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Subject Topic: Hot 100 1970s Recurrent Rule? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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jebsib
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Posted: 05 December 2022 at 8:06pm | IP Logged Quote jebsib

Hey all,



Going through all of Joel Whitburn's weekly Hot 100 scans, I am noticing that
the early 1970s must have had some sort of recurrent policy where songs
routinely dropped completely off the chart - seemingly unnaturally - when they
were still fairly high (from the 20s, teens, etc)...





Does anyone know if this was a policy at the time / what it was / and what
dates it covered?



I was under the impression that the Recurrent rule started in 1991, but there
MUST have been something similar back in the 70s...
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AutumnAarilyn
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Posted: 06 December 2022 at 3:01am | IP Logged Quote AutumnAarilyn

Stations would under-report recurrents.
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Paul Haney
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Posted: 06 December 2022 at 4:30am | IP Logged Quote Paul Haney

I've often wondered about that issue myself. It seems like for most of the 1960s and the first few years of the 1970s,
that songs would fall completely off the Hot 100 once they dropped below the Top 40. However, I can always find some
exceptions. I've never seen any "official" documentation about this. Of course, back then Billboard rarely addressed
how they compiled the charts and we just may never know every detail that went into the process.
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Hykker
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Posted: 06 December 2022 at 6:01am | IP Logged Quote Hykker

AutumnAarilyn wrote:
Stations would under-report recurrents.
Paul Haney wrote:
I've often wondered about that
issue myself. It seems like for most of the 1960s and the first few years of the 1970s,
that songs would fall completely off the Hot 100 once they dropped below the Top 40. However, I can always find some
exceptions. I've never seen any "official" documentation about this.


As someone who was working in radio in the late 60s/70s (albeit part time, and before 1974 at stations in unrated
markets), I don't recall there even being such a thing as a recurrent prior to 1973 or so. Chart turnover was fairly
fast, and once a song started its descent it was only a couple weeks before it dropped off, and didn't return except as an
oldie (which was generally considered something a year or more old).

I'm sure policy on this varied from station to station, in general songs just disappeared for a while after dropping out
of the top 30.
Even in the 90s when I was music director for an R&R reporting CHR, we did not report spins of recurrents to the trades.
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torcan
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Posted: 06 December 2022 at 2:59pm | IP Logged Quote torcan

This has always confused me too. Quite frequently during
this period, songs could still be near the top 20 and
drop all the way off the following week. It wasn't
realistic to think the difference between No. 20 and No.
100 was so close all the time that records dropping more
than 80 spots and out was the norm.

On another site, it was theorized that as soon as a song
peaked, once it dropped for three consecutive weeks
Billboard automatically took it off the following week.
If you look closely you'll see that this was usually the
case.

The purpose of the Hot 100 always seemed to be to
showcase the new-rising songs, rather than songs that had
already been successful. It was in June 1973 that chart
methodology changed and songs were allowed to stay on and
keep dropping until they naturally fell off.
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AndrewChouffi
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Posted: 07 December 2022 at 6:03am | IP Logged Quote AndrewChouffi

Hi People,

Although I'm confident everyone is right about Billboard
having different (possibly unwritten) recurrent rules
through the ages, please don't forget the role promotion
departments had affecting the charts.

Let's say a record was being worked up the charts that
the label thought could become a top-five record, but it
seems to be underperforming when its charting in the
twenties. The promotion department gets word that some
stations are pulling it (or maybe some records in stores
are just sitting on the shelves...) so the promo
department wants to stop pressuring PDs who are still
playing it to increase rotation because they would be
'beating the dead horse' with many stations concurrently
dropping the record.

The promo person tells the station the equivalent of
"focus your attention now on this other, newer record".
Because of this, the original record plummets on the
charts, not because it's a certified stiff, but because
the label doesn't want to spend anymore resourses & money
on it so nobody reports it to the charts anymore (even if
it's still working well & being played in some markets).

Anybody who has any similar (or different) stories please
chime in!

Andy
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AutumnAarilyn
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Posted: 07 December 2022 at 8:10pm | IP Logged Quote AutumnAarilyn

I've read where a label's promo dept. (RCA?) preferred
that radio stop playing a song after it peaked on the
country chart. I assume it was on this site that someone
told the story.

Frank Lucas (not the notorious drug lord) apparently had
one of the longest charting singles in the mid 70's on
the R&B chart with "Good thing man". It was on the
private ICA label and a song I've never heard of. There
have been many tales told about indie distributors and
labels running out of product when a song is hot. That
may have played a factor if it had regional prolonged
airplay. It's in the vein of a southern song but it's
also a stepper so maybe Chicago finding out
about this song late in the game may have left it on the
charts for a long time.

The laws of diminishing margin utility is what drives
down a song's popularity regarding purchases since all or
most who want it already have it. Furthermore if the
labels run out of product when the song is heading down
the parabola, they probably won't press more. That's
actually why things go out of print. Other's get the cut-
out because labels want to get that inventory off the
books in that tax year. Growth and contraction is never
straight line.

Edited by AutumnAarilyn on 07 December 2022 at 8:13pm
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