Pushing the Rock

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(Pictured: until I can again be one of the people in this picture, I’ll have to spend my time writing.)

Tomorrow is this website’s 16th anniversary. Here’s the customary rundown of some of my favorite posts since the last anniversary.

I wrote more about American Top 40 than in any previous year, I think. This post featuring an especially wack Long Distance Dedication was fun to write. So was the one about the Christmas songs Casey played. Find all of my posts about the show here. Find the companion feature about the bottom 60 records on the same week’s Billboard chart here.

The Re-Listening Project continued, in which I write about albums we’ve all heard a million times. Subjects included Tusk, The Stranger, A Night at the Opera, and The Long Run. Find all of those posts here.

With the coming of the plague in March, I started writing Life on Lockdown, which has become an intermittent series now (mostly because I write stuff and then have second thoughts about posting it), but I expect it to reappear eventually. I’m especially proud of what I wrote about the message of the BLM/police brutality protests.

The series Inside Billboard (which is sometimes Inside Radio and Records) is one of my favorite things to write. Find the past year’s trades here.

Shortly before last year’s anniversary, I launched a podcast, which is on indefinite hiatus now. If you’d like to revisit the series, you can find it here.

What follows are some favorite posts appearing here since last July that aren’t covered by any of the categories above:

—“The big days come with memories that can keep us going through the years. But most days are ordinary. We spend them pushing whatever rock we’re pushing up whatever hill we’re fated to push it up. And at days’ end, we reach the top, the rock rolls down, and we’ll push it again tomorrow.”

—“When ‘Maude’s Dilemma’ aired in November 1972, about two months before the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide, a couple of CBS affiliates refused to carry it, but apart from that, it caused no widespread controversy. After Roe v. Wade, however, the outrage machine cranked up.”

—“I knew that I was going to be on the radio someday—knew it. Also, there were opportunities and adventures ahead—involving school and sports, and later, girls, and part-time jobs to put money in my pocket, and graduation, and college. And then to conquer the world.”

—“That the theme from the 70s’ most iconic movie would go to #1 in a disco version is just about the most 1970s thing there is.”

—“They look at what the place is doing, and they say, ‘This can’t be working,’ which often translates to, ‘I don’t like this, which means it’s wrong.’ Or they say—and this is closer to what happened at Deadspin—’I’m going to do this thing even if it makes no sense to you, because I’m playing a game of nine-dimensional chess you can’t understand.'”

—“I’m just a dumb-ass part-time disc jockey. I’m not saying anything I wouldn’t say to my bosses when I tell you I don’t like what happened. They don’t either. And I’m sad for my friends. But I’m also concerned about what it means for my own role as a dumb-ass part-time disc jockey.”

—“I thought it would be fun to go through all of the 1969 year-end music surveys at ARSA to see what I could see, but I got partway through and started thinking, no, this is too much even for a geek with time on his hands. So here’s a couple dozen of them, not necessarily the most interesting ones, but a mix of stations big and small, in no particular order, and in two parts.” (Here and here.)

—“Every time a popular artist releases a Christmas album, he or she is following in the footsteps of Bing Crosby and Merry Christmas, which was the first.”

—“A lot of radio stations don’t have news departments anymore, so it’s up to jocks to be the journalists. And who are the grizzled old veterans to serve as role models for them? I guess it’s gonna have to be me.”

I am grateful to all who read here, and especially to the commenters who make this place far smarter than it would be otherwise. I plan to continue doing this until I can’t anymore. Times being what they are, we don’t know when that end-date might come. But we hope it’s not for a while yet.

7 thoughts on “Pushing the Rock

  1. Congratulations on 16 years, one of the longest reigns of any privately run music blogs!!!! I still read it regularly.

    I clicked on your BLM message post above and one of the most striking things about Colin Kapernick’s colluded banishment by the NFL (and nobody can tell me it wasn’t collusion) is that the worst you can accuse him of is having strong opinions & being controversial. He is not immoral nor a lawbreaker. Typical NFL, he was denied a roster spot anywhere but those players who actually abuse others and commit crimes are welcomed back with open arms as long as he can still play.

  2. Wesley

    Your blog has been one of the relatively few things I’ve read on the internet to provoke my thoughts and keep me entertained during a year which feels like it’s already been a decade long. Thanks for everything you’re doing and giving us this compilation.

    Incidentally, I have a feeling the Deadspin story will merit a followup in CEO Jim Spanfeller hopefully being dismissed or G/O Media being bankrupted. The fact that this jerk got upset by the progressive slant of the articles on the website while at the same time apparently not interfering with The Onion, which G/O Media also owns, indicates either that he is ignorant of what his company is putting out or satire is really dead. Maybe both.

  3. mikehagerty

    Congrats from a late-comer, JB. I think I’ve only been around here two or three years (but since March, I’ve lost all sense of time).

  4. Shark

    Congratulations on 16 very entertaining and informative years. Everything you’ve written in “The Hits Just Keep On Coming, ” and what you used to write in “One Day in Your Life,” and “Best of the Blogs” has been fascinating and worth-while reading. I hope you’ll be writing more for years to come.

  5. Congrats! I’ve been reading for most of those sixteen years, and yours is still the best blog I read regularly. (And the fact that you and your Missus are present in the real-life versions of me and the Texas Gal is a bonus with a value beyond calculating.)

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