Song I.D.’s

You may be asking yourself how the songs in 198x received their identification number. Allow me to enlighten you on the 198x Song I.D. system. Please note that this system is my own and, to the best of my knowledge, not used in any other identification system. The Billboard Magazine editorial staff, the late Casey Kasem, Fred Bronson, Joel Whitburn, Gary Trust, and other music chart analysis gurus have not used this system (again, not that I know of). If you ever talk to one of them and mention this Song I.D. process you will more than likely have a confused face looking back at you.

If you were to look at the Billboard Magazine HOT 100 chart for the very first week that the decade this Billboard_Logo_640_large_verge_medium_landscapeblog honors (the ’80s!), you would see songs 1 through 100. The song at number one (“Please Don’t Go” by KC and The Sunshine Band) was assigned 1980-1 because the year was 1980, and the song was #1. The song at #2 that week (“Escape”) was assigned the identification number 1980-2. This process continues through the song that was at #100 that week. Song 1980-100 is “Message in a Bottle” by the Police. From here it gets tricky.

From this point forward the Song I.D.s have no relation to a given chart position. Instead they just receive the next number in the sequence. So, the following week (the second week of the ’80s) saw several new songs, or “debuts”. The highest debut of that week was “Too Late” by Journey. Since we were still in 1980 (after all, we still had 51 more weeks to go!) the song was assigned the number 1980-101. The next highest debut was assigned 1980-102. The debut song after that, 1980-103, and so on, until we reach the last debut song of 1980.

This system gets a bit more tricky the first week of 1981. The song at #1 that week was not assigned the I.D. 1981-1. This is because that song, John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over”, had already been assigned the I.D. 1980-479 weeks prior when it debuted in the HOT 100 on November 1, 1980.

The song that was assigned the I.D. 1981-1 is… yep, you guess it, the highest debuting song that first week of 1981, which happens to be “Playing with Lightning” by the group Shot in the Dark. The second highest debuting song was assigned 1981-2, and so on…

If it helps, think of these I.D.’s as a song’s birthday on the HOT 100 chart in the ’80s. The first four digits represents the year it first appeared on the chart and the next numbers are the order in which they first appeared in that year.

As a side note, this I.D. system did not begin when I started writing this blog. It began a few years after I started collecting all the songs for my personal library on my iTunes playlist. So there you have it: a song identification system for this 198x blog. I would very curious to know if anyone else has ever used this system of identification or if anyone has seen this system being used elsewhere. Feel free to contact me and let me know.