American Top 40 Countdown! Casey Kasem’s First Show July 4, 1970

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The American Top 40 Countdown was the must-listen-to radio show of the 1970s and ’80s, thanks to Casey Kasem and his legendary mix of factoids (where Three Dog Night got their name), fascinations (gold hubcaps for Mark Lindsay), oldies (flashback to the Rolling Stones) and those painfully personal long-distance dedications (those came later). Listening to Casey was as much of a family Sunday tradition as going to church. As Casey would say, the countdown featured the best-selling and most-played songs “from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico.” And for the next three hours, fans would hunker down and wait to find out what would be ranked the No. 1 hit of the week. In July of 1975, Casey rebroadcasted his inaugural Top 40 show and it can be heard here (although abbreviated some).

Casey Kasem hosted the original American Top 40 weekly radio program from its inauguration on July 4, 1970, until August 6, 1988.

Here, we look back at his inaugural lineup, which debuted on July 4, 1970.

40. The End of Our Road (Marvin Gaye)

39. Silver Bird (Mark Lindsay)

38. Spill the Wine (Eric Burdon and War)

37. Go Back (Crabby Appleton)

36. I Just Can’t Help Believing (B.J. Thomas)

35. Spirit in the Dark (Aretha Franklin)

34. Mississippi (John Phillips)

33. Westbound #9 (Flaming Ember)

32. It’s All in the Game (Four Tops)

31. Save the Country (The 5th Dimension)

30. Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)

29. Everything Is Beautiful (Ray Stevens)

28. Check Out Your Mind (The Impressions)

27. Question (The Moody Blues)

26. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder)

25. Sugar, Sugar (Wilson Pickett)

24. Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

23. Which Way You Goin’ Billy? (The Poppy Family)

22. Love on a Two-Way Street (Moments)

21. Mississippi Queen (Mountain)

20. Make It With You (Bread)

19. Are You Ready? (Pacific Gas & Electric)

18. Love Land (Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band)

17. Tighter, Tighter (Alive & Kicking)

16. My Baby Loves Lovin’ (White Plains)

15. A Song of Joy (Himno A La Alegria) (Miquel Rios)

14. United We Stand (The Brotherhood of Man)

13. Get Ready (Rare Earth)

12. O-o-h Child (The Five Stairsteps)

11. Gimme Dat Ding (The Pipkins)

10. Hitchin’ a Ride (Vanity Fair)

9. The Wonder of You (Elvis Presley)

8. The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles)

7. (They Long to Be) Close to You (The Carpenters)

6. Lay Down (Candle in the Wind) (Melanie)

5. Band of Gold (Freda Payne)

4. Ride Captain Ride (Blues Image)

3. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) (The Temptations)

2. The Love You Save (Jackson Five)

1. Mama Told Me (Not to Come) (Three Dog Night)


It still runs in syndication on some radio stations across the nation so you might be able to catch it sometime.