David Bowie's New Makeover: Rock 'n' Roll Recluse
David Bowie's New Makeover: Rock 'n' Roll Recluse

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Interesting topic last week about chart fans who've maintained personal song lists over the years.

I was in middle school when I first heard "Casey's Top 40" on my local radio station. By the time I got to high school, I discovered Billboard and began printing charts from online at my local library.

In 1997, I began to compile a weekly top 20 chart of my own favorite songs. The only rule I had (and still have) is that in order to be on my chart, a song must have been released as a single (or B-side) somewhere in the world. I kept these charts in a notebook, which I still have.

Once I graduated high school in 1999, I stopped doing my charts for about two years. By the end of 2001, however, I missed the joy of ranking my favorite songs each week, so I decided to restart the hobby. This time, I published my charts online as the "Oz Top 20." With the advent of Napster and other new avenues of music exposure, I quickly expanded it from 20 to 40 positions.

I posted the "Oz Top 40" online each week from the end of 2001 until the end of 2004. I started teaching in 2004 and my job cut massively into my free time, again halting the chart. (Also, my computer got a virus from a free-music download site, so I began downloading all of my music from iTunes, which drastically limited the number of songs I could chart).

For Christmas 2009, I got a new MacBook Pro laptop. I decided that for the new decade, I was going to yet again revive my personal charts.

The "Oz Top 20" is now published each week on my Facebook page.

Thanks for letting us share our stories!

Nick Oswald

Hi Gary,

Over the years, I've kept track of Billboard charts and tallied a list of what I considered my personal No. 1s. About two years ago, I discovered this passionate chart club at Yahoo! Groups and began creating my own personal top 40 (now a top 50).

I chart music from the U.S., as well as from other countries, and have discovered many songs from other group members' charts.

After reading your article last week, I thought I would share my chart. Here's the current top 10, with the entire top 50 - and more than 40 years' worth of archives - viewable here.

This Week-Last Week, Title, Artist
1-2, "Rolling in the Deep," Adele
2-5, "Money Grabber," Fitz & the Tantrums

3-1, "Born This Way," Lady Gaga
4-8, "Loco," Manian
5-9, "She Freaks," the Shapeshifters
6-4, "Hello Hello," Elton John
7-10, "Alcoholic," Tim Berg
8-11, "Avalon," Swanky Tunes
9-12, "Marry You," Bruno Mars
10-3, "I Feel Better," Hot Chip


Bruce Evans