In an exclusive interview with Boston-based Barry Scott upon the show's 25th anniversary on commercial radio, Chart Beat celebrates what makes the "The Lost 45s" such a great find for listeners.
Why do you think most radio formats generally stick to a consensus collection of well-known hits, avoiding thousands of other hit songs from past decades? Obviously, research shows that audiences prefer hit songs, but why is a show like "The Lost 45s" such a rarity?
This show is the antithesis of research. Radio is not rocket science. It's supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be exciting. Amid the so many repetitious songs, why not have a huge 'oh wow' category?
At the very least, the show offers stations that say they play the greatest hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s the chance to actually play all the hits ... which includes "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," "Torn Between Two Lovers," "Physical" and "Mickey." These are songs that listeners grew up with and pretending they don't exist is an insult to their intelligence.
Listeners can tell when stations are being untruthful. Hearing PD after PD tell me to "stick to the hits" while Van Morrison's "Moondance" - a No. 92 Hot 100 hit in 1977 - is in regular rotation makes me squirm.
I'm thankful for the very few programmers who have "gotten" this show over the years, most notably CBS' Greg Strassell and Brian Thomas, but they are few and far between.
A big part of "The Lost 45s" library is fun, sugary bubblegum pop. Is that your preference, radio's dismissal of such a sound or both?
I'd say a bit of both. This show celebrates pure power-pop, from Tony Orlando and Dawn to Culture Club. Inevitably, the child in every adult listener gets a kick out of hearing the songs they bought back then and that tends to lean toward bubblegum.
On "The Lost 45s," teen idols share the air with R&B superstars like Aretha Franklin; adult contemporary acts like Barry Manilow and the Carpenters; and, country crossover artists such as John Denver and Ronnie Milsap. That's simply the way AM top 40 radio was.
Look at any Hot 100 from a given week in the '60s, '70s or '80s and add up the number of songs in the top 40 that now receive airplay. The number is tiny. That's sad.
I once told Elton John about the show and, as an avid record collector, his eyes lit up. He asked if I played any of his "stiffs" and I happily replied "yes." We discussed the merits of "Ego," "Nobody Wins" and "I Feel Like a Bullet (in the Gun of Robert Ford)."
So many genres have a place on the show. I think if I wasn't hosting, writing and creating it each week, I'd be a listener, as well.
What are some of your favorite "lost 45s"?
All of them!
More specifically, anything by the Osmond Brothers. Their "Down By the Lazy River," "Crazy Horses" and "Hold Her Tight" rock just like Zeppelin.
I love pure pop and soulful R&B; Joe Simon's "Drowning in the Sea of Love"; Eric Carmen's "Sunrise"; Falco, Tracey Ullman, M's "Pop Muzik"; ABBA; Captain and Tennille; Kraftwerk; and, seldom-played disco hits.