Top 40: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Top Forty or Top 40 is a music industry shorthand for the currently most-popular songs in a particular genre. When used without qualification, it typically refers to the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music songs of the previous week. Top 40 became the dominant radio format of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s



The Top 40, or top forty, whether surveyed by a radio station or a publication, was a list of songs that shared only the common characteristic of being newly released. Its popularity coincided with the rapid changes in recording technology in the 1950s and 60s. In 1954, the recording industry agreed upon a standard recording format for higher fidelity music, so any new record player could play any new record. Also that year, new single records were released on 45 rpm records and the Top 40 thereafter became a survey of the popularity of these records. Tape recording had become perfected, allowing artists more freedom as they composed songs, especially novelty songs.


Other lists of hit songs may include a different number of entries, such as a "Top 50" or "Top 100".

By the late eighties and early nineties, the 45 rpm record would decrease in popularity and other means would be used to evaluate the popularity of new songs. As a result, chart runs for songs tend to be longer than they were in the 1960s and 70s.

In contemporary publications

The current top songs are tracked by a variety of trade publications, such as:

Radio programs that highlight currently popular songs also refer to the "Top 40":

In contemporary radio

Further reading

  • Durkee, Rob. "American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century." Schriner Books, New York City, 1999.
  • Battistini, Pete, "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem The 1970s.", January 31, 2005. ISBN 1-4184-1070-5.
  • Douglas, Susan, "Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination," New York: Times Books, 1999.
  • Fong-Torres, Ben, "The Hits Just Keep On Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio", San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 1998.
  • MacFarland, David, "The Development of the Top 40 Radio Format", New York: Arno Press, 1979.
  • Fisher, Mark, "Something in the Air: Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation", New York: Random House, 2007.
  • Goulart, Elwood F. 'Woody', "The Mystique and Mass Persuasion: Bill Drake & Gene Chenault’s Rock and Roll Radio Programming[1]", 2006. :D


External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Top 40

Top 40s

Top 40 (plural Top 40s)

  1. (music) Popular music, usually the 40 most popular songs at a given time.


Top 40 (comparative more Top 40, superlative most Top 40)

Top 40

more Top 40

most Top 40

  1. Relating to or playing popular music.
    I was listening to a Top 40 radio station.

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