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YEAR END COUNTDOWNS

One of the most anxiously awaited of all the special countdowns done on American Top 40 were the Year End Countdowns of the top hits. These countdowns were often repeated by radio stations carrying the show - about the only time a show was repeated. The shows were varied, and Casey and later Shadoe treated them as a celebration of the year in music including odd chart facts that happened during the year and even news that made headlines.

 As you would expect, the first year end countdown was in 1970. This was a Top 80 countdown spread over two weeks in 3 hour slots. Christmas weekend counted down songs 80-41, while New Years Weekend was songs 40-1. Like the weekly charts, the rankings came straight from Billboard's own year end rankings of the top hits.

 In 1971 the countdown was shorten to a one week 3 hour Top 40 hits of the year over New Years weekend.  This was because the previous week, AT40 did one of their most remembered special countdowns - The Top 40 Christmas Hits. Like last year the tabulation was taken from Billboard's own rankings.

 1972 presented a change in the Year End Countdown. It was back to a Top 80 as in 1970, but this time AT40 used its Chief Statistician Ben Marichal to compile the chart. The reasons exactly for this is lost, but I guess it's because AT40 wanted its chart to be more encompassing of 1972. Billboard's "chart year" for its end of the year chart was Nov 1971-Nov 1972. AT40 wanted more 1972 tunes and less 1971 tunes in its coundown. However, AT40's Top 80 hits were extremely close to Billboard's own rankings.

 1973 was back to only a Top 40, again AT40 compiled its own chart, however many positions were identical to Billboard's rankings.

 1974 began something new for AT40. For one thing the chart went back to being the Billboard one. Second it was decided to countdown the entire Top 100 for the year. This was done over a two week period as in the old Top 80 countdowns, plus expanding the show to 4 hours for these two weeks only. It's been rumoured that some radio stations balked at this, but apparently it went over well. By now, several rival nationally syndicated year-end programs had appeared, so I believe the extension to a Top 100 was in response to increased competition. After all the Year End countdowns were AT40's most popular. So began the ritual Top 100 of the year that continues today on other countdown shows.

Opus was AT40's primary competition for year end shows during the 70s.

 Things remained the same in 1975 and 1976. In 1977 AT40 decided to compile its own year end countdown again. Again the true reasons are not known but many speculations can be made. First, 1977 was a year many low charting songs finished high for the year according to the official Billbaord year end rankings. More so than in recent years, contrast this with many Top 10 singles (especially those that peaked in Dec 1976) were absent from the 1977 Top 100. Finally 1977 was the year of "You Light Up My Life", one of biggest singles of the 1970s. Billboard elected to remove this song from the 1977 chart year (and place it in 1978). AT40 may have wished to include the song nonetheless so compiled its own countdown.

1978 resumed AT40 using Billboard's Top 100 for the year. By now the weekly show was 4 hours in length making the Year-end programs the same length as the regular show.

1979 was unusual, AT40 counted down only the Top 50 of 1979 (taken from Billboard's Top 100) and this was done over the Christmas weekend. New Years weekend saw AT40 counting down the Top 50 singles of the 1970s.

1980-1984 saw the return of AT40 compiling its own year end countdowns. Contrasted to the Billboard year-end charts which had a "chart-year" of November to November and took into account a records performance on the entire Hot 100, the AT40 countdowns were based on a chart year from December to December and only dealt with its Top 40 performance. Despite this, the two year-end charts were very similar. Starting in 1983, AT40 made the Top 100 year end countdown a one week program.

 From 1985-1989, AT40 again returned to using the Billboard's Top 100 for the year charts. By then, Billboards charts moved the chart year from November to December.

 1990-1994, AT40 once more began compiling its own year-end charts.

 AMERICAN TOP 40'S #1 SONGS FOR EACH YEAR

Year Title Artist Pos Used
1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & Garfunkel 80 Billboard
1971 Joy To the World (One week only) Three Dog Night 40 Billboard
1972 First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Roberta Flack 80 Own
1973 Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (One week only) Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando 40 Own
1974 The Way We Were Barbra Streisand 100 Billboard
1975 Love Will Keep Us Together The Captain & Tennille 100 Billboard
1976 Silly Love Songs Wings 100 Billboard
1977 I Just Want To Be Your Everything Andy Gibb 100 Own
1978 Shadow Dancing Andy Gibb 100 Billboard
1979 My Sharona (One week only) The Knack 50 Billboard
1980 Call Me Blondie 100 Own
1981 Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes 100 Own
1982 Physical Olivia Newton-John 100 Own
1983 Every Breath You Take (Begin 1 week countdowns) The Police 100 Own
1984 Say Say Say Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson 100 Own
1985 Careless Whisper Wham! Featuring George Michael 100 Billboard
1986 That's What Friends Are For Dionne and Friends 100 Billboard
1987 Walk Like an Egyptian The Bangles 100 Billboard
1988 Faith George Michael 100 Billboard
1989 Look Away Chicago 100 Billboard
1990 Nothing Compares 2 U Sinead O'Connor 100 Own
1991 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You Bryan Adams 100 Own
1992 End Of the Road Boyz II Men 100 Own
1993 Two Princes The Spin Doctors 100 Own
1994 The Sign (One week only) Ace Of Base 40 Own

 

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