The 1999 Musicradio 77 Web Site All Time Favorite Hits

Commentary and analysis by Mike Riccio

(as voted by site visitors 11/2/99 through 12/14/99)

This year, for the second time, we decided to poll our site visitors to determine the Top 77 All Time Hits. This "tradition" began as an attempt to find out, once and for all, how a true and unbiased calculation would compare to the many radio station "All Time" surveys that are featured during the year and especially during the holiday season.

Once again, we must have struck a nerve since the response was simply incredible as the popularity of the site and of our "holiday voting tradition" seems to be growing. Votes came in from literally all over the world, and all but seven states were heard from. (Where were you Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont?) And we also heard from our friends in England, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong, Belgium, Argentina, France, the Philippines and the Netherlands. In fact, for a long time both Canada and England were outvoting Connecticut, a state in WABC's prime listening area during the Musicradio days. In the end, Connecticut voters came on strong; however, England and Canada still combined for more voters than Connecticut.

Yes, I heard you all about how tough it is to pick just three songs, but that's part of the fun of this and also guarantees that the songs voted for will be pretty strong favorites for each voter who participates.

I always love to see the incongruencies that end up in each voter's top three! What unusual combinations! Like the voter who picked in his top three both "Try the Impossible" (a do-wop hit) and Vanilla Fudge. Or the lady who chose a Deep Purple song AND a Bobby Rydell hit. Want to read more? Well, some other combinations featured Shania Twain and Patti Page, Dave Edmunds' "I Hear You Knocking" and Marlene Deitrich's "Falling in Love Again", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (Black Sabbath) and "Muskrat Love" (Captain & Tenille), a vote for "Hello Again" by Herb Oscar Anderson, a vote for "A Letter to My Teenage Son" by Victor Lundberg, and --- I loved this one --- "Papa was a Rolling Stone" followed by his next favorite "Ave Maria" (by Bach)! All told, we heard from over 800 individual voters who voted for over 1400 individual songs.

But the prize for either most creative voter or strangest voter goes to the following, and I quote:
#1 "What's the Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You)" - Timi Yuro
#2 "Torture" - Kris Jensen
#3 "Hang ‘Em High" - Booker T.

Votes cast by: Mistress Gina (Love Me My Slave Boys!) YIKES!!! (Sorry, we will NOT disclose her email address or phone number!)

I love the memories this exercise provoked. "Hey, WABC, we had fun once, didn't we?" wrote Dean Brandon from Indiana. And "Heals" from New York remembers the best times "cruising the boulevard of Long Island...listening to the survey every Tuesday night with our Cousin Brucie." And John Simon from Ithaca, New York writes, "so many great songs evoking so many places and moments...each of these (songs) still sounds as great on AM car radio speakers as they do stereo headphones, and I defy anyone to NOT start singing along. Thanks for the website".

And thanks to all of you for making this such a fascinating labor of love, and a "new" Musicradio WABC tradition for the ‘90's and (we hope) beyond!

Now to the details. Again this year, I used a reverse point system for anyone who indicated their songs in an order of preference (#1 got 3 points, #2 got 2 points, #3 got 1 point). Those songs listed in no order of preference were given two points each this year. Point ties were broken first by songs voted for by the most individuals, then by those receiving the highest rankings from individual voters, and, if still tied, by which song ranked higher on the WABC/WMCA surveys.

Most people voted fairly, but there were some adjustments made for ballot- stuffing attempts by various individuals and fan clubs (most noticeably Garth Brooks' fans). Some valiant attempts were made on behalf of Bobby Darin and the Dave Clark Five; however, both of these artists received many, many legitimate votes and both finished very strong on the list.

So, hang on to your hat as, once again, we "scroll ‘em down" (high tech's version of "counting ‘em down") from #77 to #1!


1999 edition

(--) 77. Cherry Hill Park - Billy Joe Royal (1969)
(--) 76. Beach Baby - First Class (1974)
(--) 75. Operator - Jim Croce (1972)
( 9) 74.*Jazzman - Carole King (1974)
(--) 73. You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore (1964)
(21) 72. Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) - Looking Glass (1972)
(--) 71.*Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones (1967)
(--) 70.*Theme from "A Summer Place" - Percy Faith Orchestra (1960)
(--) 69.*Crocodile Rock - Elton John (1973)
(65) 68.*I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)- 
         The Four Tops (1965)
(--) 67. Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion (1996)
(--) 66. Bits and Pieces - The Dave Clark Five (1964)
(--) 65. Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley (1962)
(--) 64. Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes (1984)
(--) 63. My Way - Frank Sinatra (1969)
(--) 62.*Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan (1972)
(25) 61. Imagine - John Lennon (1971)
(--) 60.*You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - 
         The Righteous Brothers (1965)
(--) 59. Maybe I Know - Lesley Gore (1964)
(--) 58.*Rag Doll - The Four Seasons (1964)
(--) 57.*The Rain, the Park and Other Things - The Cowsills (1967)
(--) 56. Hotel California - The Eagles (1977)
(--) 55.*Baby Love - The Supremes (1964)
(--) 54. How Do I Live? - LeAnn Rimes (1998)
(59) 53.*You're So Vain - Carly Simon (1973)
(19) 52.*Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
(--) 51. River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner (1966)
(--) 50. Try Too Hard - The Dave Clark Five (1966)
(77) 49. Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys (1966)
(--) 48. California Girls - The Beach Boys (1965)
(--) 47.*Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)- 
         The Byrds (1965)
(74) 46. Your Song - Elton John (1971)
(--) 45.*Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In(The Flesh Failures)-
         5th Dimension (1969)
(32) 44. He's a Rebel - The Crystals (1962)
(12) 43. A Day in the Life (LP - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts
         Club Band)- The Beatles (1967)
(--) 42. I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts (1958)
(--) 41. The Wanderer - Dion (1962)
(--) 40.*A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles (1964)
(--) 39. Like to Get to Know You - Spanky & Our Gang (1968)
(--) 38.*Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles (1961)
(41) 37.*Penny Lane - The Beatles (1967)
(56) 36.*Let It Be - The Beatles (1970)
(--) 35. (I Wanna) Testify - The Parliaments (1967)
(--) 34. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen (1975)
(--) 33. Don't Say You Don't Remember - Beverly Bremers (1972)
(--) 32. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan (1965)
(--) 31.*Rock the Boat - The Hues Corporation (1974)
(--) 30. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles (1967)
(--) 29. Things I'd Like to Say - The New Colony Six (1969)
(35) 28. Since I Don't Have You - The Skyliners (1959)
(--) 27. Woman - John Lennon (1981)
(--) 26. Dream Lover - Bobby Darin (1959)
(27) 25.*Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues (1972)
(18) 24.*Wedding Bell Blues - The 5th Dimension (1969)
(--) 23.*Incense and Peppermints - Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967)
(--) 22. Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell (1968)
(71) 21. Until You Come Back to Me - Aretha Franklin (1974)
(--) 20. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers (1965, 1990)
(11) 19.*It's Too Late - Carole King (1971)
(16) 18.*A Horse with No Name - America (1972)
(14) 17. MacArthur Park - Richard Harris (1968)
( 5) 16.*(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (1965)
( 7) 15.*I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John (1974)
(--) 14. Because - The Dave Clark Five (1964)
(62) 13. Glad All Over - The Dave Clark Five (1964)
( 3) 12. My Girl - The Temptations (1965)
(17) 11. In the Still of the Nite - The Five Satins (1956)
(10) 10.*I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles (1964)
( 4)  9.*She Loves You - The Beatles (1964)
( 8)  8. Stairway to Heaven (LP - "Led Zeppelin IV") - Led Zeppelin
(23)  7. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys (1966)
( 6)  6. *Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (1970)
(15)  5. *American Pie - Don McLean (1972)
(--)  4. Beyond the Sea - Bobby Darin (1960)
( 2)  3. *Light My Fire - The Doors (1967)
(49)  2. Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin (1959)

And Now..."The Superhit Sound of...77 WABC...
With the Hotline of Hits!..."(Ingram voice-over here):
"Today this song is superhit number one...hit
one...hit one..."

( 1)  1.*Hey Jude - The 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 Website Top Hit List -
1999 Edition - As voted by you!


Some interesting points:

This year, you'll note I added "Position Last Year" for comparison purposes. At first glance, it seems like there are lots of new songs on the list. Well, there are...but don't be deceived. Most of the new additions to the list were songs that finished from #78 to #200 on last year's list. So, if our list were expanded to a top 100 or top 200 like many radio stations have, most of the songs voted for would have remained fairly consistent.

And speaking of #78, if you're curious which song just missed out, it was "Love Is Blue (L'Amour Est Bleu)", a former WABC #1 by Paul Mauriat from 1968.

This year, by and large, our site visitors voted for real superhits, making this a list to be proud of. In fact, 32 of the 77 songs were former #1 hits on WABC...that's 42% of the survey.

"Hey Jude" was once again an OVERWHELMING number one. Oh, and here's the surprise: THIS is the song that was voted on almost exclusively by male voters. In fact, 91% of its' votes came from men, and for most of the voting period, not one female vote came in for "Hey Jude". Overall, 65% of the voters were male, 27% were female, and 8% were "undetermined". No, I don't need a lesson in anatomy, those votes came from "Pat's" or people leaving only initials that I couldn't determine which sex they were.

Surprises? There were many. This year, the Beatles really overwhelmed the list. Lots and lots of Beatles votes were cast. John Lennon's "Imagine" (#61) dropped way down this year, but his "Woman" emerged as a huge favorite (#27). In general, female artists were down this year (led by "Jazzman" dropping from #9 to #74), although late voting did put many female artist on this list. For a long time, only Diana Ross' "...Mountain" (#6) was consistently being voted in the Top 20. On the positive side, lots of votes came in for Lesley Gore songs this year, and the old Supremes hits did real well.

Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Dion (with and without the Belmonts), and Bruce Springsteen came on strong this year, with lots of songs being voted for both on the Top 77 and just below #77.

More surprises? "Cherry Hill Park" (#77), "Like to Get to Know You" (#39), "Testify" (#35), "Don't Say You Don't Remember" (#33), and "Things I'd Like to Say" (#29)...where did THESE relatively minor hits come from? And how about Glen Campbell? Not only did "Wichita Lineman" make the list at #22, but many other hits of his barely missed the Top 77.

"Layla" is our biggest drop-off this year, and "Beyond the Sea" our biggest new entry. In fact, for a long time, both "Beyond the Sea" and the Dave Clark Five's "Because" were both new entries that were in our top 10, and this came from across the board voting (not just the die-hard Darin and DC 5 ballot stuffers - grin!).

"Incense and Peppermints" led the early voting for awhile (ending up at #23), and the Beach Boys had a real strong year, with "Good Vibrations" (#7) receiving strong votes from beginning to end.

And, finally, how about those 1990's hits on the list...Celine Dion (#67) and LeAnn Rimes (#54). Now that's a sure sign that we're headed into a new century.

Here are some more interesting breakdowns based on ALL songs voted for, not just those that made the Top 77.



Who voted?

Here are the top states by percent of overall votes:

1. New York (26.7%)
2. New Jersey (12.7%)
3. Pennsylvania (4.6%)
4. Connecticut (4.3%) tie
4. California (4.3%) tie
6. Florida (4%)
7. Tennessee (3.5%)
8. Ohio (3.1%)
9. Massachusetts (3%)
10.Virginia (2.6%)
Analysis by Mike Riccio



Top Vote-Getters by Artist
(Last Year's Position in Brackets)

1. The Beatles (1)
2. The Beach Boys (2)
3. The Rolling Stones (4)
4. Elvis Presley (5)
5. The Dave Clark Five (6)
6. The Four Seasons (3)
7. Bobby Darin (--)
8. The Supremes (--)
9. The Kinks (--)
10.Chicago (--)
Analysis by Mike Riccio

Note that neither the Kinks nor Chicago had a song in the Top 77,
although they finished in our overall Top 10 for votes!


Top Hits by Decade
1. Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin
2. In the Still of the Nite - The Five Satins
3. Dream Lover - Bobby Darin
4. Since I Don't Have You - The Skyliners
5. I Wonder Why - Dion & the Belmonts
6. It's Only Make Believe - Conway Twitty
7. It's All in the Game - Tommy Edwards
8. A Big Hunk of Love - Elvis Presley
9. Sea of Love - Phil Phillips
10.Star Dust - Billy Ward & His Dominoes


1. Hey Jude - The Beatles
2. Light My Fire - The Doors
3. Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin
4. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
5. She Loves You - The Beatles
6. I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
7. My Girl - The Temptations
8. Glad All Over - The Dave Clark Five
9. Because - The Dave Clark Five
10.(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
1. American Pie - Don McLean
2. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross
3. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
4. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
5. A Horse with No Name - America
6. It's Too Late - Carole King
7. Until You Come Back to Me - Aretha Franklin
8. Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
9. Rock the Boat - The Hues Corporation
10.Don't Say You Don't Remember - Beverly Bremers
1. Woman - John Lennon
2. Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
3. Theme from "New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra
4. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Gos
5. Summer of ‘69 - Bryan Adams
6. I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton (original version)
7. Strut - Sheena Easton
8. What I Like About You - The Romantics
9. I Won't Be Home Tonight - Tony Carey
10.Foolish Beat - Debbie Gibson
(Substantial votes were received only for the following:)
1. How Can I Live - Leann Rimes
2. Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
3. Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
4. Believe - Cher
5. Wannabe - The Spice Girls
Analysis by Mike Riccio



Percentage of Total Votes By Decade

1950's - 6.6%
1960's - 44.1%
1970's - 30.7%
1980's - 11.3%
1990's - 6.9%
Analysis by Mike Riccio

Many votes for the 1950's music came at the end of the voting, keeping that decade strong. The ‘70's dropped slightly, at the expense of the ‘80's and ‘90's, both of which showed increases over last year.


Hope you enjoy this. Please, give us your thoughts. We'd love to know your response. You may do so on the New York Radio Message Board.

Now, let's see. Maybe I can catch up on some sleep, or finally start some Christmas shopping, or maybe just recover from all this until we do it all again in the fall of 2000!


Mike Riccio ("Survey Guy")

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


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