36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2000
Fred Bronson is a chart trivia columnist for Billboard magazine and his love of the charts shines through in this book. It consists primarlity of lists of songs from the Billboard Hot 100, either by artists, producer, label, year or topic. So you get the top 100 Beatles songs, the top 100 Motown songs, the top 25 songs written by Diane Warren, the top 100 songs of 1979, etc.
It keeps the biggest for last: a 5000 song chart of the biggest hits of all time.
The only problem is that all lists are based on equally weighted weeks from the history of chart music. So the 50's (where songs were fewer and chart life longer), and the 90's (where singles were largely abandoned and those that were releases remained on the charts for over a year) tend to dominate many of these lists.
More than half the top 100 of all time are from 55-57 or the 90's. Is 'A Blossom Fell' by Nat King Cole really a bigger hit than Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"? It is here. In fact, with the fast turnover of hits in the 60's only "Hey Jude" makes the top 100. Pity there wasn't some way to balance this info, possibly by factoring in Top 40 listener stats or total singles sales by year as a way to adjust for historical imbalances.
The saving grace of the book is the Charts by Year section. Here the songs have an even playing field, so you can compare songs like "Love Will Keep Us Together" with "Jive Talkin" in 1975, or "Sunshine Superman" and "Hanky Panky" in '66, or "Wind Beneath My Wings" to "Love Shack" in '89.
If you want more specific info on a song, you should also check out Fred's Billboard Book of Number One Singles, a treasure trove of musical trivia.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2003
This book is essential for music trivia and popular culture fanatics. The most interesting part is reading the Top 100 hits of each year, year by year. It is a fascinating study in shifting trends in public taste, and you literally "see and hear" the changes in U.S. history, reflected through its music, over the coarse of five decades. From the Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Doris Day era of the 1950's, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the 1960's, Donna Summer, Abba and Bee Gees in the 1970's, Madonna in the 1980's and Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Mariah Carey, this book is fun and fascinating from start to finish. Good job Fred!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2003
The above title is charted as #4631 of the Top 5000 singles of the rock era and also the feeling one gets when thumbing through this absolutely essential book--absolutely essential for any individual with the slightest interest in popular music of the past 47 years all the way to the deepest trivia buff, anyone who has ever had a taste of list-o-mania. Along with Mr. Bronson's "Billboard Book Of Number One Hits" and Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles", this is the one of the three necessary reference items for any home library with a section dealing with pop music.
Mr. Bronson covers the songs, artists (sections for Elvis, Elton, Abba, Aretha, Beatles, Stones, Sinatras, etc.) producers, songwriters and record labels, that have spun around our turntables. cassette decks and CD players since 1955. Specialized sections deal with such diverse subjects as music from motion pictures, names of girls and boys, food, animals and the calendar. It is not just the list that make this book essential; it is the historical articles which feature thousands of little known facts. The ultimate list is the Top 5000 songs of the rock era (1955-present). Some fine illustrations accompany the text.
Some readers will take offense that most of the biggest songs of the rock era are from the 1990s. However, Mr. Bronson explains how chart methodolgy created this situation (For instance the highest ranking Beatles song is #41). For those 1960s (or other decades)purists , there are sections devoted to each decade. For the statisticians, the author has revised his methodology to emphasize high chart position, a significant improvement.
This book will settle many arguments about popular music and related pop culture issues. In summary, buy it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2003
The incredible trivia and detail which Fred Bronson has labored to include in this book are worth the purchase by any music fan! The table of contents alone is six pages long, dividing the book in the top songs by The Artists, The Writers, The Producers, The Labels, Charts and Configurations, The Years, and The Subjects.
So we are taken from the lists showing John Lennon and Paul McCartney writing over 100 hit songs, to producers L.A. Reid and Babyface charting with their Top 50 list. In the record label section, the companies with 100 Top Hits are A&M, Arista, Atlantic, Capitol,Colubia, Epic, MCA, Mercury, MGM, Motown, RCA, and Warner Brothers. Each label's top songs are listed.
The trivia subjects are fun: Top 100 songs about animals (Elvis wins the top two with "Hound Dog" and "Teddy Bear"). Picking out a name for a baby? Here are the Top 100 songs with names of boys or girls in the title.
The Years begin with 1956 and go through 2001, with an added section on the Top 100 of each decade. A special section ends the book: The Top 5000 Songs of the Rock Era. #1? "Smooth" by Santana.
Buy this book if you love music chart facts and trivia with rare photos of the artists who achieved the Top 100.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2003
Author Fred Bronson has updated and expanded his edition of the classic bestseller, following the history of popular music through the end of 2001. What makes Bronsons effort stand out from the copycats is his approach to all things tuneful --- the book devotes separate chapters to such categories as artists, writers, producers, subjects, years, even labels. The best of the best is also here, such as The Top 50 Songs Written By Holland-Dozier-Holland, The Top 20 Songs of The Carpenters, The Top 100 Pre-Rock Era Remakes, The Top 30 Songs Produced By Snuff Garrett. Especially fun is The Top 100 Songs By One-Hit Wonders
remember Zager & Evans? Laurie London? Clint Holmes? The most astounding list is The Top 5,000 Hits of the Rock Era, chronicling the years from 1956 through 2001. We could do with better photos (or at least better reproduction), but hey, one bad note aint so bad when all these fascinating facts and figures hit all the right ones. A must-have reference book for any and all music mavens.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2004
This book is amazing. Here is what you get:
Different chart categories such as:
The top songs divied by popular artists (Elvis, Mariah Carey andanyone else with a large singles list)
The top songs from producers and writers.
The top tongs devided into record company.
The top songs of each year from 1955-2001.*
The top songs in various categories (Boys Names, Girls Names, Food, Weekdays etc.)
And the top 5000 songs of all time!!! (from 1955-May 2002)
It also contains biographies of the popular artists, the description of each year and category and an explnation of how he came up with the results.
* The year end charts are not the same as billboard magazine's year-end charts, he used a different methodology, and the songs are categorized under the year in which they hit their peak position.
Great Book, and even if you are not interested in Billboard, it is still very interesting!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2008
"Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits" is one of the most outstanding compilations of music chart data ever published. The author, Fred Bronson, is nationally recognized as one of most credible authorities regarding Billboard chart data.
This book is a "must have" for radio stations and music collectors. A tremendous amount of research and work went into making this book possible. The entire "rock and roll era" is covered, all the way up to 2006. I consider this book a "collector's item" as well as a valuable music research tool.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
I must admit that I had great reservations about this book the last couple of years. Fred Bronson has essentially re-written Billboards Charts. He himself says that this is looking at the Hits from a different perspective. How true. Apparently Billboard uses the end of November as a cut-off date for the Year End Charts because of publishing deadlines. Songs coming out at the end of the year are caught in limbo between two particular years and are unable to get enough points to become legitimate Hits. Very interesting. The one problem I do have with Fred's system is that songs that reached #1 are sometimes ranked lower than songs that reached # 2,3 and so on. The same goes for all songs. Hmm. This philosophy in my opinion puts Fred's methodology in question. It does give you something to think about. Anyway, I do agree with Fred on most points and I highly recommend this book. I hope the 5th edition will be out soon as this one is five years old.
Update Instrumentals: I have noticed a few Instrumentals that are on the 5000 list but not on the Top 100 list. Wheels on page 548 which would come after Soulful Strut and Time Is Tight on page 580 which would come after Don't Be Cruel by Bill Black. Theme Song From "Song For A Summer Night" page 571 should qualify for an Instrumental because there are no spoken words just some ooo in the background, approx. 52 seconds worth. Fred also doesn't consider The Hustle and Fly, Robin Fly Instrumentals. Joel Whitburn considers the last 3 songs Instrumentals. The strange thing is, Fred considers Born Free an Instrumental but Joel doesn't. There are quite a few words in this song. I had an email forwarded to Fred because I don't have his email address and he acknowledges it but hasn't responded yet. That was 4 months ago. Must be a busy guy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2015
The 1991 edition has been on my shelf for decades. Recently I did a spot check on the Buddah label. Although "Brand New Key" is listed as the #6 song of 1971, and in the low 300s for the top 1000 songs up to that time, it wasn't to be found in the list of the top 30 songs of the Buddah label. You'd think that a song on a second tier label that hit #1 for three weeks would be among their top three or four hits. Clearly it was an oversight, but even one of these makes me wonder if other lists have inaccuracies. Even within that one label's "top 30" list, tracks that charted high in the top ten were missing in lieu of songs you and I have never heard of.
That said, if you just take this as a source of fun rather than as an authoritative reference you'll enjoy this quite a bit. For more definitive references you can't beat Joel Whitburn's series of books based on the Billboard charts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2007
You'd think a title with the name Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits would comprise a relatively slim list of charts - but actually this is much, much more: it's a reference which includes top hits for artists, writers, producers and labels, including one-hit wonders, and categorizes these by many subheadings: top hits by Australian artists, top hits on Jive, top songs by decade increments. The wealth of information adds details on all these artists and producers alongside chart listings and reviews of influences on the hits. The result is an involving survey perfect for any lending library strong in popular music history.