American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century

American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century

by Rob Durkee, Durkee



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American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century by Rob Durkee, Durkee

American Top 40, the radio program co-founded in the 1960s by host Casey Kasem and producer Don Bustany, developed a winning formula of countdown and commentary that has influenced all the "top ten" hits shows since. Now, for the first time, the true behind-the-scenes story of the show's development and growth into the most popular radio show in the country is told through the people who made it happen.

The author traces the development of top-40 radio to Your Hit Parade and other early radio shows. He then shows how Kasem cleverly blended trivia, little-known facts, and compelling stories to give his listeners the "stories behind the songs" that they loved the most. Kasem's unique personality and presentation helped transform the way radio was programmed across the country -- and had a huge impact on how hits were made and who became pop stars.

Pop radio began as a place where unique voices could share their musical enthusiasms, unhindered by big money or corporate influence. Yet, the very success of this hand-built business inspired more sinister developments. Corporate America saw a way to reach a new, and affluent, audience -- teenagers -- by sponsoring hit shows like American Top 40. And American Top 40 could make or break careers -- giving it enormous influence to establish stars. Kasem used this power judiciously, but others behind the scenes had their own agendas -- and as American Top 40 grew, these forces became more difficult to withstand.

Based on nearly 100 interviews with Kasem, his producers and staff, and others associated with the program, this book provides a complete history of the highly successful countdown radio program, from its beginnings in the 1960s through years of success and then its decline, disappearance -- and remarkable rebirth. American Top 40 offers compelling portraits of Kasem and Bustany, its later host Shadoe Stevens, their colleagues behind the scenes, guest hosts including Hall & Oates and Donny Osmond, and the corporations that (for better or worse) steered its course.

For anyone interested in the history of popular music in America or radio, and those who want to know how the music business really works, American Top 40 lifts the curtains and reveals the real world of music, money, and success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780028648958
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Publication date: 12/01/1999
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 6.52(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.18(d)

Table of Contents

An Introduction--to radio's greatest show?1
1.Your Hit Parade, the old Scotsman, and "boss radio"7
2.Casey, Don, TR, and Ron19
3.Embarking on the Long and Winding Road57
4."Dear Casey ..."89
5."I Really Got Mad": The Infamous Dead Dog Tape105
6."Filling in for Casey, I'm ..."123
7.An End and a Beginning157
8.The Dream ... and the Nightmare185
9.A "Sneek Peek" into Oblivion231
10."Ya Gotta Believe ..."253
In Memoriam265
AppendixAmerican Top 40 Charts
Top 40 Recording Acts, Rock Era, 1955-1971 (May 1-2, 1971)269
Top 40 Christmas Songs (December 25-26, 1971)269
Top 40 Songs of the Rock Era, 1955-1972 (July 1-2, 1972)271
Top 40 Albums of the Week (August 5-6, 1972)272
Top 40 Artists, September 1, 1967-September 1, 1972 (September 30-October 1, 1972)273
Top 40 Songs, March 1968-March 1973 (April 7-8, 1973)274
Top 40 Disappearing Acts (July 7-8, 1973)274
Top 40 Recording Acts, Rock Era, 1955-1973 (October 6-7, 1973)275
Top 40 Christmas Songs (December 22-23, 1973)276
Top 40 British Artists' Hits, Rock Era, 1955-1974 (April 6-7, 1974)278
Top 40 Acts of the 1970s So Far (July 6-7, 1974)278
Top 10 Producers of the 1970s (October 5-6, 1974)279
Top 40 Disappearing Acts (April 1-2, 1975)280
Top 40 Rock and Roll Acts of the 1950s (October 4-5, 1975)281
Bicentennial Special: Fourth of July Number 1s (July 3-4, 1976)281
Top 40 Beatles-Era Songs, 1964-1970 (October 2-3, 1976)282
Top 40 Girls of the Rock Era, 1955-1977 (July 2-3, 1977)283
Top 40 Movie Songs, 1960-1978 (April 4-5, 1978)284
Top 40 Acts of the 1970s So Far (July 1-2, 1978)284
Top 40 Songs of the Disco Era, 1974-1979 (July 7-8, 1979)285
Top 50 Hits of the 1970s (January 5-6, 1980)286
American Top 40 Book of Records (July 5-6, 1980)287
Top 40 Beatles Hits of All Time (July 4-5, 1981)289
Top 40 Acts of the 1980s So Far (July 2-3, 1983)290
Giants of Rock (July 5-6, 1986)291
Top 40 Hits of the 1980s So Far (July 4-5, 1987)292
Top 40 Newcomers of the 1980s So Far (May 30-31, 1988)293
Triathlon of Rock and Roll (July 4-5, 1988)293
The World Tour, Memorial Day Weekend 1989 (May 27-29, 1989)294
American Top 40 Book of Records, 1980s Edition, Labor Day Weekend 1989 (August 31-September 4, 1989)295
AT 40's All-American Fourth of July Special: The Top 40 American Acts of the Previous Ten Years (July 1-2, 1991)297
American Top 40 Top Hits of the Year, 1970-1994298
Top 100 Songs in American Top 40 History, 1970-1995330
Top 100 Artists in American Top 40 History, 1970-1995333
Substitute Hosts on American Top 40335

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American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rob Durkee has written a fantastic book about the granddaddy of all radio countdown shows-He covers both the Casey Kasem & Shadoe Stevens eras in great detail-A must read for anyone who's a big fan of the program.