40 Years Of Top 40 Hits

I wanted to create a fun playlist to play at my 40th birthday do last weekend, so I came up with this idea. I looked around online and found this website which has a database of the UK charts back to the 1950’s. Then I searched for the top 40 from June in each year, starting with 1972, the year of my birth (here’s the first one). Then I picked out my favorite song from each of those lists, which would be good in a party playlist (IMHO), and which (crucially) I had in my library.

Obviously, to begin with there were only a few songs to pick out. Later on, of course, as I got into the 1980’s, there were more than one song in June that I wanted to include. So I let the rules lapse a bit and included them. Sod it.

Then, as I got further into the late 90’s, tracks I liked (or indeed recognized) started to dry up. This was due to a couple of pretty obvious factors. I wasn’t listening to chart music that much, due to it not being aimed at me. I won’t stoop so low as to claim that “music wasn’t good anymore” – if I start claiming that, I will truly be an old man. I hope never to believe that nonsense. Charts are only one measure – songs that the kids are buying.

In fact, when I was downloading songs off YouTube, the top voted comment was very often something along the lines of:

I gotta say, I really respect the generation of 80’s/90’s electronic music lovers. I really have no hope in today’s music. I mean seriously… the shit that people call ‘pop’ music in 2012… makes me feel ashamed


im 15 and listen to this haha! better than the boring shit nowadays 😀


what happened to good music like this wth is this new lmfao stuff all there songs are about sex, drugs, and parties, these songs have good meaning and REAL Talent thumbs up if you agree

Oh, do fuck off.

Ah well yes, opinion and taste and everything. This playlist was for a party with a specific theme. Milestone year and all that. Also, it was meant as a historical and transatlantic cultural curiousity – most of the guests wouldn’t be familiar with the UK charts in the 1980’s.

In some cases, I didn’t actually have a copy of the song I wanted to include. This was remedied in various ways, including the wonderful SnipMP3.com, which is a tool for downloading an MP3 of the audio track of a YouTube video. There are many tracks available there – people post videos of the vinyl going round, or of some dodgy animated disco dancer, in the case of club tracks and white labels.

Anyway, it was a lot pf fun putting the list together. I wanted to export it into Spotify somehow, so I found Playlistify, which claims to take an uploaded iTunes playlist XML file and convert it into a Spotify playlist. I tried it, and it managed to find 60 out of the 90 songs. So here’s a link to the created playlist. Doesn’t seem to work well – I’ll fix it later. Oh well.