Five Seconds Of Every #1 Pop Single ever

If you loved Rob's post last year of "Every Billy Joel hit played simultaneously," this is sure to get you out of your chair and dancing: "Five Seconds of Every #1 Pop Single" ever.
Five Seconds Of Every #1 Pop Single Part 1 by mjs538
Five Seconds Of Every #1 Pop Single Part 2 by mjs538

(Thanks, Jason Tester, via Salon)


  1. Well, I’m a ball of emotions after listening to all the hits from my first memories as a child through college and into my adult life. Music impacts our emotions more than you can imagine.

    1. Agreed, Beatles were, are and will be the greatest phenomenon in popular music, that’s why people call them THE FAB FOUR.
      And I wasn’t even born when they disbanded (I’m 31). I became fan of them the first time I listened their music (I was 11).

    1. Too much schmaltz-pop in the early 70s; too much disco in the mid-to-late 70s. Most of the 70s were my teen years.

  2. This collage originated with the syndicated radio documentary ‘The History of Rock and Roll. I first heard a 45 minute version of the collage way back in 1978 or 79, when I was a teenager. I recoded the collage on a cassette tape back then, and played it several times over the years.

    In 1981, the documentary and collage was updated – and then finished with Eddie Rabbit’s song ‘I Love a Rainy Night’ The entire collage until that song is exactly the same as when I heard/recorded it back then.

    The wikipedia page for the documentary credits engineer Mark Ford for compiling the collage ….

    I’m not sure if the same engineers/producers were responsible for extending the collage to the current date. I somehow doubt it, as some of the newer segments are of lower quality – some songs are quite muddled and distorted.

    1. Ah, that sounds like a good explanation for the noticeable erratic quality of samples in the second half or so – although the except selection is still as good as the early section. It’s still amazing though.

  3. Oh my god, this is like one of those infomercials for “Over 9,000 Golden Oldies!” or “Hits of the Retro 90’s!”.

    Do they still have those?

  4. Amazing that my brain can sing along with every single one. I didn’t know there was that much space up there, and this is only a small sample of the music I’ve heard. I can tell time by the songs and can identify what was going on in my life and limited view of the world.

    For good or evil part 2 set me straight off into a trance. Can you tell when I became pop culture aware?

    My wife stopped by and now she’s been sucked in too.

  5. Around 40 minutes in, I started to seriously flash back to riding the bus home from school in 4th grade. I think I gave up on Top 40 a couple years later, but man… what a trip!

  6. Wait a minute. Am I missing something, or is it really just now early 1993? Has Bill Clinton just become the 42nd President of the United States? Have the last 18 years of my life been nothing more than a really weird dream (and, in some cases, a horrible nightmare)? Am I going to wake up next to Suzanne Pleshette?

    The headline above clearly says that this includes “Every #1 Pop Single ever”. But it ends with Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You”, which was the #1 song at the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993. I think someone is cheating us out of 18 years’ worth of #1 pop singles.

    On a slightly more serious note, I wish someone would correlate each and every one of these songs with the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average when these songs were at #1 to test whether there is any validity to the theory shown here:

    1. Yeah, I feel really cheated by the lack of grunge and alternative rock.

      I’m left with the impression that I didn’t actually have terrible taste in music when I was in middle school – there was just too much crap playing over and over on the radio at the time that I didn’t know there was so much good music written long before 1993.

  7. I like how the music styles change in response to social upheaval. You can tell when the country was coasting along with a few dozen songs in the same style, and when things where changing each song being strikingly different.

    I’m also pretty horrified by how much crap is in my brain and how hard it is to access it voluntarily. If I was dared to name as many #1 hits as I could I might end up with 10. And yet I knew probably 90% of these songs including the ones 30 years before I was born.

  8. i agree with Anon in comment #2. this is a real emotional workout. especially the first part. uncanny what music does. so many touchstones to my inner life. plenty of songs that i can’t stand but still affect me and bring out intense reactions. like reiki or a good massage. this somehow makes me excited about the world all over again.

  9. After heating up in the 60’s there seems to be a major quality dive in the 70’s. Could that be when album rock sheared away from top 40?

  10. Wow. The stuff that ends up above the fray in pop is actually pretty genius, for the most part. It’s the stuff that isn’t No. 1 that makes pop radio un-listenable.

    1. Your adolescence lasted from 1956 to 1993? Are you a giant tortoise or a tree? Or are you, perhaps, Dick Clark?

  11. Earlier than cited examples, there was the “WLS Timesweep” which played 1-3 seconds of the most popular songs from 1960-1985. I don’t klnow which year this was initiated, but I began hearing it in the early 70’s every New Years Eve. They played it only once a year at Midnight, adding new songs from the past year.

    This inspired me and lots of other geeks in town to make our own “sound collages” using the pause buttons on our tape decks.

  12. Amazing, listening to this I can pinpoint the exact moment I discovered punk, after which I recognize one song in ten.

    Before that, of course, there’s an unbelievable amount of nostalgia. I really really miss my sixth grade best friend now.

  13. They should make all of today’s young artists listen to all of these songs in full to get an idea of where we are coming from when we judge the music of today.

  14. Now if only a Philly radio station would have ALL of the songs from the mid 60’s to 1979 on their playlist…!!!

  15. Don’t remember hearing any Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, or the Big Bopper, Dee Clark, Marv Johnson, Ventures, Miracles, but even with out those it’s still super. Big Lew Custer

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