Listen to Five Seconds of Every #1 Pop Single from 1956 to 1992
Hugo Keesing‘s Chartsweep is comprised of five seconds of every #1 pop single in the history of the charts from 1956’s “Memories Are Made of This” by Dean Martin to Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” from 1992.
The concept and term “Chartsweep” both originated in the late 60s with a syndicated radio show called “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I listened to it on WOR-FM in New York and recorded portions of it on an old Wollensack reel-to-reel tape recorder. As you know, the ‘sweep presented segments of every Billboard #1 single starting with “Memories Are Made of This” (Jan 1956). I don’t recall where it stopped, but it was around 1968/69. Six years later I began teaching an American Studies course at the University of Maryland called “Popular Music in American Society.” To provide a setting for each class I dusted off the concept, took it back to January 1950, added a number of songs based on Joel Whitburn’s re-definition of #1 songs, and continued where the original had stopped. I added each new #1 until fall, 1991 when I stopped teaching the course.
Listen below: (Or at least jump around through it: The whole thing is 74 minutes long, after all)