90 Years of Top 40 Music Revisited

Ten years ago, I started a project to document and listen to the progress of popular radio from its beginnings in 1925 to the present (well, 2014 at that time). I grabbed a database of Billboard annual rankings and created a Spotify playlist for each year up through 2012. The particulars of the endeavor were laid out in a post from December 2014.

I made it as far as creating all of the Spotify playlists and a couple of posts recapping the 1920’s, but then it got abandoned. Since I am starving for content in this #100DaysToOffload challenge, I figured that I’d dredge it up again.

There are a couple of hurdles that I need to overcome.

First, I don’t have the list of Billboard songs anymore (at least I don’t think I do), and the site that provided it was forced to stop sharing it years ago. So, if I plan on taking things past 2012, I’ll need to do a little research.

Second, while I was able to update the YouTube links in the old posts for ones that no longer worked, there are a lot of Spotify tunes in the playlists that don’t play anymore. So, I will need to go through all the playlists and update them.

Finally, while the title of this project is “90 Years of Top 40 Music,” it’s been ten years since it began. So, I’m going to have to re-name it “100 Years of Top 40 Music.”

UPDATE: I found that Spotify kinda sucks for finding music and making shareable playlists of songs from the 1920’s. So, I’m going back and changing them to YouTube playlists.

Here are the original posts:

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And now, the final frame

So, I guess if nothing else we can use this space for dream interpretation. Last night I dreamt that Amy Winehouse did not die and instead became a professional basketball player. She came to our apartment, and we played guitars and sang songs that I don’t recall.

My dad was there with us.

At some point she needed to go, and she wanted to take the U-Haul truck that was parked outside next to our old Saturn SL2. Dad said it would be alright, and he’d just tell them it was stolen. I walked her out to the truck and told her some specific quirks about driving it. Then, I kissed her cheek and said “luv u” and let her drive off. (Yet, somehow, I found myself driving the truck and backing it into the parking space at the end of the dream.)

Truth be told, I was not aware of her much before she died, and the only song I remembered before today was the infamous “Rehab”…but I know we didn’t sing that one.

I have no idea if she wanted to be a basketball player…or why we had a U-Haul parked next to the Saturn…or why we lived in an apartment on a hill…or why the only people there were Amy, my dad, and me.

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It was only mostly dead…

There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

With 22 years of crap siting on a server, there was bound to be a rotten egg in the barrel. It looks like one of them bit me on the ass last week. Everything was deleted and the landing page for solonor.com was replaced by an Indonesian gambling site.

Fortunately, I have been with Hosting Matters since 2002, and they put up with these shenanigans for the entire time. They restored the site…the bad guys wiped it…they restored again…hacked again. They moved me to another server….hacked again. Finally, we’re on a third server and have only restored the WordPress database. If we be vewwy vewwy quiet, the bad guys won’t notice (or the bad file that was in the backup of those 22 years of junk won’t find us).

I don’t really have everything back in place, yet, because my baseball league isn’t back online here. The proposed site for my future business (The Gaming Trove board game cafe) is gone. And the little used lesternorton.com, where I had my music “career” posted, is also kaput. But all of it is recoverable, and this is post #8 of my 100DaysToOffload challenge.

I am only 8 posts off the pace…

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Softball is life

Sorry, but I’m just now catching up to the rest of the planet and submersing myself into the world of Ted Lasso. So, that’s the first thing that came to mind for a title. Apologies to Dani Rojas.

The other day I had a random memory about sitting at the kitchen table and helping my Dad work on the schedule for the church softball league. He was an umpire for the league, and somehow–though he never went to church–was in charge of a lot of the organization. Maybe because he wasn’t affiliated with any one of the churches? I know he was obsessed with being an umpire.

I wondered if the league still exists, because I always see softball, golf, and other trophies in the lobbies of churches, but they are from the 70s and 80s. I don’t know if this is the same thing, but I found that there is a Church League on the Bangor Parks & Rec site.

The other thing that I pondered on was putting together the schedule. I don’t remember how many teams were in the league, but I feel like there were a lot. Dad got me to create a balanced schedule and playoff bracket, and I remember it being a bit of work. (This is the part where I blather on about technology killing our brains, because you can just pop the info into a website and get a computer to do it for you in seconds.)

I don’t really know where I was going with this, but it gave me a chance to look through old pictures. So, that’s nice.

Have a great week.

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Mandela: The Musical

Overture! Curtain! Lights!
This is it, the night of nights!

Everyone knows the theme song to The Bugs Bunny Show, right?

Well, not so fast there buckaroo. Saturday morning cartoons haven’t really been a thing since the 1980’s, and the Bugs Bunny show left the airwaves in 2000 . . . 24 years ago for those scoring at home. So, anyone under 35 might have no clue what I’m talking about. (I know this for a fact, because I’ve met at least two of them this week.)

But I’m not here to talk about a collection of the greatest cartoons ever produced and how it started as a prime time show in 1960 before becoming a Saturday morning staple, running on network TV for 40 years. Nor am I going to bemoan the fact that “kids these days” don’t know what they’re missing.

What I really want to talk about is my brain.

For some reason, I absolutely, positively remembered that the theme song for the show was from a “real” musical. I swear that I saw it performed…maybe in a movie with Judy Garland…maybe by Ethel Merman… It was such a vivid memory that I spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon trying to find it.

In the end, the closest I got was a reference to a 1939 musical called Stars in Your Eyes, which did have a song called This is It performed by Ethel Merman, but I cannot find a recording of it anywhere…and every other source says, “No, you idiot, the song was written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston specifically for the show.”

Now, this is not really an example of the Mandela Effect. For that to be true, there would have to be a lot of people misremembering the same thing. And I don’t think there are more than a couple dozen of you that could possibly share this specific delusion with me…right?

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Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Something in the back of my pea brain kept yelling and jumping up and down for attention. It took me a whle to give it heed, but it turned out to be that part of my mind that keeps track of commitments.

“Hey! Dummy!” it said. “Didn’t you commit to 100 blog posts this year? Ya know…two per week?”

I don’t like it when it calls me names.

Regardless, I looked up and saw that the last post was January 13, and today is…counts fingers..several days later. So, in order to keep this train rolling, I need to post about something. Fortunately for me, I know a lot of puns, and the title of this post is one of them.

I originally thought it was from Groucho Marx, but the Wikipedia entry for the phrase (yes, it has its own Wikipedia page) says there’s no evidence he ever said it. Of course, it also goes into way too much detail on it and includes words like amphibology, antanaclasis, paraprosdokian, perverb, and syntactic ambiguity. So, there’s that.

The cool bit about it, though, is that it reminded me of an incident this Fall in my home office.

At a certain point, I started seeing a teeny, tiny fly zipping its way across my field of vision. My efforts to smack the little bugger between my hands were fruitless…but the fly was of the fruit variety.

I soon found out that he had siblings. Many. Many. Siblings.

Apparently, they had started a colony in the banana peels that I had thoughtfully placed in the waste basket. I was their life-giving God, dispensing manna from on high for their sustenance. They were determined to fly up and tell me how wonderful I was.

Sadly, I don’t speak fruit fly. So, in a fit of Old Testament vengeance, I tried to smite them all. Yet, they survived. My lightning quick reflexes had been dulled by time (see it all comes together).

Fortunately, my brain matter still knows how tell my fingers how to look stuff up on the internets, and I found my solution.

If you are ever in the same boat, where you have tired of the insignificant masses whose very existence depends upon you and your magnificence, and those masses happen to be fruit flies, then just fill a small bowl with apple cider vinegar and place a couple of drops of dish soap on the surface. Your faithful flock will fly to the food and be forever freedomless as their feet are fastened like fools, and you flush their flightless frames.

I did not mourn their destruction–for I am so much mightier than they. Yet, there is another part of my pea brain trying to get my attention now…some rubbish about Psalm 8?

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Doctor Who? Never heard of it…

In trying to think of something to write about today, I decided that it might be a good time to bring up my obsession with Doctor Who. I know I have posted a lot about it on Facebook, but I don’t remember bringing it up in the old blog, right?

Well, unfortunately for my writer’s block, the idiot who put this blog together stuck a search box on it. A couple of keystrokes, and I found so many Who-based posts that I fear that’s all I ever talked about!

So, I guess it’s not out of character to mention that there’s a new Doctor in the house (Ncuti Gatwa), and I think he’s pretty great. I loved the Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road,” and I’m looking forward to the usual pitifully small number of episodes that will constitute a “season” of the show whenever they get around to it.

In 1963, the first season of the show was 42 episodes. It settled into a groove of about 25 per season from 1970 to 1984. When it came back in 2005, we got 10, but then they started these years long gaps. There was no Who at all in 2016 except for the Christmas special, and the last “full” series was 6 episodes in 2021. By the time this next series comes on, the gap will be 3 years long.

But I digress…

The last time I mentioned Who on this blog was ten years ago when I presented my “Doctor Who Series Highlights” — the listing of the episodes where something impactful happens (Doctor regenerates, a new companion enters, an old companion leaves, etc.) and any others that are considered “A” or “B” level based on a spreadsheet that averages reviews from 10 different sources. Well, to the surprise of no one, I have continued to maintain that spreadsheet, and I updated and edited the original document this morning.

Here is the newly revised version of Doctor Who Series Highlights (PDF)

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This used to be easy…

Once upon a time, I spent a good chunk of nearly every day typing words into a machine. The words weren’t particulary brilliant ones–they weren’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize or anything–but they were usually funny or insightful or at least present. Now they seem to have scattered away along with my youth. (I’m fricking 61, man. How did that happen?)

I looked around for a few, but other than a couple of hushed giggles and what I swear was a whispered, “Shhh! He’ll hear us!” they have gone into hiding. So, to spite them, I’m going to make up new words. Words like confibble and fracturupous. (I’ll work out what they mean later.)

So, with macrobious flangesness, I shall incumulate my relationist with these villicumus words. I don’t need the old ones when I have mothratic polemiquas at my disposion. We shall frollicize and playgirize with woundid abanlon…and I’ll try not to just misspell real words too much. Oh, the emcosion we will have!

My not-so-secret plan is that by hanging out with my new word friends, I’ll make the old ones jealous, and they’ll come back to me. It’s a solid plan. It’s been used countless times by people with their exes, and it always works. At least that’s what I’ve been told…

Bumsplatch.

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A Writing Challenge

It’s been six years since I wrote anything in this blog other than the annual Dr. Demento recap. The last time I took a swing at it was in 2018 when I quit Facebook for a while. Even then I only put in two posts that year.

But now I’m taking on the #100DaysToOffload challenge and will try to post 100 entries in a year. 0.27 posts per day. 1.9 posts per week. It can’t be that bad. Heck, I could even devote one day per week to revisiting random entries from this blog and it would last me about 100 years! The blog even has a “Random Post From The Past” feature in the sidebar to make it even easier. (Today’s hit: If I Ever Leave This World Alive from 2004 prior to going to a Flogging Molly concert.)

I promise I won’t cheat like that every day and make this an Inception-like series of posts that link back on themselves. Instead, I’ll try and do what I did 20 years ago and write about Life, the Universe and Everything, baseball, music movies, etc.

Unfortunately, one of the main activities of the blog revolved around the blogging community that no longer exists (or not in the same form). There were things like Aortal, Blogcritics, Blogwhore, Carnival of the Vanities, Metroblogging, and Strengthen the Good…not to mention the other bloggers and non-bloggers who made up the cast of characters around here. Pepperkat and Whiny the Elder have grown up and moved (or are moving to) Japan. Ric the Schmuck, Busy Mom, Michele, Karan, The Mighty Geek Man, The Gamer’s Nook, etc. have all moved on. Or, in one of the saddest instances, Les the Stupid Evil Bastard has passed on to that other realm that he didn’t believe in. I can’t wait to meet him again and give him a hearty “ha-ha!” and a hug.

Whoa. That turned dark. Just pretend I didn’t write the last paragraph and concentrate on how excited you are to be reading something other than a list of novelty songs, and we’ll be fine. Won’t we?

Posted in 100 Days To Offload, Life, the Universe and Everything, Yo! Listen Up! | 2 Comments

50 Years of Demented Hits

This year marks the 50th countdown of Funny 25’s by Doctor Demento. I first started listening in high school, probably around 1978, when it aired on WTOS in Skowhegan and later on (I think) WGUY in Bangor. After Looney Tunes established parody, irony, slapstick, and a questioning of authority in my young brain, I turned to Monty Python, Mel Brooks, Saturday Night Live, Steve Martin, etc. Then, out of the darkness, came a revelation–a weekly blend of seemingly silly nonsense that was actually a history lesson in comedy and music. I don’t know why “Fish Heads” or “My Name is Larry” are funny after so long, but they still make me giggle. The art of parody was elevated by “Weird” Al Yankovic. I was introduced to Tom Lehrer and his magnificent satirical tunes. Much later when I looked around for another insane list making project, I discovered that there is an archive of all the Dr. Demento shows since the beginning. So, 21 years ago, I created a spreadsheet and assigned points to each song in the year end Funny 25, and I have updated it annually ever since.

On this year’s list, it seems like we’ve got a couple of new favorites. Wolves of Glendale had two songs in the top 10, and as far as I can remember, it’s the first time any artist has had two back-to-back in the annual rankings. Meanwhile, Knuckleheadz, the father-son duo who jumped aboard the Funny 25 in 2021, had three songs on the list in 2023.

Here are the changes from last year to the list of Dr. Demento’s TOP 100 (or so) DEMENTED HITS (from Funny 25’s) – 1974 to 2023:

  • “Baby Talk At The Sleepover” by Napoleon XIV and Artie Barnes enters the list at #72. It first appeared in the 2022 countdown, and it is now tied with “My Bologna” (Weird Al), “Street Meat” (Mike Phirman), and “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” (Monty Python).
  • “Ode To My Car (Car Honk Version)” by Adam Sandler makes a jump from #81 all the way to a tie with “Harry’s Jockstrap” (Dickie Goodman) and “One More Minute” (Weird Al) at #69.
  • “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park” by Tom Lehrer just entered the Top 100 last year. This year it moves up from #74 to #45 in a tie with “Rock And Roll Doctor” (Travesty Ltd), Last Will And Temperament” (The Frantics), and “The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati” (Rose & The Arrangement).
  • “Earache My Eye” by Cheech & Chong with Alice Bowie moves up from #62 to #34.
  • “The Masochism Tango” by Tom Lehrer moves up from #49 to a tie at #30 with “Shaving Cream” (Dr. Demento version).
  • “Shaving Cream” (Benny Bell/Paul Wynn version) goes from #17 to #14 and a tie with “The Ballad of Irving” (Frank Gallop).

Here is the Funny 25 list with links to videos for the songs. Have a happy 2024!

The Dr. Demento Show #23-52 – December 30, 2023
Special Topic: Funny 25
This show is available for online listening at drdemento.com
playlist courtesy of The Dr. Demento Show

#25 Yo! Sam – Devo Spice
#24 Dungeons And Dragons – The Dead Alewives
#23 Bulbous Bouffant – Radio Free Vestibule
#22 Fast Food – Stevens & Grdnic
#21 Ode To My Car (Car Honk Version) – Adam Sandler
#20 Shaving Cream – Benny Bell (Vocal: Paul Wynn)
#19 Ti Kwan Leep/Boot To The Head – The Frantics
#18 The Acid Queen (live from Arnhem, Netherlands) – Tina Turner

#17 Dead Puppies – Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizzario Band
#16 Let’s Be Pirates – The Knuckleheadz
#15 Butter – & Barnes
#14 We Are The Worms – Johnson & Tofte
#13 Barbie Girl – Aqua
#12 They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! – Napoleon XIV
#11 Poisoning Pigeons In The Park (orchestral version) (stereo mix) – Tom Lehrer

#10 Your Horoscope For Today – “Weird Al” Yankovic
#9 Loud Ass Car – Wolves Of Glendale
#8 Vapin’ In Vegas – Wolves Of Glendale
#7 Why Don’t We Get Drunk – Jimmy Buffett
#6 The Masochism Tango (orchestral version) (stereo mix) – Tom Lehrer
#5 Party Witcha Parents – Knuckleheadz
#4 Earache My Eye Featuring Alice Bowie – Cheech & Chong
#3 Baby Talk At The Sleepover – Napoleon XIV & Artie Barnes
#2 Brush Your Teeth And Go To Sleep – Knuckleheadz

#1 Science Geek – The Amoeba People

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As a special treat, here are the top ranked songs from each year so far and their current position in the Top 100:

1974 – “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” by Napoleon XIV (#3)
1975 – “The Ballad of Irving” by Frank Gallop (#14)
1976 – “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh” by Allan Sherman (#43)
1977 – “Dead Puppies” by The Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizzario Band (#2)
1978 – “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes (#1)
1979 – “The Smoke-Off” by Shel Silverstein (#11)
1980 – “Existensial Blues” by Tom “T-Bone” Stankus (#6)
1981 – “Yoda” by “Weird Al” Yankovic (#10)
1982 – “I Love Rocky Road” by “Weird Al” Yankovic (#76)
1983 – “The Scotsman” by Bryan Bowers (#12)
1984 – “Wet Dream” by Kip Addotta (#5)
1985 – “Last Will And Temperament” by The Frantics (#45)
1986 – “Polka Dot Undies” by Bowser & Blue (#49)
1987 – “Ti Kwan Leep/Boot To The Head” by The Frantics (#4)
1988 – “My Girlfriend Is Inflatable” by John Mammoser (#88)
1989 – “The Second Week Of Deer Camp” by Da Yoopers (#88)
1990 – “Kick Ass USA” by Milo Tremley (#33)
1991 – “7-Eleven” by Led Slurpee (#98)
1992 – “The Happy Happy Joy Joy Song” by Ren & Stimpy (#58)
1993 – “No I Don’t Wanna Do Dat” by The Happy Schnapps Combo (#60)
1994 – “Lunchlady Land” by Adam Sandler (#64)
1995 – “Bulbous Bouffant” by Radio Free Vestibule (#8)
1996 – “Dungeons And Dragons” by The Dead Alewives (#26)
1997 – “Cows With Guns” by Dana Lyons (#17)
1998 – “The Devil Went To Jamaica” by Travis Meyer (#13)
1999 – “Viagra In The Waters” by Camille West (#18)
2000 – “Whistle Stop/Hampster Dance Song/Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller/Hampton The Hampster/Roger Miller (#3 in 2000 but not in the top 100)
2001 – “Let Me Make You Smile In Bed” by The Four Postmen (#1 in 2001)
2002 – “Peter Parker” by the great Luke Ski (#1 in 2002)
2003 – “Stealing Like A Hobbit” by the great Luke Ski (#64)
2004 – “Army Careers” by The Frantics (#88)
2005 – “My Cat Is Afraid Of The Vaccuum Cleaner” by Power Salad (#78)
2006 – “Re: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton (#40)
2007 – “99 Words For Boobs” by Robert Lund (#55)
2008 – “Whatever You Like” by “Weird Al” Yankovic (#92)
2009 – “Craigslist” by “Weird Al” Yankovic (#95)
2010 – “Street Meat (You Keep Tauntin’ Me)” by Mike Phirman (#72)
2011 – “If I Could Be Weird Al” by Moneyshot Cosmonauts (#2 in 2011)
2012 – “When You Wish Upon A Death Star” by the great Luke Ski (#92)
2013 – “After Ever After” by Jon Cozart (#88)
2014 – “Fake Adult” by the great Luke Ski (#82)
2015 – “Benedict Cumberbatch” by Insane Ian (#1 in 2015)
2016 – “Dick Heads” by Steve Goodie (#1 in 2016)
2017 – “Candybars” by the great Luke Ski (#1 in 2017)
2018 – “Institutionalized” by Brak (#55)
2019 – “I’ve Got No More F’s To Give” by Thomas Benjamin Wild, Esq. (#39)
2020 – “The Bunker Boy” by Randy Rainbow (#2 in 2020)
2021 – “Peed In My Pants” by Knuckleheadz (#1 in 2021)
2022 – “Baby Talk At The Sleepover” by Napoleon XIV & Artie Barnes (#72)
2023 – “Scienc Geek” by The Amoeba People (#1 in 2023)

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