Here’s an example of the clout of pop tunes chart historian Joel Whitburn.
When he achieved Elton John, Whitburn explained to a Billboard podcast interviewer in 2016, he tried to give the famed singer one particular of his guides.
“Oh, I got all your stuff, Joel,” Sir Elton replied.
Whitburn, who grew up in Menomonee Falls, turned his passion for audio and fascination with the Billboard charts into a research and publishing behemoth that served new music sector specialists and enthusiasts alike with publications of organized details and trivia. If you required to know how quite a few hits Elton John or Beyoncé or Bon Iver experienced, Whitburn was your guy.
He “passed away peacefully right away” on June 14, following really serious new well being troubles, his pal and employee Paul Haney documented. Whitburn was 82.
As a youth, Whitburn began studying Billboard, the songs and leisure field trade magazine. In individual, he was fascinated with Billboard’s weekly charts of the most well-liked documents.
“I was at the best age, 14 or 15, when rock and roll broke,” he explained to interviewer Larry LeBlanc in a 2009 job interview, describing his youthful enthusiasm for new music. “I was in a position to go down at the time a week and purchase a file. I experienced to make that terrible conclusion of what history do I obtain this week, and what records do I depart out until following 7 days.”
A long time prior to the world wide web, spreadsheets and individual desktops, Whitburn saved track of each week’s top recordings. When Billboard released its Scorching 100 chart in 1958, he began, in people days prior to own pcs, logging in-depth facts about each individual mentioned song on 3-by-5-inch index playing cards.
Doing the job in history distribution for RCA in the 1960s, Whitburn impressed radio staffers with the information and facts he experienced. “They all mentioned it would be a godsend to have that info at their fingertips, for the reason that there was absolutely nothing accessible,” he instructed Billboard in an job interview.
Looking at the option, he give up his RCA position, started Report Exploration in Menomonee Falls, and published his initial reserve “Major Pop Information,” in 1970. That guide progressed into “Best Pop Singles,” the flagship publication of Document Research, Haney mentioned.
He was no a single-hit marvel. Counting successive editions of works such as “Leading Pop Singles,” Whitburn and Record Research are thought to have posted nearly 300 books. Whitburn also tapped his chart know-how to generate some 150 “Billboard Prime Hits” compilation CDs for Rhino Records.
His very careful compilation of chart details made his work go-to references — and stymied charlatans.
“His accurate reporting also made it far more hard for publicists and labels to credibly fudge the chart achievements of their artists, a notoriously frequent exercise in the early ’70s,” Andrew Unterberger wrote in a Billboard obituary post.
Whitburn’s individual new music selection, stored at his house, added up to 200,000 singles, albums and CDs, Haney confirmed. That collection includes every file at any time listed in the Billboard Scorching 100, and each individual report shown in rival and defunct charts.
In a 2014 interview with the Journal Sentinel, he said that he used his collection as a key source of accurate info on matters like label names and B-sides.
At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Whitburn performed basketball for Menomonee Falls Large School as perfectly as Elmhurt College in Illinois. He also attended the College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a time.
Whitburn was inducted into the Menomonee Falls Large Faculty Wonderful Arts Corridor of Fame in 2015. He was also a voting member of the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame.
Whitburn’s daughter Kim Bloxdorf, a vice president at Report Research, will continue running the organization. Haney, an editor and researcher there for 30 several years, and Brent Olynick, who’s worked there for a lot more than 4 decades, will help her, Haney reported.
Whitburn was an effortless boss who trustworthy workers to get the occupation accomplished, Haney said. But he was also passionate about element and a stickler for precision.
“If I did not get a thing accurately accurate, I would hear about it,” Haney added.
Some of Haney’s preferred memories are of sitting down in Whitburn’s workplace for 50 percent an hour or hour, chatting about charts and tunes.
“He was truly like a father determine to me,” he mentioned.
Whitburn’s survivors include his wife of 58 yrs, Frances his daughter Kim his sisters, Joyce Riehl and Julie Rae Niermeyer his brothers, Charles and David two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will start out at 1 p.m. June 24 at Northbrook Church, 4014 WI-167, Richfield, with company at 3 p.m.
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This posting at first appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Joel Whitburn of Menomonee Falls , pop new music chart legend, dies at 82