College Countdown: Winter 1991, 5-1

And now…on with the countdown… 5. Pixies, “Head On” My true confession for today is that, despite the cultural imperative associated with involvement in college radio during a span of time when the eighties gave way to the nineties, I was never all that excited by The Pixies. They were the cool band of the era, the one you could cite to prove that you had genuine taste and proper passion for the music played on college radio. I played them plenty, and I like several songs, but they didn’t really click for me. I like them far more now … Continue reading College Countdown: Winter 1991, 5-1

College Countdown: Winter 1991, 10-6

And now…on with the countdown… 10. Matthew Sweet, “Girlfriend” A sensational single can change everything, lifting an artist from complete obscurity (even within the obscurity-embracing culture of college radio) to critical acclaim, healthy airplay, and even the less prestigious showcases in late night television. The whole Girlfriend album is terrific, but that title cut is the sort of grabber that artists spend their entire careers fruitlessly longing for. In Sweet’s original pass at this song, it was entitled “Good Friend,” but everyone he played it for thought he was saying “girlfriend” so he went ahead and made the minor but … Continue reading College Countdown: Winter 1991, 10-6

College Countdown: Winter 1991, 15-11

And now…on with the countdown… 15. They Might Be Giants, “Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought We Had a Deal” This is the band that we would sometimes refer to as “the Two Johns,” since it was entirely populated by John Flansburgh and John Linnell. They were perhaps the oddest band that I had a working knowledge of before arriving at the radio station, built largely because MTV couldn’t resist the intoxicatingly goofy video for their first single. They were then a major part of my college radio experience. Their second album, the outstanding Lincoln, was plopped into Heavy Rotation at … Continue reading College Countdown: Winter 1991, 15-11

College Countdown: Winter 1991, 35-31

Earlier this week I dug out an old CMJ chart and started the process of recreating the Sunday nights of my first year at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point when I and my more enlightened dorm-mates would gather around the radio to listen to our station, 90FM-WWSP, to find out the most played tracks on college radio nationwide. And now, as they say, on with the countdown… 35. Marc Almond, “Jacky” Marc Almond started his career as one half of the influential New Wave duo Soft Cell. This song came from Tenement Symphony, still his highest-charting album back … Continue reading College Countdown: Winter 1991, 35-31

College Countdown: Winter 1991, 40-36

I had a Sunday night ritual my first semester of college. I gather with several neighbors in my residence hall, and we’d listen to the student run radio station, WWSP-90FM beginning at 6:00 p.m. The program at that time was The College Count-Up. The esteemed host (and future horror blogging titan) took the weekly “Top Cuts” chart published by CMJ, the trade publication targeted at college radio, and tracked through the songs receiving the most airplay nationwide on the left side of the dial. At that time, he cheekily turned the Casey Kasem/Rick Dees practice of counting backwards around, beginning … Continue reading College Countdown: Winter 1991, 40-36