Mike Riccio On The 2013 Top 77
by Scott Benjamin



The competition for number one in the Top Songs 77 All-Time Favorite Hits Poll is between a tune from four mop tops from England which prompted record labels and radio stations to reconsider limiting records to three minutes or less and a falsetto from a New Jersey group that is featured in a Tony Award-winning play.

Musicradio77.com Survey Guy Mike Riccio said during the first 15 years of his survey - which is posted at www.oldiesboard.com, which he moderates, and  www.musicradio77.com – “Hey Jude” (1968), by The Beatles, which runs more than seven minutes, has been the top song except in 2010 when “Rag Doll” (1964), by The Four Seasons, was the winner.

Mike said in a Nov. 18, 2013 phone interview that he believes that the interest in the Broadway musical Jersey Boys, which profiles the career of the Four Seasons, is partly responsible for the boost in votes for Rag Doll, which placed second to Hey Jude in 2012.

“The Four Seasons have some members from their fan club that have made it a point to vote,” he added.

The voting began Oct. 28 and will continue through at least Dec. 2. A link to the balloting is posted at www.musicradio77.com.

“It looks like we’re on an upswing this year,” Mike said, noting that there usually are 500 to 1,000 voters annually and a list of more than 3,000 songs that are nominated as each voter selects his top seven all-time favorites.

“You get the regulars that vote every year, but there is a cross-section since there also are new people every year,” he added.

Mike said the scoring is done by points in a descending order from seven points for a first-place selection to 1 for a song that is seventh on a ballot. Additionally, the total number of times a song is nominated also is calculated.

He said this is the fourth year that the ballot has been expanded to seven songs, which provides a good cross-section of the Top 40 hits from the 1960s and 1970s.

Fellow Musicradio77.com Survey Guy Tom Natoli and Frank Thomas are again providing technical assistance with search engines to help voters identify songs, an Excel point-counter system and ensuring that there is just one vote per person.

Some years ago, Mike, Tom, Mike Williamson and Don Tandler collectively assembled each of the WABC weekly surveys from December 1960 to May 1982, the years that it was a Top 40 station, that are posted at www.musicradio77.com.

Musicradio77.com’s Rewound Radio will play all of the songs nominated for a week starting Dec. 26, just as WABC played its Top 100 songs of the year during its hey-day as a music station.

Listeners eagerly anticipated the Top 100 during the Christmas holiday week and apparently several of them taped segments of it, since they surfaced years later as contributions that were aired during Memorial Day from 1999 through 2008 on WABC Rewound.

Through the early years of the Top 100, WABC would air promos inviting listeners to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to get a printed copy of the survey. Later, the Top 100 lists were available in the record stores that carried the weekly WABC surveys.

“We’re trying to create that same feeling of the Top 100 on WABC,” Mike said of the Rewound Radio holiday week special.

Mike said that on or about Thursday, Dec. 26, he Tom and Bob Radil, a Rewound Radio air personality who formerly worked at WNHU at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, will host a countdown of the Top 77.

He said through the years songs such as “Imagine” (1971), by the John Lennon Plastic Ono Band, “Light My Fire” (1967), by The Doors, and “Good Vibrations” (1966), by The Beach Boys, have consistently ranked high in the Top 77.

In 2012, “Light My Fire” was ninth, “Good Vibrations” placed 12th and “Imagine” was 14th on the survey.

Mike said “Love Is Blue” (1968), the Paul Mauriat instrumental that spent seven weeks atop the WABC weekly music survey and ranked fifth on the Top 100 of 1968, is so far getting more attention on the Top 77 than in previous years.

He said songs that get featured in commercials have often placed higher on the survey. He said an example has been “Happy Together” (1967), by The Turtles, which didn’t make the Top 77 but was 94th overall in 2012.

“The fact that the song is on the television or the radio in a commercial raises its profile,” Mike said.

In a small number of instances songs that never charted on WABC are in the Top 77, including “Stairway To Heaven” (1971), by Led Zeppelin, which ranked 10th in 2012.

Mike said the Top 77 is a source of enjoyment.

“It creates some excitement and it makes people think about the songs that they listened to while they were growing up,” he said."

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