America’s Top Ten (1980-1992)
In the late-80s when ITV extended their hours during the night and eventually went 24 hours, they suddenly had a lot of time to fill, even though there would never be that big an audience. I written about some of these shows over the years, but I when I’ve watched old TV continuity clips from during night-time online, I have been surprised at how much one show featured.
Although I never watched it at the time, it seems that it was shown rather regularly in a lot of the ITV regions, to the point where it gained something of a cult status, I so decided to go on YouTube and find out what it was all about. America’s Top Ten was a syndicated show that launched in the early-80s that was all about the pop music scene. It came direct from Hollywood and was hosted by Casey Kasem (who is best known in this country for voicing Shaggy in Scooby-Doo), who also hosted a radio equivalent for several years.
The singles chart in America is compiled by Billboard, but there are so many other charts it can sometimes be rather complicated. So occasionally others were featured on the show, including albums, and various genres. By the mid-80s British acts were doing very well Stateside, so a lot of familiar names were featured going up the chart, along with some US acts long before they became famous in the UK, and some who never made it here at all.
Casey’s presentation style caused a stir in this country for a few reasons. Firstly, he liked to wear some horrible jumpers, and I’ve seen at least one or two through the night in-vision continuity announcers in the clips that I’ve watched comment on his choice of knitwear. Also, by the time the show came to ITV in 1987 he was well into his fifties, but that didn’t stop him from knowing all the hot new bands on the scene. The set design also featured a director’s chair with Casey’s name on it, and a good old big neon sign.
Other features on the show included music videos, interviews, trivia questions being asked, and some of Casey’s favourite songs that didn’t make the Top Ten. There would also be special editions (which Casey would get his bow-tie out for) looking back at the biggest-selling singles and acts of the year, or decade. Casey also made one of those infomercials where a lot of songs featured on the show were released on CD (not available in the shops of course). And he would conclude every edition with the wise advice that I’m sure a lot of people followed: “until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars”. What a guy.