Where to begin?
Back in 1991, when I was still in highschool, my favourite radio station CFNY 102.1 took on the epic task of counting down the “1002 Best Songs of All Time – As Chosen By YOU!” over the sweltering Labour Day weekend. Having no life at the time, I decided to spend that entire long weekend sitting on the carpet beside my boombox, popping tape after tape into it’s greedy maw, in the hopes of learning new things about classic music. Predictably, I got bored just sitting there waiting for the tapedeck to snap, and so I began custom decorating each and every one of the cassettes as they were filled up with music. In the end, there were almost 30 of them.
In 1991, The Spirit of Radio was beginning to fade from the airwaves in Toronto; I barely caught the tail end of it. CFNY had been the source for alternative music from the late 70s and throughout the 80s, but one short year after this fine countdown, it was forcibly remolded into another top 40 pop vehicle. The change was sudden and traumatic. The Earth rebelled. Really! While my family and I waited out Hurricane Andrew in a Fort Lauderdale shelter in August 1992, my favourite DJ was reading her resignation on the air and bidding farewell to alternative radio in Toronto. I haven’t heard her voice since.
But now, I have learned to make digital files of my mixtapes! So, the project I propose is that I digitize all 29 tapes of the 1002 Best Songs of All Time Countdown, photograph the cassettes and cases, and make up a track listing. It will not be a comprehensive one – I know I missed about 400 of the 1002 songs played (I had to sleep and eat). But from what I understand, it will be the only such tracklisting available.
And I know you’ll like it!