Mike Riccio On The 24th Year of the Top 77!
by Scott Benjamin 

Mike Riccio

Bill Clinton was president and the Yankees were coming off a World Championship and 114-victory regular season when Survey Guy Mike Riccio started The Top 77 of All Time in hopes of reigniting the excitement that Musicradio 77 WABC listeners had when they tuned in for the Top 100 of the Year and sent their self-addressed stamped envelopes to get a copy of the list.

For the 24th consecutive year, the Top 77 is again being tabulated. You can vote at the Oldies Message Board or at Musicradio77.com through early December. Rewound Radio will be featuring the Top 77 during the holiday week between Christmas and New Years. 

Musicradio77.com recently conducted an e-mail interview with Mike regarding such topics as which artists are popular and why the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” always gets a bushel full of votes.


Why have you chosen to have voters select 10 songs? 

For a couple of reasons: 

First of all, at one time, we had people voting only for their top 3, and then top 5. But then every year more and more voters were saying that they had a hard time picking only their top 3 or 5 songs and wish they could include more, so to satisfy that request, it was expanded to ten. And for those who couldn't come up with ten songs, that's fine. Voters could choose as few as one song up to ten. 

The second reason is that voting for ten songs adds a lot of variety to the list. When the voting is for only 3 or so songs, the "blockbuster" hits and megahits often get the most votes. Having ten songs allows for favorites that may not be of the "superhit" status.

What years are most popular on the Top 77? 

The most popular years always seem to fall from the late 60s into the early 1970s. Generally 1969 and 1967 are top years. As for the decades, here's the breakdown from last year: 

1910s 0.00%
1920s 0.00%
1930s 0.16%
1940s 0.20%
1950s 7.80%
1960s 41.74%
1970s 34.58%
1980s 10.31%
1990s 2.43%
2000s 1.23%
2010s 1.51%
Other 0.04%


Why has “Hey Jude,” by the Beatles, been number one in 22 of the 23 years? 

Well, The Beatles always do well on the survey due to their enormous popularity, and "Hey Jude" has always ranked as one of their top, if not THE top hit on surveys throughout the years. It was one of the top sellers of all-time. 

In addition, its legacy continues now with Paul McCartney featuring it often as the final massive singalong to end his concerts. 

The song spans generations, and many who were not even born when the song was released now consider it a favorite.


Are there artists who have grown in popularity on the Top 77 over the last 10 years? 

Generally, the long time established acts tend to due the best: 

1. Beatles
2. Beach Boys
3. Rolling Stones
4. 5th Dimension
5. Four Seasons
6. Elvis Presley
7. Carpenters
8. Simon and Garfunkel
9. Chicago
10. Elton John 

There are always the more contemporary acts that do get some votes, and now some more of the 1970s and 1980s acts are getting more response, but generally speaking, none of theses are close to the established acts that always get the most votes.


Are there songs that had only mediocre popularity when they were released that have defied gravity and made the Top 77? 

Yes, all the time. That's part of the reason why the number of songs to vote for was extended to ten, to allow some of these "treasures" to show up. 

It's also part of the reason why I started to publish the entire list of all songs that got votes, so followers could see the unusual and in some cases outright bizarre songs that people vote for. It's what helps establish the Top 77 as the most accurate survey of its kind.


 Has the Top 77 become easier to tabulate through the years? 

It absolutely has become easier due in a large part to the incredible work of Frank Thomas, who is a tremendous help on the technical side. He has helped automate much of the process, which has allowed me to be able to concentrate more on the other prep work that must be done.


When will the voting end? 

The voting is scheduled to end the first or second week in December. It depends on the response and also on the lead time we all need (me, Frank and Allan Sniffen) in order to present the final product, from the actual final survey to the on-the-air preparation on Rewound.


Will there be a broadcast of the Top 77 on Rewound Radio? 

That has become a key part of this process. My original purpose of doing this was to bring back the nostalgia, fun, and excitement of the end-of-the-year revealing of the top hits of the year. 

For many years we did it as an in-print version only, then slowly it became an on-the-air platform, and now it's a big part of Rewound, with people asking about it months in advance. 

So yes, this year once again the week between Christmas and New Year will be dedicated to the 24th annual Top 77 and all the extras everyone voted for. 

It promises to be lots of fun once again! 



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