Another Special Contribution to the Reel Top 40 Radio Repository

Not everyone has multiple contributions, and you will not find them in our "Collections". This is where our special exhibits go. We invite you to relish the rare and singular value of this GOLDEN GIFT. If you find it enjoyable, please let the contributor know.


Thanks to Dale Patterson, of Rock Radio Retrospective Alive! for what we believe is the FINAL version of the Drake-Chenault Syndicated History of Rock and Roll Time Sweep. Dale says "In 1981, the Drake-Chenault History of Rock and Roll was updated and played on several stations. Also updated was the History of Rock 'N' Roll Time Sweep, from November 1955 through February 1981. I recorded this in August of 1981 on WPHD-FM in Buffalo, N.Y."

Thank you, Dale!

The History of Rock & Roll Time Sweep, 1981 (44:45)

... "At the dawning of the Rock era, there was still considerable carryover on the Pop charts, with many non-rock artists ... continuing to do well." ...


At the beginning of this last-known version of the syndicated "History of Rock and Roll Time Sweep", you'll hear narrator Bill Drake offer the above comment concerning "considerable carryover", just before the "magic, music and memories" begin. If not offered as an apology for presenting Top 40 Radio as "Rock & Roll", it's certainly a partial explanation of a musical montage that was never exclusively "Rock & Roll".
Dec 55 - Jan 64
Begins with Memories are Made of This, ends withThere, I've Said It Again

Feb 64 - May 70
Begins with I Want to Hold Your Hand, ends withThe Long and Winding Road

May 70 - Oct 75
Begins with Stop! The Love You Save, ends with Let's Do It Again

Oct 75 - Feb '81
Begins with Saturday Night, ends with I Love a Rainy Night

9/77 - 2/81
Starts after You Light Up My Life, where the earlier version of this syndicated release ends.

Mr. Drake offers no such explanation for the 1960's, when that pesky "pop carryover" Frank Sinatra had a number one hit while British groups dominated rock music, or the 1970's, when Barry Manilow and John Denver are categorized not as "pop carryover", but "mellow rock" artists. Even the final segment of this Time Sweep (from 1981) includes "many non-rock artists continuing to do well" (like Eddie Rabbit, Kenny Rogers and Barbra Streisand). Were these also "carryovers?"

Top 40 radio was NOT "Rock & Roll" radio. Some rock music was presented in a "variety" format known as Top 40 — and that may have helped it become the dominant form of American popular music. This Time Sweep should really be titled "The History of Number One Records on Top 40 Radio" from 1956 - 1981.

Since then, diversification of formats, new and specialized outlets for recorded music, and the mass-marketing of highly-polarized musical forms (ie: suburbanites identifying with urban cowboys and inner-city hoodlums) has all but eliminated what was once the most loved and popular musical format on the radio. Top 40 was special because it was NOT just Rock 'n' Roll. It was NEVER just one type of popular contemporary music.

While the final "History of Rock & Roll" may never be written, the History of Top 40 Radio is "in the books." It's all done, if not forgotten.

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