Friday, March 27, 2015

Project Updates

During the past 6-7 months, I've been working offline on a couple of music-related DIY projects, both of which have been previously discussed on the blog. Here's an update on those two projects:


Back in September, I first posted about the Billboard Jazz charts.   Here's what I wrote:
It began innocently enough with the question, "Do the good folks at Record Research publish a jazz album list book?" Unfortunately, the answer is no. So, being slightly compulsive, I've set about to make my own jazz album list book for the years 1976-85. Putting this thing together will take a while.
And it did. But I'm finally finished.  If you're interested, you can download the document by clicking on the graphic below.  Free chart info - no strings attached.  (The information contained in the document is believed to be reliable but accuracy is not guaranteed.  I'm just one guy, folks.)
jazz label copy

While many of the Billboard jazz charts were available online via Google Books, many were not. So I made many a trip to the library and handled plenty of both microfilm and microfiche.  Fortunately, current technology allows you to simply hit a button and save a page of microfilm as a picture file like the one below.
click to enlarge
Then it was simply a matter of compiling the data. It may seem like a long, boring process but I enjoyed it because I was introduced to a lot of music with which I was previously unfamiliar; latest additions to my vinyl and digital libraries (both CD and files) have definitely been influenced by this list.


The Megalist™ project started innocently enough following a trip across Texas over the Thanksgiving holidays.  Read all about the beginnings of this project by clicking here.  I "just" wanted every Top 40 song in the years 1976-85.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?  I was hoping to be done by mid-March.  I'm not.  But, with a little help from my friends (you know who you are), here's where I currently stand, by year:

1976:  223 of 226 Top 40 songs
1977:  201 of 217
1978:  207 of 235
1979:  214 of 232
1980:  206 of 229
1981:  183 of 212
1982:  199 of 222
1983:  204 of 224
1984:  213 of 218
1985:  216 of 220
Total: 2066 of 2235 (92%)

This list has also influenced my music buying habits, but not to the extent the other project has. To be honest, this project was nowhere near as fun as the JazzTome™ project, so I'm putting it on hold for a while, probably until the summer.

So, like Meatloaf famously sang, "One out of two ain't bad." Wait...that doesn't sound right...


  1. Based on my own personal dislike of so many Top 40 songs then and now, I'd guess my percentage for that particular time frame would be close to sixty or seventy percent so I applaud your effort and success thus far.

    Only 169 more to go!

  2. The JazzTome™ is a HUGE, ambitious undertaking and from what I've seen, your work on it has been impeccable. Wouldn't be surprised if Whitburn comes at your with an offer. Or a cease and desist order - it's that good.

    My favorite feature is the entire chart run you supply for each album. Whitburn used to do this but it has gone by the wayside in later volumes at least the few that I have.

    You've inspired me to finally maybe kinda sorta pursue my dreams of compiling a Record Research-style 1982 Music Yearbook as well as a Rock Albums book covering 1981-1995 complete with chart runs for each album.

    1. Put me down to help on that 1982 yearbook - great idea.

  3. Mark, awesome progress on filling in your Top 40 playlists. I have not checked my library - but I expect I am like Herc at about 70% or so.

  4. Rock Albums book just got a lot easier: the Rock Albums chart only existed from 1981-1984. Wasn't resurrected again 2006 which is past my period of interest.

  5. I feel very grateful to have been on MFD's VIP list to receive the rare print-edition of (all that) "JazzTome™"... In fact, my copy descended from the heavens just this past week! It's a stunning piece of work whose author has had jazz aficionados' tongues wagging since its publication was first announced. I say, step aside, Whitburn... There's a new sheriff in town, and his name's the DIY Kid™!!

    By the way, inquiring minds wanna' know what songs remain on your MegaList™ checklist. This friend is still awaiting his marching orders.