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.

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: 1993

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!”

Music and fandom are deeply fragmented in the second full year of the Soundscan era on the Billboard charts as Gen-X takes charge of pop culture and Bill Clinton is inaugurated President. But genres are flowering in their silos, the music biz is prospering, and CD-single genres, especially Hip-Hop and R&B, are ruling the Hot100.

Our Latest Shows

  • 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!

  • Chartcrush 1958 Is Live

    Teens take over the Pop charts as Billboard unveils the Hot100, silly hits abound, Folk is back and the Jet Age dawns with foreign language songs like “Volare.” Learn more on Chartcrush 1958!

  • Chartcrush 1993 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1993 Episode Graphic

    Music is fragmented the second year of the Soundscan era on the charts as Gen-X takes charge, but genres are blossoming and R&B and Hip-Hop rule the Hot100. Learn more on Chartcrush 1993!

  • Chartcrush 1976 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1976 Episode Graphic

    Disco crests with Disco novelty hits and Pop veterans jumping on the bandwagon, while Soft Rockers and Balladeers continue charting massive chart hits. Learn more on Chartcrush 1976!

  • Chartcrush 1963 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1963 Episode Graphic

    Pop is trending younger and more global the year before The Beatles and Supremes, Girl Groups are everywhere and Surf sounds are California’s hot new export. Learn more on Chartcrush 1963!

  • Chartcrush 1949 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1949 Episode Graphic

    Big Band Swing is extinct and Jazz is off into Bebop-land, but Crooners, Pop Singers and Sweet Bands are making waves, and Country-Western is breaking through. Learn more on Chartcrush 1949!

  • Chartcrush 1980 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1980 Episode Graphic

    A “free-for-all” after Disco implodes! Michael Jackson survives but Bee Gees and Chic retreat to the producer’s booth as Rock, AC and New Wave fill the vacuum. Learn more on Chartcrush 1980!

  • Chartcrush 1955 Is Live
    Chartcrush Countdown Show 1955 Episode Graphic

    The Rock Era dawns with “Rock Around the Clock” and whitewashed R&B as grownups go nuts for hi-fi and Mambo, Mitch Miller continues scoring and Sinatra returns. Learn more on Chartcrush 1955!

  • Chartcrush 1999 Is Live

    Females rule as Latins invade, TLC returns, AutoTune appears and Total Request Live showcases Millennial Pop idols Britney, Christina, Backstreet and ‘NSYNC. Learn more on Chartcrush 1999!

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