Last week, we came to the conclusion of the mightiest College Countdown effort yet, a survey of the Top 250 songs from the first ten years of CMJ, the trade publication that once served student broadcasters — and maybe still does, sorta. It took over a year-and-a-half of weekly posts to count backwards from the lower reaches of the chart to the top spot.
For my next big trick, I’m going to mount an even more ambitious — or perhaps more lunatic — College Countdown undertaking, one that is so large and will take so long that I’m thinking of it as “the final Countdown.”
Right now, though, I haven’t even completely figured out how to pull that off, or at least the basic logistics of the weekly posts are currently eluding me. In part due to that, and in part out of a desire to have something of an interlude between the two massive Countdowns, I’m going to do something a little simpler to carry through to the end of the calendar year.
As I’ve noted before, my College Countdown borrows its name and basic concept from a weekly show that aired at my student radio alma mater, WWSP-90FM, roughly during the years I was a proud member of the staff. Primarily hosted by the fine fellow who would also become my cohort on the on-air movie review show I often remember in this digital space, the weekly program aired on Sunday nights and used the regularly published CMJ 40 Cuts chart to set the playlist.
For the next few weeks, I will honor my predecessor the proper way.
This chart comes from the spring of 1990, which I don’t idealize quite as fervently as the same time frame one year earlier, but I look at the music that dominated our attention and still see a version of college radio from the days before Nirvana unintentionally knocked sonic diversity asunder with their runaway success. A playlist could go just about anywhere, and the tracks on this chart reflect that.
The new Countdown gets underway properly next week. In the meantime, here is the listing of all that have come before in this space:
The 90FM-WWSP charts
The CMJ charts
The other charts