Television TV

America's Top 10

Who recalls this transatlantic import, in which we were treated to the debatable merits of in the second half of the 1980s? Screened on ITV in the early hours of the morning, it was hosted for most of the time by Korean War veteran and American DJ Casey Kasem, who sported an impressive line in woolly pullovers and, despite being in his mid-50s at the time, had more interest and enthusiasm for the music than many teenagers did!

Compiled from the US 'Billboard Top 100', the programme was the American equivalent of 'Top Of The Pops', except that unlike TOTP, it played through every single song in the US Top 10 rather than choosing a selection every week.

It was also confined exclusively to videos, with no live studio performances. It made interesting viewing comparing the US music scene to our own- at least half of the content was bland commercial soft rock of a kind eschewed in the British Isles, although megastars such as Madonna and Michael Jackson predominated too.

The show introduced the hapless British viewing public to the delights of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, although others who featured (such as Taylor Dane and Jane Wiedlin) went on to be 'one hit wonders' in the UK as a direct result of the programme. Especially interesting were British bands completely unknown to us, who became hugely popular in the United States for a while- Northampton group 'Love and Rockets' were one example, and 'The Escape Club' remained at no.1 for longer in the US than they did over here.

The programme was unashamedly Reaganite in it's attitude, never missing an opportunity to have a dig at Eastern Bloc culture and giving the odious Gloria Estefan plenty of airtime to condemn the Cuban government (at the same time that she herself was up to her neck in the Miami Cuban underworld).

Nevertheless, Kasem himself was a kind-hearted pro-Arab Democrat with a genuine interest in youth culture. 'America's Top 10' finally finished in '92, with Casey's own words ringing in my ears: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!"

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Do You Remember America's Top 10?

Do You Remember America's Top 10?