A History of Pop Music, Year-by-Year

Thanks for visiting us! This is the website for the Chartcrush Top Ten Countdown Show, a Spotify podcast and one-hour radio program broadcast weekly on select radio stations in the U.S., many on the Pacifica Radio Network.

Each episode tackles a different year from the start of Billboard’s pop charts in the 1940s up to the present, and presents a mix of talk and music: a “deep-dive” into a year in pop culture, viewed through the prism of the ten songs that were most popular.

This Week on Pacifica Radio: 1960

Note: if you play from the embed, you’ll just hear the commentary, not the songs. Click the link to open in Spotify—and while you’re there, hit “follow!”

The payola scandal chills Rock ‘n Roll on radio and adult genres like Easy Listening, Soundtracks, Jazz and Rat Pack Swing dominate music with albums—now in stereo!—outselling singles, and hi-fi’s debuting in the Sears catalog. But Elvis is back from the Army, The Nashville Sound puts Country front and center, and American Bandstand starts a wave of dance crazes with “The Twist.”

Our Latest Shows

  • Chartcrush 1960 Is Live

    The payola scandal chills Rock on the radio and adult genres surge with LPs outselling singles, but Elvis is out of the Army and everyone’s doing “The Twist!” Learn more on Chartcrush 1960!

  • Chartcrush 2016 Is Live

    Trump v. Hillary politicizes Pop like never before as streaming reverses the music biz’s 15-year free-fall from filesharing and Dancehall/Trophouse sounds rule. Learn more on Chartcrush 2016!

  • Chartcrush 1947 Is Live

    Big Band Swing is all but extinct, but the record biz prospers as nostalgia sweeps the nation, makes Al Jolson cool again, and lifts a record from 1933 to #1. Learn more on Chartcrush 1947!

  • Chartcrush 1992 Is Live

    Crossover becomes the norm as Billboard takes the charts digital, but Michael Jackson finds Pop’s new sweet spot and Boyz II Men set a new bar for weeks at #1. Learn more on Chartcrush 1992!

  • Chartcrush 1975 Is Live

    Elton John can do no wrong but big chart acts move in bold directions and Disco dancing emerges as a preferred escape from economic hardship and ’70s “malaise.” Learn more on Chartcrush 1975!

  • Chartcrush 1956 Is Live
    1956 Episode Graphic

    Elvis Presley rules the charts and personifies Rock ‘n Roll as teens buy millions of 45s, top-40 radio explodes and Seeburg launches the 200-selection jukebox. Learn more on Chartcrush 1956!

  • Chartcrush 2000 Is Live

    Boy Bands, Britney v. Christina and Latin Pop carry over into the new millennium, but Rock is back, Destiny’s Child redefines R&B, and Country scores big. Learn more on Chartcrush 2000!

  • Chartcrush 1982 Is Live

    The Walkman fuels a fitness craze but dooms music on AM as Top 40 moves to FM. MTV subs triple and launch a “Second British Invasion” of New Wave and Synthpop. Learn more on Chartcrush 1982!

  • Chartcrush 1967 Is Live

    It’s Flower Power and Hippies in California; urban riots everywhere else as Sgt. Pepper’s launches Album Rock and The Monkees take over TV and the Pop charts. Learn more on Chartcrush 1967!

  • Chartcrush 2019 Is Live

    Edgy, genre-bending Pop marks Gen-Z’s arrival via TikTok and streaming hits 50% of music biz revenue as BigCulture™ #resistance to Trump/MAGA enters beast mode. Learn more on Chartcrush 2019!

  • Chartcrush 1996 Is Live
    Chartcrush 1996 Episode Graphic

    It’s Divas, domestic terrorism, Netscape vs. Microsoft, and Alanismania the year Tupac is killed, the Internet takes off and everyone is doing “The Macarena.” Learn more on Chartcrush 1996!

  • Chartcrush 1972 Is Live

    The Red/Blue political divide arrives and the tension manifests in Glam Rock, nostalgia and escapism. Black artists rule the top ten in the lead-up to Wattstax. Learn more on Chartcrush 1972!

  • Chartcrush 1945 Is Live

    The Petrillo ban lifts in time for Pop to celebrate victory in WW2 with a final burst of Big Bands, new girl singers and Crooners, and a heroic theme by Chopin. Learn more on Chartcrush 1945!

  • Chartcrush 2008 Is Live
    2008 episode graphic

    Hip-Hop helps elect a President in its last dominant year til the late ’10s, also a year of big female debuts as Lil Wayne & T.I. face jail on weapons charges. Learn more on Chartcrush 2008!

  • Chartcrush 1990 Is Live
    1990 episode graphic

    The Cold War ends, but The Gulf War energizes the charts, yellow ribbons trend and postmodern irony, serial shock and taste inversion enflame the Culture War. Learn more on Chartcrush 1990!

  • Chartcrush 1952 Is Live

    New and established Crooners and Pop Singers are on top as Ike is elected, Elizabeth II is coronated, the Cold War becomes the new normal and “the ’50s” begin. Learn more on Chartcrush 1952!

  • Chartcrush 1978 Is Live
    1978 episode graphic

    Peak Disco with The Bee Gees and Andy Gibb dominating, two blockbuster movie soundtracks, Lionel Richie’s first #1 Pop-Soul-AC crossover hit and Yacht Rock! Learn more on Chartcrush 1978!

  • Chartcrush 2014 Is Live
    2014 episode graphic

    Social media eclipses TV as the top driver of pop culture in The Year of the Booty, Indie-Folk spreads and underground Hip-Hop styles vie for chart dominance. Learn more on Chartcrush 2014!

  • Chartcrush 1984 Is Live
    1984 episode graphic

    The “visual sizzle” of music video defines the look and sound of the ’80s, soundtracks yield multiple hits, veteran acts relaunch and Prince floods the zone. Learn more on Chartcrush 1984!

  • Chartcrush 2002 Is Live
    2002 episode graphic

    The ’00s take shape after 9/11 as Emo and Bling Rap conquer the charts, Avril and Nelly emerge, Eminem goes mainstream and the ’00s biggest Rock bands debut. Learn more on Chartcrush 2002!

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