" Top 77 list during Christmas week." Hey Mike, enthusiasm like yours is really the MAIN reason I keep doing this year after year. Thank YOU for the excitement...and, hey, your "prediction" of the final tally wasn't so bad. Maybe you can take over for me when I retire from this!
Colin Hill from Willerby, East Yorkshire,
England wanted to vote an "All American tribute this year with songs that were never
hits in England." Let's hear it for the U.S.A.!
But Colin wasn't alone in that sentiment for the year 2001, as patriotism rang loud for our voters. The recurrent thoughts that could not be ignored came from the heart, as over and over again patriotic songs like "The Star Spangled Banner" (in several versions"), "I Love America" by Patrick Juvet, "America" by Neil Diamond, and many, many others were voted for.
Site visitors absolutely embraced New York City this year, sending their love for our bruised city by voting for lots and lots of New York-themed songs, like "Theme from New York, New York", "The Boy from New York City", "Native New Yorker", "New York State of Mind", "Second Avenue", and others. There was even a vote for the group New York City and "I'm Doin' Fine Now". Which is EXACTLY how New York IS doing. Charlie Jordan of Colebrook, New Hampshire perhaps said it best: "This year and every year, New York City is the best city in the world. We Love ya!"
Thanks, Charlie. I think that this year, just about EVERYONE agrees.
OK, here's how the list was compiled: Voters were asked to choose their three all-time favorite songs from any era, not just the years that WABC was a music station. Songs voted for received three points if they were voted as a number one favorite, two points as a number two favorite, or one point as a number three favorite. If a voter specifically wrote that their favorites were in no particular order, each song voted for received two points. Points were tallied and those songs with the most votes were ranked highest. The number of people who voted for each song was also considered and factored in with a variably weighted system for the final ranking. Ties were broken based on the number of voters for each song, then the number of #1 votes for the song, and finally, if still tied, by the higher ranking song on the WABC and national surveys.
So now it's time to look at your list
for 2001...the all-time greats,
voted by you! Let's "scroll 'em down" from #77 to #1!
MUSICRADIO77 WEB SITE ALL TIME TOP 77
(98)(99)(00)(01) Title Artist (Year) (--)(--)(50) 77.*Stoned Soul Picnic - Fifth Dimension (1968) (--)(37)(41) 76.*Penny Lane - Beatles (1967) (--)(--)(--) 75.*House of the Rising Sun - Animals (1964) (18)(24)(--) 74.*Wedding Bell Blues - Fifth Dimension (1969) (--)(66)(--) 73. Bits and Pieces - Dave Clark Five (1964) ( 3)(12)(62) 72. My Girl - Temptations (1965) (--)(--)(--) 71. Midnight Confessions - Grass Roots (1968) (--)(--)(--) 70. Magic - Pilot (1975) (--)(--)(--) 69.*(They Long to Be) Close to You - Carpenters (1970) (--)(--)(--) 68.*Strangers in the Night - Frank Sinatra (1966) (--)(--)(--) 67.*Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes (1981) (--)(--)(--) 66. Won't Get Fooled Again - Who (1971) (--)(--)(--) 65. Could This Be Magic - Dubs (1957) (19)(52)(59) 64.*Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (1970) (--)(--)(--) 63.*People Got to Be Free - Rascals (1968) (21)(72)(--) 62. Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass (1972) (--)(--)(--) 61. A Life of Illusion - Joe Walsh (1981) (--)(--)(--) 60. More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Starecase (1969) (--)(32)(21) 59. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan (1965) (--)(--)(--) 58. The Closer You Are - Channels (1956) (--)(--)(--) 57. Dream a Little Dream of Me - Mama Cass (1968) (--)(58)(--) 56.*Rag Doll - Four Seasons (1964) (--)(--)(42) 55.*Joy to the World - Three Dog Night (1971) (--)(--)(--) 54. At Last - Etta James (1961) (24)(--)(44) 53. Layla - Derek & the Dominoes (1971/1972) (--)(23)(26) 52.*Incense and Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967) (35)(28)(19) 51. Since I Don't Have You - Skyliners (1959) (11)(19)(--) 50.*It's Too Late - Carole King (1971) (--)(--)(--) 49. Lowdown - Boz Scaggs (1976) (--)(--)(--) 48. Us and Them - Pink Floyd (1973) (from the LP "Dark Side of the Moon") (--)(--)(--) 47. A Sunday Kind of Love - Harptones (1953) (--)(--)(--) 46. Promises Promises - Dionne Warwick (1968) (--)(--)(--) 45. I Love Music - O'Jays (1975) (--)(--)(--) 44.*Help! - The Beatles (1965) (--)(--)(--) 43.*California Dreamin' - Mamas & the Papas (1966) (--)(--)(--) 42. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (1983) (--)(--)(32) 41.*Yesterday - Beatles (1965) (36)(--)(37) 40. Taxi - Harry Chapin (1972) (32)(44)(31) 39. He's a Rebel - Crystals (1962) (--)(--)(--) 38. Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel (1978) (--)(--)(--) 37. Believe - Cher (1999) (--)(--)(--) 36.*Honky Tonk Women - Rolling Stones (1969) (--)(42)(16) 35. I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts (1958) (27)(25)(24) 34.*Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues (1972) (48)(--)(--) 33. In My Life - Beatles (1966) (from the LP "Rubber Soul") (--)(39)(20) 32. Like to Get to Know You - Spanky & Our Gang (1968) (--)(--)(--) 31.*Maggie May - Rod Stewart (1971) (--)(51)(--) 30. River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner (1966) (--)(--)(--) 29. Love Is Here and Now You're Gone - Supremes (1967) (--)(34)(--) 28. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen (1975) (--)(--)(--) 27. Catch Us If You Can - Dave Clark Five (1965) (53)(--)(--) 26.*The Twist - Chubby Checker (1960/1962) (--)(--)(45) 25. Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) - Reunion (1974) (--)(--)(--) 24. My Sweet Lord - George Harrison (1970) (--)(--)(--) 23. What Is Life - George Harrison (1971) (--)(60)(--) 22.*You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers (1965) (--)(20)(27) 21. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers (1965/1990) ( 4)( 9)(14) 20.*She Loves You - Beatles (1964) (56)(--)(53) 19.*Let It Be - Beatles (1970) (23)( 7)(13) 18. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys (1966) (--)(--)(40) 17. God Only Knows - Beach Boys (1966) (12)(43)(--) 16. A Day in the Life - Beatles (1967) (from the LP "Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band") ( 2)( 3)( 9) 15.*Light My Fire - Doors (1967) (10)(10)( 7) 14.*I Want to Hold Your Hand - Beatles (1964) (--)(14)(35) 13. Because - Dave Clark Five (1964) ( 8)( 8)(10) 12. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin (1972) (from the LP "Lez Zeppelin IV") (--)(--)(--) 11. I Love You - Climax Blues Band (1981) (15)( 5)( 3) 10.*American Pie - Don McLean (1972) (25)(61)(12) 9. Imagine - John Lennon (1971) (--)(--)(--) 8. Theme from "New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra (1980) (--)(--)( 6) 7. Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me - Gladys Knight & the Pips (1974) (16)(18)(11) 6.*Horse with No Name - America (1972) (14)(17)( 4) 5. MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (1968) ( 5)(16)( 8) 4.*(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones (1965) ( 6)( 6)( 5) 3.*Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (1970) (17)(11)( 2) 2. In the Still of the Night - Five Satins (1956) And now..."WABC...Power Play One!...Play One!...Play One!!!" ( 1)( 1)( 1) 1.*Hey Jude - Beatles (1968)
Asterisks (*) indicate a former #1 song on the WABC weekly survey. Analysis by Mike Riccio
There you have it!
The official WABC Musicradio77
Web Site Top Hit List -
2001 Edition - As voted by you!
Some interesting points:
Once again, I added the position each song held on the previous Top 77 lists for comparison purposes. Just from the top 77, over 50% of the songs are from the 1960's. About a third come from the 70's, just under 8% are from the 50's, 6.5% of the songs are from the 80's, and 2.6% are from the 90's.
The Beatles, once again, overwhelmed the list with 9 songs, or more than 12%, of the top 77. In all, they placed an amazing 38 songs on the overall list. And although it looked a bit shaky at the beginning of the voting for "Hey Jude" to repeat, the song came on strong in the last few weeks of voting to land at a solid #1 for the fourth straight year. It ended up with nearly 50% more votes than the #2 song.
And that #2 song? Well, suffice it to say that the Five Satins are true champs in their own right. "In the Still of the Nite" was either #1 or #2 for the duration of the voting. Two other songs that really had strong years this time around were "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Satisfaction". Both of these had their strongest years ever and both of these made a run for the #1 spot at least once during the voting. Overall, voters really included songs to be proud of, with 38 out of the top 77 songs (THAT'S 49%) being former #1 hits on WABC or the national charts.
It was interesting to see last year's surprise entry
"Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me" remain strong this year. But it was even
more amazing to see "I Love You" by the Climax Blues Band jump onto the list
from nowhere to #11. Can anyone explain THAT one? (In reality, this song is a HUGE classic
in the midwest, and votes from that part of the country helped it get into the top 20.)
"Light My Fire" by the Doors dropped down to #15 this year, and for a while it looked like it wouldn't make the list at all. But as far as "dropouts" go, how about "Mack the Knife"? The song that finished #2 two years ago and #15 last year not only fell off the top 77 completely, but barely made it into the top 300 of the list!
We also lost some other songs that made all of our previous three surveys. This list includes: "Glad All Over" by the Dave Clark Five (#80) and "Jazzman" by Carole King (out of the top 100 totally). And, in case you're curious, this year's "Missed It by THAT Much" award goes to Al Green and "Let's Stay Together", which just missed the top 77 by finishing at #78.
It was good to see "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles return strong at #16. It had inexplicably dipped below #77 last year and has now made three of our four surveys. And "In My Life" from the LP "Rubber Soul" is back again this week, establishing itself as one of the most popular Beatles album cuts. Who would have thought it?
The lack of Motown music on the top 77 is a surprise. Who would have thought that "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" would be the only Supremes hit to make the list?
And for some more surprises, look no further than #48 and #61. Supergroup Pink Floyd finally make the list but with a song not generally considered their most popular LP cut, and certainly not with their biggest hit (remember "Another Brick in the Wall"?). And Joe Walsh slipped into the #61 slot over any of his bigger hits either solo or with the Eagles with "A Life of Illusion". How did THAT happen?
I loved seeing Mama Cass make the survey with "Dream a Little Dream of Me" at #57, but where oh where is ELVIS? He's not to be found at all on the top 77 because votes were scattered among lots of different Presley songs.
And look out below! After many years of finishing solidly in the top 77, the following songs are tumbling precariously close to falling off the list completely: "Like a Rolling Stone", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "My Girl" and "Penny Lane".
A tip of the hat to the 1950's classics that made the survey from the Harptones, the Dubs and the Channels. And congratulations are in order for Cher's "Believe" for making the list from 1999, and for the current hit from Pink, "Get the Party Started" for nearly getting enough votes to crack the top 77 (it came in at #90).
Many superstars had lots of votes, but because the votes came in for different songs, none of these artists made the top 77. Elton John, Madonna, Elvis, Barry Manilow, Petula Clark and Chicago had lots of votes but no songs on the final list. Billy Joel, the Supremes, Dionne Warwick and the Four Seasons also did very well, but landed only one song each on the final top 77 list.
Many votes came in for songs from the 1990's and the 00's, but again, since the songs voted for were all different, very few even came close to making the final survey.
But perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that, after four years of doing this, I can come to some reasonable conclusions about the "All-Time" hit lists we come across at various radio stations or websites from time to time.
One of the reasons for starting this survey was to gain evidence on the accuracy of these "All-Time" lists. I can safely say that a truly "accurate" list is very rare indeed, and very difficult to construct. Here's why:
First, for a reason that's beyond me, there will always be people who are intent on "fixing" the voting. Year after year, I come across various individuals or groups of people who methodically or randomly attempt to "stuff the ballot box". My crew of "survey detectives" and I have become quite good at sniffing out these phony votes. But it involves double and triple checking at least five different sources of origin to determine the phony votes from the genuine votes. Frankly, most radio stations just won't take the time, don't have the know-how, or just don't have the desire to check out the votes as thoroughly as we do here. Hence, most of the all-time lists are probably unfairly influenced by fan clubs or other fanatics looking to tip the scales in their favor.
Second, the tabulation system is a complex one, and one that has to be checked for errors over and over again. With a major market station that gets thousands and thousands of votes, the job becomes simply overwhelming. The likelihood of a station music director taking the time to be sure the calculations check out is low indeed.
Third, many voters seem to be influenced by other voters' opinions. Often I see a song out of left field getting a vote, and then suddenly within days it gets additional votes before dropping into obscurity for the remaining time of the voting period. Obviously, someone saw the song being voted for and decided, why not, they'd vote for it too. On a radio station this can be manifested by a listener hearing a song on the radio that they forgot about, and then deciding they would vote for it. Before hearing it, they may have never thought of it as one of their all-time favorites. Yet they vote for it.
Plus, the mix of songs and specific wide range of music that makes any fairly calculated top survey list is likely to contain songs that would not fit into any given station's format. Therefore, program directors would almost always alter the list to rearrange the votes or delete songs altogether to fit with the format or the pacing of their station. As proof of this, look at our list and try to think of ANY station that has played or would play every song on this survey.
And there are many, many more reasons that could be discussed here. But, overall, know that this list is compiled to give you EXACTLY the results that you voted for, and this seems to be something that you're not too likely to find with most other "All-Time" hit lists.
Here are the other interesting breakdowns I do each year based on ALL votes, not just the top 77:
Here are the top states by percent of overall votes:
1. New York (51.7%) 2. New Jersey (14.4%) 3. Connecticut (4.4%) 4. Pennsylvania (3.3%) 5. Florida (2.4%) 6. (tie) California (2.2%) 6. (tie) Massachusetts (2.2%) 8. Tennessee (2%) 9. Virginia (1.6%) 10. Texas (1.3%)
It's interesting to note that Canada tied with Texas for tenth place in overall participation.
And Texas replaced New Hampshire as the only new entry to the top ten voting states from last year's list.
New York voters were up substantially over last year.
1. The Beatles (1) 38 songs 2. The Rolling Stones (2) 19 songs 3. Elton John (--) 13 songs 4. Madonna (6) 12 songs 5. The Dave Clark Five (9) 11 songs 6. The Beach Boys (4) 11 songs 7. The Supremes (--) 11 songs 8. The Four Seasons (5) 10 songs 9. Elvis Presley (3) 10 songs 10. George Harrison (--) 9 songs
Ties were broken by top total points. Last year's position is in brackets.
Top Hits by Decade
1. In the Still of the Nite - Five Satins (1956) 2. I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts (1958) 3. A Sunday Kind of Love - Harptones (1953) 4. Since I Don't Have You - Skyliners (1959) 5. The Closer You Are - Channels (1956) 6. Could This Be Magic - Dubs (1957) 7. Whispering Bells - Dell-Vikings (1957) 8. Desirie - Charts (1957) 9. Come Go with Me - Dell-Viking (1957) 10. This I Swear - Skyliners (1959)
1. Hey Jude - Beatles (1968) 2. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones (1965) 3. MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (1968) 4. Because - Dave Clark Five (1964) 5. I Want to Hold Your Hand - Beatles (1964) 6. Light My Fire - Doors (1967) 7. A Day in the Life - Beatles (1967) 8. God Only Knows - Beach Boys (1966) 9. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys (1966) 10. She Loves You - Beatles (1964)
1. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (1970) 2. A Horse with No Name - America (1972) 3. The Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me - Gladys Knight & the Pips (1974) 4. Imagine - John Lennon (1971) 5. American Pie - Don McLean (1972) 6. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin (1972) 7. Let It Be - Beatles (1970) 8. What Is Life - George Harrison (1971) 9. My Sweet Lord - George Harrison (1970) 10. Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) - Reunion (1974)
It's interesting to note that the entire top ten from the 1970's are from songs released between 1970 and 1974.
1. Theme from "New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra (1980) 2. I Love You - Climax Blues Band (1981) 3. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (1983) 4. A Life of Illusion - Joe Walsh (1981) 5. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes (1981) 6. When We Was Fab - George Harrison (1988) 7. Robert DiNiro's Waiting - Bananarama (1984) 8. I Get Weak - Belinda Carlisle (1988) 9. Rocket - Def Leppard (1989) 10. Nobody Told Me - John Lennon (1984)
1. Believe - Cher (1999)
Votes were scattered among too many other 1990's songs to accurately round out the top ten. Also, although "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers was re-released in 1990, it was counted here as a 1960's song, and not a 1990's hit.
1. Get the Party Started - Pink (2001) 2. Music - Madonna (2000) 3. Whenever, Wherever - Shakira (2001)
Obviously, the majority of songs from the 00's tend to be currents. As a result, I listed only the top three.
So ends another year of ranking your favorites. I hope you
enjoy the survey. That enjoyment is what really makes the hours and hours of work
worthwhile for me. I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts, which you can post at the New York Radio Message Board.
A special thanks to fellow "Survey Guy" Tom Natoli for his help with the Excel program I used to compile this list, to webmaster Allan Sniffen for support and back-up with voting verification and policy decisions, and to Ron Kovacs for his help in making this survey "come alive" at his music site RadioMaxMusic.com.
Now I can sleep until May and gather my strength to (hopefully) do it all again next year!
Mike Riccio (MusicRadio77.com "Survey Guy")
WABC Musicradio 77 Home Page