Like most teenagers, I was drawn to music, like a pig to… mud. Growing up in Toronto, that meant listening to 1050 CHUM and I can still recall the jingle. The radio station was synonymous with top 40 when top 40 described a variety of music that would span from Frank Sinatra to Deep Purple and everything in between. Now that was a musical education.
To keep track of all our favourite music, it became a ritual to race down to our neighbourhood music store to grab a copy of our very own CHUM Chart, which published for 1,512 consecutive weeks, from 1957 straight through to 1986. From it’s debut until 1975, the chart was printed in a brochure format and became instant collectors items. I still have a few hundred of my own, well worn, little nostalgic gems. In 1975 the individual collectors brochures were discontinued and the chart was instead published in the Entertainment Section of the Toronto Star, until 1986.
The CHUM Chart was the longest-running Top 40 chart in the world produced by an individual radio station, beginning it’s run with its first #1 single by Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up”, and bowing out with it’s final #1 by Madonna’s “Live to Tell”.
My interest in popular music has waned with changing styles, but I’ve been fortunate to be reacquainted at different times by other music lovers. My youngest brother turned me on to much of the “New Wave” bands, both domestic and imports of the 1980’s, and now my children have picked up the baton.
From the time they began listening to music, of all types, I’ve quizzed them on the composers, artists and titles of what they were listening to and regaled them with trivial anecdotes. I guess you could say I was there very own personal CHUM Charts. I like to think that I’ve had a meaningful impact on their wide ranging musical tastes and now I’m reaping the harvest. Last year I attended a Cold Play www.coldplay.com/ concert with my son, where we were also blessed with Elbow www.elbow.co.uk/, an opening act from Scotland, to rival the star attraction. And the beat goes on, when a few days ago, my youngest daughter introduced me to Temper Trap www.thetempertrap.com/, a wonderful band from Melbourne, Australia.
Long live the Imperative to Create art.