I have always been a “chart fanatic”, ever since I could remember. Since third grade, I had been listening religiously to “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem” every week, tried never to miss it, and starting in 7th grade, I started writing down the top 40 hits every week. Music was my refuge from the world, and I always spent most of my allowance, ever since I was a small child, on records. At the end of 1976 or early 1977, we got a new stereo – we hadn’t had one since my mom and stepfather had split up in the summer of 1975 and she let him have the old one – and I could stop using my tiny little stereo that played 45s well but had trouble with albums because of the front lip of the machine, I had to put them on a thick cardboard disc situated underneath, causing problems as they played 90% of the time.  I had made up my first personal year-end chart at the end of 1977, when “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti was my #1 song of the year. And in the spring of 1978, I had written to local Spokane pop radio stations KJRB, KREM, and KXLY and asked to be added to their chart mailing lists; surprisingly, they all agreed, although KXLY only kept me on theirs for about a month, and KREM just for the summer of 1978; KJRB kept sending me their lists every week until they changed formats, even sending the lists to Ohio after I moved; I had met the PD, Gary Daniels, and interviewed him for a school project in 1979, and he was a very cool dude, remembered who I was, and always kept me in the loop. With my record collection growing, I decided right after school had ended for the summer that I was going to start making up my own weekly chart, so I could have a record of what I was listening to, and what my favorite songs were. I thought I should do things right, and so I broke out what I think was an early edition of “The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits” and went through it, making up a list of all the songs I would have placed at #1 from the first week of January 1970 through to the current date. I later realized after I got a hold of Joel Whitburn‘s larger “Top Pop Singles” books that some of them were a slight bit misdated, but not enough that it was a big deal, so I kept them as is – see “TKR Number Ones” elsewhere on the site when I get it posted soon. It was the summer of 1978, the best musical summer EVER according to some people (and DEFINITELY to me!), and I was fifteen years old. I made up a form to use for my chart, for the top 20 songs and 10 “Hitbound” songs, and i was off and running. My first chart was dated June 10 1978, and the first “official” #1 song on my chart was the novelty hit “King Tut” by comedian Steve Martin. My friends from school would always come to hang out when they wanted to listen to music and now I used the chart to play “Name That Tune” with most of them, and there were a lot of fun times that summer. By the end of the summer, I had dropped the “Hitbound” portion and just did a standard top 30 songs each week. And I would keep doing the charts for the next FIFTEEN YEARS…and the early charts showed just what my teenage mind in a small town was thinking about when it came to music back then…and it hasn’t changed all that much since…

Charts from 1978 are presently missing, hopefully to be refound and posted soon!

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