Flashbacks & History

The impetus to Beyond Radio was actually a party I had in 1984 that will see its 32nd incarnation was the second Saturday in July. See this year’s top 100 below.

The original party revolved around a music countdown of the best songs of 1983 (a great music year IMO) based on the responses of friends who submitted their 50 favorite songs of the year. I wanted an overview of the year that had no musical boundaries. The Billboard top 100 of the year always featured the biggest pop songs but there was no chart that encompassed all genres.


Back in the 80’s Boston had a great radio scene. WFNX, WBCN were on the cutting edge of the new wave/alternative scene while KISS 108 with program director Sunny Joe White was unlike any top 40 station in the country. It was the perfect town for my music discovery needs and I wanted a party to reflect the diversity of the airwaves. Of course it was also about discovering new music through other people’s responses, beyond the airplay hits.

The party counted down the top 125 and the first party

#1 was Modern Love by David Bowie (last year’s #1 was Bastille’s Pompeii).
The rest of the top 10 is as follows

2 THE FIXX, One Things Leads to Another

3 IRENE CARA, Flashdance

4 BILLY IDOL, White Wedding


6 DAVID BOWIE, China Girl

7 U2, New Year’s Day

8 TALKING HEADS, Burning Down The House

9 ELVIS COSTELLO, Everyday I Write The Book

10 THE CLASH, Rock The Casbah


On the party countdown #1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 9 did not make the Billboard Top 100 of the year. Non radio fare also made the party countdown. At #50 there was Bonnie Tyler’s remake of “Have You Seen The Rain”. Songs like Peter Godwin’s “Images of Heaven” at #61 and local guy Robert Ellis Orrall’s “I Couldn’t Say No” at #79 showed the influence of Boston radio. Club music was represented by songs like S.O.S. Band’s “Just Be Good to Me” at #21, “It’s Raining Men” at #84, “So Many Men, So Little Time” at #104 and the first single by Wham, “Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)” at #122. This was a top 10 single in the UK and did not chart in the US.

The mix of music was really a great microcosm of the state of music in 1983, a huge year for new wave, Michael Jackson, U2 and Hall & Oates. U2 have become the kings of the party, amassing 3 #1’s, “Bad” in 1985 ( a true out of left field #1), “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” in 1987 and “One” in 1992. In addition 3 #2’s “Mysterious Ways in 1992, “Pride (In The Name of Love)” in 1984 and “With Or Without You” in 1987.
3/31 I started my personal chart back in the fall of 1974 after I first heard American Top 40. It was the Oct. 19 show and 2 things stood out. “Beach Baby” dropped from #4 to #26 and I heard “Overnight Sensation” by The Raspberries for the first time. It was like I found the Holy Grail. That song went on to be my #4 of the year behind two Elton John’s, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” (for a time my #1 of all time) and “The Bitch Is Back” #3, The Commodores “Machine Gun” #2 and ahead of Abba’s “Waterloo” This is a real video from 1974. The outfits were rather glam, especially the Kiss boots.

I can’t remember if I started my chart right away but I do have most of my old charts in files. The earliest one I still have is from June 28, 1975. You’ll see on the list that I charted “Machine Gun” and the Partridge Family’s “You Are Always On My Mind” which were 1 year and 4 years old respectively, thus starting my trend to not follow the radio when creating my personal chart. You can listen to the chart of Spotify.