Memorial Day Weekend was a big deal back in the 97X days… it was Modern Rock 500 time!
I can still hear Bakerman’s great liners in my head… and of course the Indy 500 race car sounds… It was a big deal for listeners too – here’s Howard Cohen talking about the MR500 in his college days:
Robin James’ article in Belt Magazine is well worth a read… or re-read.
The Modern Rock 500 was an evolving canon defined not by critics, but by listeners and fans. As longtime employee and former Music Director Matt Shiv explains, every year, staff “looked at how long songs were on the People’s Choice Countdown (weekly request Top 10) and the year-end Best Of countdowns” to determine which new tracks should be added to the MR 500. According to Shiv, “it was never trying to be anything other than representing the songs that built WOXY and were favorites of our listeners.” Listener demand, not expert taste, was in the driver’s seat.Robin James, in the Belt article linked above
Robin (a recent guest on the Rumblings from the Big Bush podcast) is also slated to give a talk about the Modern Rock 500 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next May. A draft of her presentation is here.
My dad didn’t like music, and I didn’t have older siblings, so the Modern Rock 500 was the curriculum I used to educate myself about cool music and its history.Robin James, in the Belt Magazine article
If you’ve got some time to kill this weekend (hello lockdown), perhaps you’d like to “return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear” as the announcer used to say on the old The Lone Ranger TV show.
Pick a year, any year… other than 2004
Kudos to John Spurlock for creating Spotify AND Google Music playlists for each year of the Modern Rock 500, from 1989 through 2009. (The terrestrial station signed off in early May
And James Brubaker crunched the numbers from Craig Froehle’s lists of MR500s through the years, and came up with an overall Modern Rock 500 Top 500.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend, and Happy Listening!
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