Turkey Day Rock Marathon Is On Again

Earlier this evening, it dawned on me it’s Thanksgiving week, which means New York classic rock radio station Q104.3 once again is doing their annual countdown of the Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs Of All Time. The countdown is based on submissions from listeners who each can select 10 songs. All picks are then tabulated to create the big list.

The countdown starts tomorrow morning at 9:00 am EST and stretches all the way to sometime this Sunday evening. That’s how long it takes to play all 1,043 songs. The only interruption of the countdown will happen at noon on Thanksgiving when Q104.3 plays Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, all 18 and a half minutes of it – just wonderful!

While after 20 years in a row (yep, that’s how long they’ve done this!) it’s a forgone conclusion that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven once again will be no. 1 and the top 20 will be largely occupied by the same songs from previous years, listening to the countdown is still fun. Think about it, when can you ever hear 1,043 different songs in a row on the radio. Most stations have a much smaller set of songs in rotation.

Below is a screenshot of my selections for this year. Once again, I decided to come up with 1o previously unpicked songs. This time, I included two tunes from 2021: California Dreamin’ (Dirty Honey) and Side Street Shakedown (The Wild Feathers). Both are probably very long shots to make the list, as are I Don’t Understand (The Chesterfield Kings) and Cinderella (The Fuzztones), but that’s okay

Following are clips of my selections:

Dirty Honey/California Dreamin’Dirty Honey, April 2021

The Wild Feathers/Side Street ShakedownAlvarado, October 2021

The Black Crowes/Twice As HardShake Your Money Maker, February 1990

AC/DC/It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)High Voltage, April 1976

The Beatles/Helter SkelterThe Beatles, November 1968

David Bowie/Suffragette CityThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, June 1972

Queen/Tie Your Mother DownA Day at the Races, December 1976

The Who/The Real MeQuadrophenia, October 1973

The Chesterfield Kings/I Don’t UnderstandThe Mindbending Sounds Of…The Chesterfield Kings, August 2003

The Fuzztones/CinderellaLysergic Emanations, 1985

I’m sure I’ll be listening to Q104.3’s countdown at different times over the next five days. Though this year, there will be stiff competition from Peter Jackson’s Get Back Beatles three-part docu-series!

Sources: Wikipedia; Q104.3 website; YouTube

13 thoughts on “Turkey Day Rock Marathon Is On Again”

      1. Having small rotations does seem to be counter-intuitive. Based on my limited understanding of the radio world, it’s all largely driven by listener audience preferences, which are carefully determined via market research. Essentially, DJs no longer have much if any say about the playlists – it’s kind of sad!

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      2. Countdowns are gimmicks. I’m sure listener suggestions are looked at, but most likely the list has been predetermined for some time. Our consultant used to send us our “Firecracker 500” every 4th of July. They are almost always songs that “test well” with audience focus groups.

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      3. Thanks, great insights – obviously, you know the radio world very well!

        One I thing I can confirm is that the Q104.3 online submission form auto-populates for certain songs as you start entering them, while it doesn’t do that for others. For the latter, it ask that you enter your pick in a certain format, i.e., [song title] – [artist]

        So perhaps that’s an indication of what you said. If you pick falls into a pre-determined song pool, it’s tabulated; if not, it’s ignored.

        Whatever the actual mechanism behind the countdown, I enjoy listening to it, since it includes many songs I love – even though many of them technically aren’t classic rock! Frankly, I also don’t care much about the actual ranking. I just like to enjoy the music!

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  1. I loved countdown shows ever since I was little and I used to listen to American Top 40 every Sunday morning. And I especially loved the New Year’s Eve special where they counted down the top 100 songs of the year. But then I hated it. when they started to announce the list in advance. They would publish it in the newspaper beforehand. What the hell is the point of that? It took all the fun out of it. I like your unusual picks. If it was me I would put Love Reign O’er Me instead of The Real Me cuz that’s one of my top 10 classic rock songs.

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    1. Luckily, Q104.3 doesn’t reveal the list upfront – I agree it’s much less fun if you know upfront. Instead, they start posting the list on their website as they play the songs.

      In previous years, I submitted tunes like Stairway (my all-time favorite rock song), Tush (ZZ Top), Layla (Derek and the Dominoes), Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles) and Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who) – in other words true classics and, as such, more obvious choices. This year, I deliberately wanted to shake things up a bit with picks I suspect are rarely if ever submitted – even though I realize some of these tunes stand no chance of making it into the list!

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      1. Yeah, Stairway to Heaven would probably be the predictable winner. And I think Layla, Sweet Home Alabama, and maybe Won’t Get Fooled Again would finish in the top 10. Other possibilities are Sultans of Swing and Riders on the Storm and More Than A Feeling. Bohemian Rhapsody is pretty likely also. All those usually show up on top classic rock lists. Probably a Beatles song too, but it’s hard to guess which one. Maybe Hey Jude. Rolling Stones too, maybe Satisfaction. Several of these would be in my top 10 or at least top 50 also.

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      2. In this particular countdown it’s a forgone conclusion Stairway will end up in no. 1. That’s been the case each year for the past 20 years!

        You’re also right about The Beatles and Hey Jude. For the past few years it has come in at no. 2. Let It Be has also been popular. I think last year it was in the top 10.

        Bohemian Rhapsody usually is also in the top 5. Layla and Won’t Get Fooled Again have been in the top 10, as has been Hotel California. Not sure about More Than a Feeling. I don’t recall having seen that great tune in the top 10.

        Even though there haven’t been huge shifts among the top 10 over the past 5 years or so since I’ve listened to the countdown, it’s still fun.

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      3. I’m gonna try to listen to it online, or as much of it as I can. It will be fun cuz I haven’t listened to a countdown in years.

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  2. The Chesterfield Kings and Fuzztones…great additions! They fit perfectly with all of these. Great post Christian…this would be a rocking Thanksgiving weekend.

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