But my real passion on such lists is pop music. I’ve been doing several mega-lists (top 150 Beatle-related hits, top 150 hits by Canadian artists, top 100 of 2010-2014) recently based on a database (sadly no longer available) that gave the complete chart run of every song on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
This quiz compiles the top 200 songs of the 1980s.
For these lists, I’ve assigned points to each position on the weekly chart. These are guesses of course, because I don’t have (indeed in some cases no one may have) the original “scores” used to create the charts. But they’re educated guesses.
Looking at monitors of weekly national radio airplay, I discovered that – as a good approximation – the #1 song each week gets twice as many “spins” on average as the #10 song on the charts. The #10 song gets nearly twice as many as the #20, and this pattern repeats every ten songs as you go down the chart. So I’ve assigned 8,000 points to the #1 song of the week, dropping 400 points with each chart position until #10 gets 4000 points, then 2000 points for #20; 1000 points for #30; 500 points for #40, eventually dropping to the #100 song in the week earning a mere 10 points.
Those points were then added for each song’s complete chart run, and the totals sorted to generate the list, in this case of the top 200 songs to peak on the Hot 100 in the 1980s. It sounds grueling but going from the raw data to the finished list actually only took about one hour. (It really helps to know how to use the VLookUp function in Excel.)
The results aren’t scientific, but they’re as accurate as I can estimate them.