Sunday, June 06, 2010

AMERICAN TOP 40 Now & Then

AMERICAN TOP 40 is still around after all these years. The popular three hour long radio program top 40 singles countdown show made popular by radio host Casey Kasem is airing a 1977 digitally remastered version of a classic broadcast on oldies stations this weekend, while celebrity Ryan Seacrest hosts a new version of the radio show now named AT40.

Certainly, the concept of what makes a single has changed over the years. Back in 1977 a single was a 7inch 45rpm record with a large hole in the center selling for around .75-.99 at record store retailers, which wholesaled for around .59. Today, the digital download single is the most popular format, although a few cd singles still exist, especially for radio station use. Most likely these are two song cds with the album version and an edited shorter radio play version.
Strangely, because the concept of a single has changed so much over the years, current acts like Lady Gaga are able to have three songs in the current top 40, with The Black Eyed Peas, two songs. It is far easier for acts to place several songs on the top charts these days. In the 1960's, some acts such as The Beatles were able to have several successful singles on the charts at the time, but that was because of the sheer phenomenon of worldwide popularity and hysteria that they once created as the most successful rock band of the time.

But, Casey Kasem was a real pioneer in the radio countdown type format shows. In 1970, he founded that franchise. The original show ran from 1970-1988. But, Casey Kasem hosted some sort of top song countdown show up until 2004. He also provided the voice for Shaggy in the Scooby Doo cartoon series, and has provide countless voice work to many other commercials and projects.

Casey Kasem decided to retire in 2009. He's now 78. But, he remains one of the most popular Arab-American celebrities of all time. He was the son of Druze parents from Lebanon who worked as grocers to raise young Casey. Casey Kasem has been active in efforts to improve the image of Arabs as well as political activity. His politics tend to be very liberal, and he's supported both Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich in the past.Kasem is a vegan as well.

For years, Casey Kasem would sign-off his popular programs with his signature slogan, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars".


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