It happens every October

WXPN is a public radio station centered out of the University of Pennsylvania, broadcasting at a range of 88.5 on the FM dial locally; they also have additional broadcast centers in the areas of Harrisburg, the Lehigh Valley, and Baltimore. They have a presence on at least three iPhone/iPod apps (two of which are dedicated to playing one of their streams) and, of course, you can stream the station live from their website.

Unlike many public radio stations, they can adequately be described as Adult Album Alternative in format, rather than news or talk.

Every summer since 2004, they have solicited their listeners for submissions into a countdown that would ultimately become, in October, the 885 Greatest (something). With the exception of the list in 2006, the submissions went like this:

Vote for ten of whatever they were looking for. What you gave the “number 1” spot, would get ten points in the data. Number 2 would get 9 points and so on. Then they’d sort the data from all of the votes and play back the top 885 starting with whatever had the lowest raw score, culminating in a final playback of the “number 1” item.

In 2006, they asked for 20 votes. The top ten things you voted for would get the same treatment as in other years. The other ten each got 1 point each.

So let’s talk about what the topics were, and what I voted for in each year…

Year Topic What I voted For How many of my items made the list?
2004 Greatest Songs
  1. “Fallen Icons,” by Delerium
  2. “Idol,” by Amanda Ghost
  3. “Wicked Little Town,” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  4. “Chimes of Freedom,” by Bob Dylan
  5. “Sniper,” by Harry Chapin
  6. “My Mistake,” by Marvin Gaye
  7. “Swan Swan H,” by R.E.M.
  8. “I Don’t Like Mondays,” by the Boomtown Rats
  9. “Caught a Lite Sneeze,” by Tori Amos
  10. “Hard to Handle,” by Otis Redding
None of them
2005 Greatest Albums
  1. Emmet Swimming — Wake
  2. Poe — Haunted
  3. Harry Chapin — Danceband on the Titanic
  4. Phil Ochs — In Concert
  5. Delerium — Poem
  6. Beth Orton — Trailer Park
  7. Tori Amos — Under the Pink
  8. Nine Inch Nails — The Downward Spiral
  9. John Lennon — Plastic Ono Band
  10. R.E.M. — Lifes rich pageanT
2006 Greatest Artists
  1. Harry Chapin
  2. Tori Amos
  3. Delerium
  4. Phil Ochs
  5. Nine Inch Nails
  6. Portishead
  7. Idina Menzel
  8. Emmet Swimming
  9. Jen Chapin
  10. R.E.M.
  11. Marvin Gaye
  12. Def Leppard
  13. Alice in Chains
  14. The Who
  15. John Lennon
  16. Lennon Murphy
  17. Sarah McLachlan
  18. Hungry Lucy
  19. Hole
  20. “Weird Al” Yankovic
2007 Most Memorable Musical Moments I didn’t vote N/A
2008 Essential XPN songs I didn’t vote N/A
2009 Desert Island Songs
  1. “The Blue Tree,” by Silverman
  2. “There Only Was One Choice,” by Harry Chapin
  3. “Don’t Follow,” by Alice in Chains
  4. “Wolves,” by Josh Ritter
  5. “Bus Mall,” by the Decemberists
  6. “Yes, Anastasia,” by Tori Amos
  7. “Swan Swan H,” by R.E.M.
  8. “Crucifixion,” by Phil Ochs
  9. “Crushing,” by Tapping the Vein
  10. “I Am the Walrus,” by the Beatles
2010 Road Trip Songs
  1. “Daylight,” by Delerium
  2. “Out Here at Sea”, by Karen Kosowski (this includes the untitled hidden track after this song on the album
  3. “Glory Girl,” by Amanda Ghost
  4. “Danceband on the Titanic,” by Harry Chapin
  5. “Gimme Shelter,” by the Rolling Stones
  6. “River,” by Jen Chapin
  7. “Yes, Anastasia,” by Tori Amos
  8. “Float Away,” by Marah
  9. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!” by Sufjan Stevens
  10. “Idiot Wind,” by Bob Dylan

5 responses to “It happens every October

  1. From the greatest albums countdown, the following ones that I voted for made the list:

    Poe — Haunted
    Tori Amos — Under the Pink
    Nine Inch Nails — The Downward Spiral
    John Lennon — Plastic Ono Band
    R.E.M. — Lifes rich pageanT

    The artists I voted for that made the final list were:

    Harry Chapin
    Tori Amos
    Phil Ochs
    Nine Inch nails
    Marvin Gaye
    Def Leppard
    Alice in Chains
    The Who
    John Lennon
    Sarah McLachlan
    “Weird Al” Yankovic

    The only desert island song that I voted for to make the final list was “I Am the Walrus”. This year, the only road trip song I voted for to make the final list was “Gimme Shelter”.

  2. Pingback: Greatest Rock Songs | Ramblings and Rumblings

  3. Pingback: Greatest Rock Songs Revisited | Ramblings and Rumblings

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