I recently spent time in my storage room in my hometown, where I still have thousands of pages of often embarrassing material from my youth – diaries from a (hopefully) dumber, narrow-minded version of myself, letters (remember those?), cards, essays… and… here goes….several hundred handwritten pages of music lists. Sure, many detailed American Top 40s written down (yes, with the last 3 weeks’ positions and WOC included, what were you thinking?). But mainly these lists were my personal charts. Every Thursday between 1980-1982 I counted down my Top 5 and with a points system tabulated these into Quarterly Top 20s and the year-end chart I turned into a spoken-word, hosted 2-cassette extravaganza…I would then lend these out to my poor friends from whom I would ask copious commentaries.
I also compiled statistics of my charts, and treated them with the reverence some might approach the Oscars: Longest time at #2 without reaching #1 (To Cut A Long Story Short); #1 debuers (Body Language, Silvery Rain); most songs (Human League, 7); Longest Climb to #1 (Ai No Corrida, Situation); Artists with 2 songs in the Top 5 simultaneously (Sheena Easton, John Foxx, Rough Trade, Gary Numan); longest run on my charts (Lipps Inc’s How Long, 19 weeks followed by Walking On Thin Ice, Hey 19 and New Toy), and on and on.
My mother would just look on and shake her head. She still does, bless her soul.
But that’s not all. I was so desperate to create lists, any, that by 1983 I (for 3 months, I got bored with it quickly) wrote down every day, the Earworms of the Day. And I thought it would be fun here to mark my first entry, for Feb 16 1983, precisely 40 real-years ago. You’ll all be fascinated, I’m sure, to know that from about 8am through to mid afternoon, H&O’s One On One floated through every corner of my mind. It was then replaced into evening with The Stranglers’ The European Female and Depeche Mode’s Get The Balance Right (only the original extended version of course, there is no other). And so here is that gorgeous track by Hall & Oates – I’ll link it from the final third (almost half), the vocal deliciousness on which places this at the very top of my Best Ad Lib To Fade list. Oh dear.
Some things don’t change. Nowadays I assiduously compile Spotify playlists (each year gets its own playlist, naturally), ranked in order of preference, and I still spend hours wondering, mmm, is this song really my #27 of 1985, or should I bring it up to #18? Must be born that way… But – thanks for listening to this. Few would understand. You…do…understand…doncha?