little (pop culture history) help

Ok here’s my problem : I want to produce a radio show where the station goes “back in time” at midnight. By this I mean picking a year with the same date as the new day. Then playing the top 5 songs on that date. Also talking about the top 5 TV shows, movies, etc.

I thought I could find the aforementioned info on the web. I have been able to find just about anything else my (legal) heart desired on the internet. Yet I confess I am stumped. I have tried many search engines, but I can’t seem to ask the right question. Has anyone run across a websource along these lines ? I will take about any lead I can get.



I’m thinking. Saw a book once with the weekly Top 40 from '50 to '85. Can’t remember its title.

Meanwhile, I was still thinking.

I think you’re going to have to go to print.

A search using “yearbook music” turned up some interesting sites, including with this page which links to a number of other sites. However, most places seem to give only the number 1 song for each week or give the Top x songs from widely scattered weeks or the Top x songs for a given year.

(I tried searching on “casey kasem” but he isn’t revealing his sources on the web. Since there are a lot of retrospective shows that imitate Kasem, I am guessing that there is a printed publication from which they all borrow.)

This site, has a lot of stuff you can probably use, but it does not have the “top ten” from each week.

Well, the obvious source was Billboard. Unfortunately, while they do have a feature that shows the Billboard 200 for one, five, and ten years ago on this date, there doesn’t appear to be any way to specify the date nor to see anything but the album chart without becoming a member, which doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for.

I think tomndebb’s right; you’re probably best off making a monthly trip to a decent library, where you should be able to quickly cull the info you need for the coming month from the back issues of Billboard (for the music charts) and Variety (for the TV/movie info).

tom, rack:

I thank you for your input and you may be right.

I think that this is a piece by piece process.

If anyone knows where I can find a week by week listing of the top t.v. shows or movies or “headlines of the week” online. . . please pass it along.

Still looking for leads.

  • NM

Here’s a radio station site that offers the kind of thing you’re looking for. It’s a Toronto radio station that published its own weekly chart from 1957 until about thirty years later, and you can use its site to get the chart listing for any date during that time.

However, note that you might not recognize some of the music, since it is a Canadian station and the Canadian government brought in Canadian music requirements in the 1970s. And not all of those songs may have made it to your location. But each chart shows this station’s top thirty, so even if one or two of its top five aren’t familiar, the chart will have plenty of other choices that will be.

No idea about the top five movies or TV for each week, but IIRC, books like the Book of Lists (all editions), the People’s Almanac, and other such reference sources written by Wallechinsky and Wallace always seemed to have things like the top films by year, most popular episodes of TV shows, and the like. These kind of books are probably easily available at the public library.

Look for any book by Joel Whitburn. His source is “Billboard” magazine. My brother has almost all of his books. They list every weekly chart in whatever genre of music you’re looking for. They would be perfect in this situation.

Here’s a Billboard Top 40 Book at Amazon for under $20. I’ll bet you can find similar ones for movies, TV, news events, etc.