Dean-Martin.jpg
The "sweep" starts with Dean Martin's "Memories Are Made of This."
Just when you wondering when you'd be able to listen to five seconds of

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Today Reverb Recommends You Listen to Five Seconds of Every #1 Song Between 1956 and 1991

Dean-Martin.jpg
The "sweep" starts with Dean Martin's "Memories Are Made of This."
Just when you wondering when you'd be able to listen to five seconds of every #1 song from 1956 until 1992, "Chartsweep" comes along. The concept originally comes from Hugo Keesing. As a professor at the University of Maryland, he taught a class entitled "Popular Music in American Society" beginning in the mid-70s. For every class, Keesing would add songs to the "sweep," until he stopped teaching the course in 1991.

After the jump you can read the rest of Keesing's story and hear "Chartsweep" in its entirety.

Keesing explained the rest of his story to the blog Some Assembly Required:

The concept and term "Chartsweep" both originated in the late 60s with a syndicated radio show called "The History of Rock 'n' Roll." I listened to it on WOR-FM in New York and recorded portions of it on an old Wollensack reel-to-reel tape recorder. As you know, the 'sweep presented segments of every Billboard #1 single starting with "Memories Are Made of This" (Jan 1956). I don't recall where it stopped, but it was around 1968/69. Six years later I began teaching an American Studies course at the University of Maryland called "Popular Music in American Society." To provide a setting for each class I dusted off the concept, took it back to January 1950, added a number of songs based on Joel Whitburn's re-definition of #1 songs, and continued where the original had stopped. I added each new #1 until fall, 1991 when I stopped teaching the course. "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" was the 900th. At the start of each class I played a portion of the 'sweep that corresponded to the years we were covering that night. To accompany the tape I made 35mm slides of either the original sheet music, 45 rpm record sleeve or something similar, so that students could see as well as hear the pop music history. Copies of each night's tape went to the undergraduate library. I assume that an enterprising student or two made their own copies and it is a copy of a copy of a copy that remains in circulation. That's the story in a nutshell.

And without further ado, below is every chart-topper from 1956 to 1992, starting with Dean Martin's "Memories Are Made of This" and ending with Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." For a more contemporary listen, this version of "Chartsweep" starts at 1993 and goes all the way to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," the current number one song on the Billboard Hot 100. (It's also the 1,000th #1 in the chart's history.)

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