"This One Is A Gasser"

I recently resumed the Music Class I teach for teenagers at the Lighthouse International. One of the items we will discuss and listen to this week is Billboard's Top Ten Songs of the last fifty years (August 1958 through July 2008). This extraordinary chart (the online version is complete with embedded videos) is the result of compiled sales and radio play data and serves as a condensed survey of American taste over half a century. From The Beatles to LeAnn Rimes, this list does not represent what is good but rather what is popular. Staggeringly popular. But beware: the most-represented decade in the top ten is the nineties with four entries, and they're probably all songs you'd prefer to forget. But like it or not, these songs have delighted (or assailed) more ears than you can likely fathom. The number one most popular song of the last fifty years is Chubby Checker's 'The Twist;' below is a video of that vampire Dick Clark introducing Chubby during the dawn of the sixties. The novelty dance that accompanies a hit pop song is still in vogue; only these days instead of doing The Twist, we lean back or brush our shoulders off.

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