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A Listen Down Memory Lane

The other day our promotions director Ted Maturo comes to me with a two-page list of Ocean County’s All-Time Most Requested Songs.

(L-R) Brandon Williams, Kevin Williams (Townsquare Media)
In honor of Friday’s Mets playoff game, a throwback picture of Kevin with his son Brandon at Citi Field. (Townsquare Media)

I know it’s old from the WOBM letterhead and the 201 area code as our phone number and it turns out it’s from 1983. The list was included in a note from Paul Lusnia of Toms River who found it among some papers in a box of items he had from his days growing up.

In the note he recalled that throughout that summer the radio station solicited phone calls from listeners requesting their favorite song which would be played and that would also be considered a vote for that particular song. Then on Labor Day weekend we played the 100 most requested songs over the course of that summer.

Not counting Bob Levy I am the only one who was here 32 years ago and frankly I have no recollection of this but I sure was interested in going through the list. Of course in 1983 we were a true Adult Contemporary radio station and the music was a bit different.

Read the full list

Topping the list that summer was “Memory” by Barbara Streisand which had been released in 1982 and originally was a show tune from the musical “Cats.” It was clearly popular with our listeners at that time and it did reach #9 on the Billboard adult contemporary charts. It was also one of three Streisand songs on our 100 most-requested list with “Evergreen” and “The Way We Were” in the second fifty.

Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So what was #2? How about Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” which has clearly stood the test of time and is a classic having been released in 1969 and still going strong. The third song is frankly one I was not familiar with: It’s “All in the Game” until I Googled and heard it. It’s an oldie from 1958 and is one that most of you would recognize if you heard it.

Another “oldie” (actually I guess these are all oldies) came in at #4 and that was the Five Satins classic “In the Still of the Night.” Coming in at #5 was the first of five Elvis Presley songs to make the list, ”Are You Lonesome Tonight.” Only the Beatles could match Elvis’ popularity with our listeners in the summer of 1983. The remainder of the top ten is a pretty diverse group: “You Light Up My Life” (Debbie Boone), “Cherish” (The Association), “Every Breath You Take” (The Police), “Colour My World” (Chicago) and “Blueberry Hill” (Fats Domino).

Many of the songs that made the list were huge hits and are still played today, probably more so at weddings then on radio stations. Thanks to Paul Lusnia it made for a nice trip down memory lane even if the list did include “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco (#13) which I didn’t like then and I don’t like today.

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