Counting ‘Em Down!

Thanks for stopping by! You’ve arrived at the companion site for the countdown shows presented by 60’s Countdown Radio.Why the 60’s and why countdowns? Three reasons, really.
  1. Pop music historians, critics and fans tend to believe that this decade has given us the finest music in pop history.
  2. Radio stations of the day with their tight playlists of 30 to 40 songs and unveiling them in dramatic weekly countdown shows practically guaranteed a generation of young listeners to remain forever bonded to 60’s music.
  3. Lists—with countdowns included as one type—are informative and entertaining. They create order out of chaos by organizing seemingly random bits of data into meaningful hierarchies, they help you remember things, and they build a sense of community by which you can add comments and agree or disagree with others about list entries.

Let’s face it, lists grab our attention. But for how long? That pretty much depends on how believable the list is. And that, in turn, depends on the soundness in the way in which the list was compiled—its methodology. The more credible its methodology, the greater the list’s informational value and its usefulness in entertaining others.

So, how sound is the methodology that powers the countdowns?

The methodology for the countdowns is identical to the one I formulated for ranking all 6,848 song titles from the Billboard® magazine Hot 100® charts of the 60’s. When I untethered the system and applied the steps, the songs found themselves for the first time ever arranged in a single, all-inclusive list ranked by popularity (the Billboard code for record sales and radio airplay). The same was true for all 1,807 acts. Lists for shows at 60’s Countdown Radio are much shorter, themed extracts from these two much longer lists.

In judging the soundness of the ranking system, consider these two points. First, it was the core of research for a published book I submitted as part of the teacher evaluation process at my university. The book, called Ranking the ‘60s, has since been revised. I’ve cut its length and adapted it into an eBook. To sample Ranking the 60’s, see the flipbook at the bottom of this page. Of greater significance, the eleven songs from the 60’s that were among Billboard’s “Hot 100 All-Time Songs” published in 2009 matched the top eleven songs listed in Ranking the 60’s. More specifically, the first five agreed in order and No. 6 and No. 7 were inverted. What better way to verify the validity of the ranking system than by comparing it to the standard?

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In general, songs that placed higher than No. 1,000 in Ranking the ‘60s have pop status as evergreens or golden oldies while songs ranked lower than No. 1,000 began their slide towards forgotten territory almost immediately after dropping off weekly playlists. 60’s Countdown Radio plays both. Currently, weekly programming features two shows that count down mostly evergreens and four that begin with lost gems before ending at No. 1 with million sellers. A very special show that mixes up the two is a chronological countdown of sixties chart artists who died during that decade. Prerecorded shows run twice a week, two per day. Default programming kicks in when the shows are not running. Check the Schedule at 60’s Countdown Radio for specific times.

The shows are theme-based, such as “one-word titles of masculine names” and “tragic/heroic figures.” You’ll learn more about the content of these and other shows by visiting this site’s archives. But please don’t look for the countdown lists. I’m sorry to say that DMCA rules frown upon publishing playlists in advance.

I can, however, publish the countdown entries as they appear in a much larger list of of 6,848 chart songs of the 60’s or in a lengthy list featuring all 1,807 chart acts of the 60’s.  Ranking the ’60s is the complete ranking of all 60’s pop chart songs and acts and is available for purchase and download by clicking the Add to Cart button at the bottom of the page. 

One nice thing about a thematic ranking is that it offers something for everyone—from the casual listener to the “oldieologist”—as the songs are counted down in ever increasing popularity. Those who favor the million sellers are likely tuning in as those who prefer the forgotten hits are tuning out. It’s a revolving door, “taking turns” way of spreading the listening hours around among more people to increase the site’s accessibility.

Another nice thing about these countdowns is that their song rankings are based on historical chart performance rather than on current popularity among voters. This means that they give you, the listener, another way to rediscover songs you thought you’d forgotten. It’s a way that asks less from you than YouTube and music-on-demand services which require an active search for a specific title. The effect: more random surprises during the course of your listening.

The listening experience at oldies sites like 60’s Countdown Radio may be likened to finding buried treasure. The songs you hear can be the tools that bring to light the memories you thought you had lost. As long as I’m convinced that these songs are helping you dust off those treasured memories, I’ll do my best to keep the countdowns coming.

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Counting ‘Em Down! — 5 Comments

  1. Thank you for a very interesting web site. I have been collecting music surveys for more than 50years. They include old surveys from radio stations showing regional hits to collecting Joel Whitburns books.

    • Michael, thanks for your comment.

      Have you been to the ARSA website for its historical archive of pop music radio surveys from the ’50s through the ’80s where you can do a cross check of your collection?

  2. I can’t get enough of 60’s countdown. Love the Whitburn books, always listen to the countdown on XM Radio, and looking forward to perusing your list. Thanks for your hard work!

  3. I will check this website out!! Lou Simon was discussing the website with all of the listeners, including me, on his program, “Sixties Satellite Survey” on the “60s On 6” channel, Channel 6, on SiriusXM radio.

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