Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We sure do love lists!  

In fact, we've got quite a few of them posted on the other Forgotten Hits Website:   
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Home  

Even better if we can "rank" things ... and we've got quite a few of THOSE lists posted, too.   

Sometimes it's a mathematical process ... for example when we put together our list of The Top 200 Biggest Two-Sided Hits Of All-Time, we took the COMBINED performance of both sides of these singles and then, through a point system developed by chart statistician Randy Price, who monitored the chart history of all of the two-sided hits to ever hit Billboard's, Cash Box's or Record World's Top 40 Charts, awarded points and ranked the results accordingly. Then, to compliment this chart, we asked our readers to choose THEIR All-Time Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides ... records that DIDN'T make the The 40 and, in most cases, didn't chart at all ... but still deserved some recognition as a GREAT track. The results of that poll (which garnered over 65,000 votes when all was said and done) is also published on the site ... but these are CHOSEN favorites, determined strictly by the results of your votes.   

Similarly, we have The Top 50 All-Time Greatest Instrumentals posted on the site. The FIRST list is again a mathematical ranking based on the actual chart performance of these tracks. The SECOND list is a 20/20 Hindsight Poll, executed to determine which of these tracks have stood the test of time and remained our favorites all these years later. As such, you'll find that "The Theme from 'A Summer Place'", which topped Billboard's Top Singles Chart for ten weeks back in 1960, is the far-and-away biggest instrumental hit ever. However, when it comes to public opinion, it is eclipsed by Santo and Johnny's timeless hit "Sleep Walk", probably because it has been used in any variety of movies and ad campaigns since it first hit the charts in 1959, while the Percy Faith hit seems to be forever tied to the original motion picture from where it came. (Even so, it STILL placed at #2 on our "favorites" list ... while mathematically "Sleep Walk" could only muster a 23rd Place showing!)  

Recent Forgotten Hits Polls have helped to determine The Top 50 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands, The Top 20 All-Time Favorite Psychedelic Songs and The Top 100 Greatest Songs of Summer. Again, these were "subjective" polls, the results of which were determined by the votes cast by our readers. (In the case of the Favorite Summer Songs, we also ran a year-by-year recap of the ACTUAL Biggest Songs for Each Summer, again based on chart performance during the months of June, July and August.) 

Anyway, because we absolutely LOVE lists like these, we immediately fell in love with FH Reader Dann Isbell's new book "Ranking The '60's". (Jefrian Books, $29.95)

This is an INCREDIBLE body of work that mathematically ranks the 6800+ hits (by the 1800+ artists) that hit Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart between 1960 and 1969 ... an all-inclusive list of EVERY record's performance. (It makes for the perfect compliment to all of the Joel Whitburn / Record Research books, too! In fact, Joel has several books available now that are dedicated to the '60's, including one that features an actual reproduction of The Billboard Hot 100 Chart for EVERY week of this decade ... along with another book called "Across The Charts" that shows, by way of side-by-side comparisons, every record to hit Billboard's Pop, Country and R&B Chart during the decade. Joel's books (regarded as the industry's bibles) are available through his website, Click here: Joel Whitburn's Record Research | Music & Billboard Charts Data.   

While the Whitburn books are sorted by artists (with a chronological list of all their hits listed below their names), Dann Isbell has taken this one HUGE step further. He, too, has compiled a complete list of records charted by artist (along with the point totals that each earned during its run on the charts) but then also provides additional lists showing the ranking of each artist to make the charts during this incredible decade. (Not surprisingly, The Beatles came in at #1 ... somewhat surprisingly Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee and Ray Charles came in at numbers 2, 3 and 4, with Connie Francis, Chubby Checker and Sam Cooke all making The Top 20.) Radio today has brainwashed us into believing that the '60's began with The British Invasion in 1964, completely overlooking all that came before it in the way of current airplay ... Isbell's book clearly shows otherwise.  

But the coupe-de-grace, grand-daddy list of them all is his numerical ranking of EVERY hit, listed from the smallest (#6835 - "We Got The Winning Hand" by Little Milton, a song that earned exactly one point when it spent one week at #100 in 1966) all the way up to #1 ("The Twist", a #1 Hit TWICE for Chubby Checker in both 1960 and 1962.) Its combined point total of 8823 places it ahead of The Beatles' nine week #1 chart-topper "Hey Jude", which earned 6960 points all on its own. And, since we mentioned it earlier, the Percy Faith instrumental "Theme from 'A Summer Place'", a ten week #1 Record, came in third for the decade with 6551 points.  

What's really nice about a list like this is that it's as precise and accurate as it can be ... this book presents nothing but the facts, Jack ... all emotion and personal preference are left by the wayside as this book reflects the TRUE results of these records as they actually charted in Billboard in the '60's. Every record was rated the exact same way, without bias ... and the end results are indisputable. They may not be your favorites ... they may not even be the way you remember things (or the way you've been led to believe things were, based on the subsequent 50 years of airplay) ... and, quite honestly, there may be a few moments of head-scratching when you look at some of these songs and titles, simply because they've been absent from the airwaves for SO long now that MOST folks have completely forgotten that they ever even existed ... much less charted as well as they did.   

Because of this unique point system, you can see at a glance the biggest chart hits that each artist attained during this decade, regardless of what any given record's chart peak position may have been. 

Here is a perfect example, quoted right from Dann's book:  

Based on this compilation's ranking methodology, the THIRD most popular hit by Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Just Like Me", was actually the group's FIFTH highest peaking title on the Hot 100, at #11. Looking solely at peak position would lead to a mistaken assumption that both "Him Or Me, What's It Gonna Be" at #5 and "Hungry" at #6 were necessarily more popular" ... when in reality, this simply isn't the case.  Despite peaking at #11, "Just Like Me" earned more points overall for its total chart run.  And, for the record, based strictly on each song's chart performance, Paul Revere and the Raiders' Top Five Singles are: "Kicks" (1709 points, #4 Billboard Peak); "Good Thing" (1379 points, #4 peak); "Just Like Me" (1227 points, #11 chart peak); "Hungry" (1020 points, #6 chart peak) and "Him Or Me, What's It Gonna Be" (1015 points, #5 chart peak).  

Because of detailed information like this, this book provides HOURS and HOURS of reading enjoyment with all kinds of cross-referencing to the various categories listed. If you're a chartaholic like me, you'll find yourself going back to it again and again and again. In fact, this book (coupled with the previously mentioned Joel Whitburn book "Across The Charts") would be the only required tools necessary to properly program a radio station like XM / Sirius '60's Station, dedicated to playing nothing but the music of the '60's (once you throw in all of the mandatory album tracks, of course!) DeeJays take note: Dann's book also provides the PERFECT format for countdown shows ... in fact, he's already doing his OWN on Live365.com Radio right now!!!  

I unleashed my oldies station for 24/7 broadcasting over Live365.com three weeks ago and it's already ranked at No. 85 in listener hours for January in the oldies genre -- and that's without any promotion. If you mention 60's Countdown Radio in your book review of Ranking the '60s, a leap into the top 70 seems entirely possible within weeks of the review.
-- Dann   

Always happy to help ... tune in, folks ... you're going to hear quite a few things here that you never even knew existed. (In fact, quite honestly, once you get past about #3000 it's hit or miss, even for a '60's aficionado like me!!! lol) Dann's book also includes a killer trivia section, not designed for the weak of heart or mind ... there are some REAL toughies on this list!!!   

While I was fortunate enough to receive a hard copy of this book, it sounds like it is primarily being sold as an E-Book Edition. You can find complete ordering information (as well as view sample pages from the book) via the link(s) provided below. 

Here's more from Dann:   

I can now give you ordering information for the eBook, Ranking the '60s: A Comprehensive Compilation of the Chart Songs and Acts from Pop's Golden Decade.
I think your readers will be pleasantly surprised at this new resource for the oldies community in general and to Forgotten Hits readers in particular.


Once you're there, you'll be able to do several things besides ordering Ranking the '60s:  
1. View a flipbook to sample pages from Ranking the '60s.
2. Read posts about the seven countdown shows now playing 24/7 at my Live365 station.
3. Preview audio of song extracts for currently running shows at the station.
4. Vote for the next countdown show (or email me a preferred theme to add to the choices).
5. Join my email alert group to receive information on future countdown shows.
6. Link to my station, 60's Countdown Radio.
I'm putting my heart and soul into this project and hoping for the best.
Thank you again for your support and glowing endorsement.
All the best,

Order your copy through the website link provided above ... and be sure to tune in and listen to Dann's official countdown show, too!!!  

IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING: The principle list, ranking the top 6835 records to make the countdown does not show the points earned for each record. In order to determine this, you have to flip back to the artists section of the book as a way to cross-reference this information. I would find it far more helpful to have that information incorporated as part of the list. This way, at a glance, one could see the relative popularity from one song to the next. For example, I mentioned that "The Twist" outscored "Hey Jude" by almost 2000 points ... that's a pretty big gap between #1 and #2. But "Hey Jude" only earned 400 points more than the #3 Hit "Theme from 'A Summer Place'". This information becomes more pertinent as you work your way down the list. I'm sure you eventually hit a point where songs may only be separated by a point or two ... and, in many cases, there were also ties, broken by the song that reached the highest chart position, the number of weeks spent in its peak position, weeks spent in The Top 10, Top 40, total weeks on the chart, and, if after all this criteria was met if a tie STILL existed, by the song's final rank for its given year. (Whew! That's about as extensive a tie-breaker criteria as I've ever seen!) This information at a glance would be most helpful ... and, when Dann sees this, he very well may change and update it! There is NO question that he wants to present the most complete and accurate book documenting this era possible ... and to that he has succeeded ten fold. (Now if we can just fix this one little thing ... lol!) kk