The 1998 Musicradio 77 Web Site All Time Favorite Hits

Commentary and analysis by Mike Riccio

Lots of you have asked us, “The Survey Guys", about the accuracy of the various “All-Time Hits” lists that various radio stations feature from time to time. So we decided to compile our own unbiased, accurate listing of the All-Time Favorite Hits of visitors to the WABC website (and sister site WMCA) .

And boy, did you ever respond! In the three week period from just before Thanksgiving through December 14, 1998 we received votes for approximately 850 songs from almost 500 voters!

And was this an eye opener! Votes came in from literally all over the world...from New York to Russia to Australia to the Netherlands and back to New York. Voters were certainly honest in their voting, with some very unusual combinations (“Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed was voted #1 by one site visitor, followed closely by his #2 favorite, “The Chipmunk Song”!) Combinations like this is what made this so interesting and at the same time so real. Although it was a ton of work, it was also two tons of fun to compile this!

To answer many questions about how something like this is compiled fairly, here’s a word about methodology. Votes were counted from these sources: the WABC voting site, the first posted votes at the message board (before Allan set up a separate location for voting), and from emails sent directly to me (Mike Riccio) from site visitors. Anyone whose voting pattern indicated an attempt to “stuff the ballot box” was disqualified. Duplicate votes from the same person were counted only once.

Individuals who indicated on their votes that their three choices were in order of preference had their favorites ranked using a reverse point system (#1 got 3 points, #2 got 2 points, #3 got 1 point). If a voter listed their three favorites in no specific order, their favorites were given 1 point for each song.

Songs with the most individuals voting for them were considered first. From this group, songs were ranked according to points accumulated using the above method. Ties were broken first by songs receiving highest rankings from individual voters. Songs still tied were ranked according to highest position attained on the WABC/WMCA charts.

My thanks to Tom Natoli for helping me to come up with the fairest system of compiling this list.

There is no “editing” here. These results are just as you voted for them, incongruencies at all; however, I must say that, although there are several surprises (which I note at the bottom of the page), this is one of the most “accurate” or should I say “logical” Top Hit Surveys I have ever seen. By this I mean that most songs included here are songs you would expect to find on a list of “All-Time Favorites”. (Note how many songs on the list were former #1 hits on WABC.)

One last note...from a statistical standpoint, the number of votes and voters could support an accurate Top 200. However, due to the increasing number of “ties” that would occur toward the bottom of the list, I’ve decided in keeping with the spirit of 77 WABC to go with a Top 77, which coincidentally represents the very most accurate part of our survey.

So, with no further adieu, roll up your sleeves and enjoy! Since we can’t “count ‘em down” as you would on the radio, we’ll acknowledge modern technology by “scrolling ‘em down” from #77 to #1!


1998 edition

77. Wouldn’t It Be Nice - The Beach Boys (1966)
76. Don’t Worry Baby - The Beach Boys (1964)
75. Rocket Man - Elton John (1972)
74. Your Song - Elton John (1971)
73. Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones (1971)
72. Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck (1976)
71. Until You Come Back to Me - Aretha Franklin (1974)
70. Eight Days a Week - The Beatles (1965) ***
69. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens (1961) ***
68. What Does It Take (to Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & the All Stars (1969)
67. Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (1965)
66. Twist and Shout - The Beatles (1964)
65. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) - The Four Tops (1965) ***
64. I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles (1964)
63. Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly/The Crickets (1958)
62. Glad All Over - The Dave Clark Five (1964)
61. Uptown Girl - Billy Joel (1983)
60. Dawn (Go Away) - The Four Seasons (1964)
59. You’re So Vain - Carly Simon (1973)
58. Night Fever - The Bee Gees (1978) ***
57. Groovin’ - The Young Rascals (1967) ***
56. Let It Be - The Beatles (1970) ***
55. Time Won’t Let Me - The Outsiders (1966)
54. Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce (1974) ***
53. The Twist - Chubby Checker (1960 & 1962) ***
52. Sherry - The Four Seasons (1962) ***
51. Piano Man - Billy Joel (1974)
50. Oh No, Not My Baby - Maxine Brown (1964)
49. Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin (1959)
48. In My Life - The Beatles (from the LP “Rubber Soul”) (1966)
47. This Old Heart of Mine - The Isley Brothers (1966)
46. Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - The Delfonics (1970)
45. Windy - The Association (1967) ***
44. Nathan Jones - The Supremes (1971)
43. Roundabout - Yes (1972)
42. I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingoes (1959)
41. Penny Lane - The Beatles (1967) ***
40. Cherish - The Association (1966) ***
39. Ricki Don’t Lose That Number - Steely Dan (1974)
38. Be My Baby - The Ronettes (1963) ***
37. My Prayer - The Platters (1956)
36. Taxi - Harry Chapin (1972)
35. Since I Don’t Have You - The Skyliners (1959)
34. Too Late to Turn Back Now - Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (1972)
33. Burnin’ Love - Elvis Presley (1972)
32. He’s a Rebel - The Crystals (1962)
31. Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley (1969)
30. Respect - Aretha Franklin (1967)
29. How Long - Ace (1975)
28. I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye (1968) ***
27. Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues (1972)
26. (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet - The Reflections (1964)
25. Imagine - John Lennon (1971)
24. Layla - Derek & the Dominoes (1972)
23. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys (1966)
22. A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum (1967)
21. Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass (1972) ***
20. Runaway - Del Shannon (1961) ***
19. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (1970) ***
18. Wedding Bell Blues - The Fifth Dimension (1969) ***
17. In the Still of the Nite - The Five Satins (1956)
16. A Horse with No Name - America (1972) ***
15. American Pie - Don McLean (1972) ***
14. MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (1967)
13. DownTown - Petula Clark (1965) ***
12. A Day in the Life - The Beatles (from LP “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) (1967)
11. It’s Too Late - Carol King (1971) ***
10. I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles (1964) ***
 9. Jazzman - Carole King (1974) ***
 8. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin (from the LP “Led Zeppelin IV”)  (1972)
 7. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John (1974) ***
 6. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (1970) ***
 5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (1965) ***
 4. She Loves You - The Beatles (1964) ***
 3. My Girl - The Temptations (1965)
 2. Light My Fire - The Doors (1967) ***

And Now...”W-ABC...Superhit One!...Hit One!...Hit One!...”
 1. HEY JUDE - THE BEATLES (1968) ***
Triple asterisks (***) indicate a former #1 song on the WABC weekly survey.
Analysis by Mike Riccio

There you have it!

The official WABC Musicradio77 Website Top Hit List as voted by you!


Some interesting points:

The #1 song, “Hey Jude” was an OVERWHELMING number one, receiving more than twice the number of votes than its’ closest contender, “Light My Fire”. From there, all the songs in the Top 40 of this list received especially strong votes.

The group of songs from #41 or so through #77 finished substantially stronger than those songs that did not make this list.

Overall, every song listed in this chart received votes from many, many people.


Some surprises from a “Survey Guy” standpoint...

How about #72, Starbuck? This one barely cracked the Top 10 yet finished strongly on our list. Along those same lines is “Oh No, Not My Baby” at #50, a song that received minor play on WABC in 1964 yet finished incredibly well here.

Would you believe that “Nathan Jones” is the top Supremes song according to our voters? And “Maybe Baby” is Buddy Holly’s biggest?

And “Time Won’t Let Me”...#55 of ALL TIME? Wow!

Even The Beatles had surprises here, with “In My Life” beating out almost every other LP cut from their incredible catalog of LP hits.

The popularity of Ace’s “How Long” and The Reflections “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet” I found surprising. And for the ladies...”Down Town” got tons of votes, and “Jazzman”...remember THAT one?...finished in the Top 10, higher even than Carole’s huge hit “It’s Too Late”.

And finally, “In the Still of the Nite” came in #17. For this song to finish so high on a chart dominated by songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s proves to me that “Yes, Virginia, this is a legitimate MONSTER hit and is legitimately being voted way up there on those surveys that consistently have it near the top of the charts”.

So what this proves to me is that you can never question people’s opinion when it comes to music. I will never again be surprised to see a “weird” or “offbeat” title on an “All Time Great” hit list. Because, as this survey proves, people’s legitimate favorites can be very “illegitimate” indeed.


For you survey are some breakdowns based on ALL songs voted for, not just those that made the Top 77.


Top Vote-Getters by Artist

1.   The Beatles
2.   The Beach Boys
3.   The Four Seasons
4.   The Rolling Stones
5.   Elvis Presley
6.   The Dave Clark Five (this was a surprise)
7.   Elton John
8.   The Bee Gees
9.   Billy Joel
10. The Drifters (another surprise)
Analysis by Mike Riccio



Top Hits by Decade
1.   In the Still of the Nite - Five Satins (1956)
2.   Since I Don’t Have You - The Skyliners (1959)
3.   My Prayer - The Platters (1956)
4.   I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingoes (1959)
5.   Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin (1959)
6.   Maybe Baby - The Crickets (Buddy Holly) (1958)
7.   Don’t Be Cruel - Elvis Presley (1956)
8.   I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts (1958)
9.   It’s All in the Game - Tommy Edwards (1958)
10. Whispering Bells - The Dell-Vikings (1957)


1.   Hey Jude - The Beatles (1968)
2.   Light My Fire - The Doors (1967)
3.   My Girl - The Temptations (1965)
4.   She Loves You - The Beatles (1964)
5.   (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (1965)
6.   I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles (1964)
7.   A Day in the Life - The Beatles (1967)
8.   Down Town - Petula Clark (1965)
9.   MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (1967)
10. Wedding Bell Blues - The Fifth Dimension (1969)
1.   Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (1970)
2.   I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton John (1974)
3.   Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin (1972)
4.   Jazzman - Carole King (1974)
5.   It’s Too Late - Carole King (1971)
6.   American Pie - Don McLean (1972)
7.   A Horse with No Name - America (1972)
8.   Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
9.   Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass (1972)
10. Layla- Derek & the Dominoes (1972)
 (Substantial votes were received on these four songs only)
1.   Uptown Girl - Billy Joel (1983)
2.   Woman - John Lennon (1981)
3.   Morse Code of Love - The Capris (1982)
4.   In Your Room - The Bangles (1988)
Votes here were too scattered to accurately produce a “top” list;
however, the clear-cut top artist of the 90’s was Mariah Carey.
Analysis by Mike Riccio



Percentage of Total Votes By Decade

1950’s - 7%
1960’s - 48%
1970’s - 35%
1980’s - 7% 
1990’s - 3%
Analysis by Mike Riccio


If you would like to see the actual votes, click here!


Enjoy the lists!

Hey, maybe we can make this some kind of annual tradition. But first, I need about a year’s worth of rest! LOL.

Mike Riccio


WABC Musicradio 77 Home Page