MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Whitburn, who turned his passion for the Billboard charts into a career cataloging charter music history that allowed gatekeepers to be honest about hit performances, has died. He was 82 years old.
His death Tuesday at his home in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was reported by Record Research, Whitburn’s publishing company. Employee Paul Haney wrote on Facebook that he died “peacefully overnight.”
Whitburn has published hundreds of books, many of which have made it into series such as Top 40 Pop Singles, Top 40 Hits, Top 40 Albums, and Top 40 Country Hits, helping the entire industry with reliable statistics and chart entries. . His books were critical to DJs, publicists and chart lovers.
“Joel Whitburn was a titan in our field,” Chris Molanfi, Slate analyst and host of the Hit Parade podcast, tweeted. “If there is an afterlife, Joel is at the top of the list at the pearly gates – No. 1 with a bullet and a star. TEAR”
When the Billboard Hot 100 broke its bow in 1958, Whitburn made catalog cards that cataloged all the necessary information about the listed songs, tracking their movement on the chart from week to week.
He continued in this vein even after he got a job with RCA distributing records in the mid-60s and then decided to devote his time to his research, founding Record Research and publishing his findings in the company’s first issue of Top Pop Singles in “. 1970”.
Whitburn had a licensing agreement with Billboard to publish his work and paid the magazine a fee. “Billboard couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson to document our chart history than Joel Whitburn,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s senior vice president of charting and data development.
Whitburn was also a collector and owned 150,000 singles, albums and CDs, including every record ever on the Billboard Hot 100. He was survived by his wife, Fran, and their daughter, Kim Blocksdorf.
Mark Kennedy at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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