Thursday, 11 June 2009

Am I Justified in Being Annoyed? Who Began the Hottest 100?

As I've mentioned before, the third 'hottest 100 of all time' is being currently promoted by Triple J. Apparently, this guy wants to take credit for the idea of 'starting the whole phenomenon'.

However this sort of poll existed in Australia far earlier than Triple J would have you believe. Hell, the name of the poll is derived from the earlier versions. I'm not sure if Triple J would want you knowing this, but it seems that this concept was appropriated from the exact same sort of poll that 4ZzZ have undertaken since the late 1970s.

While I cannot argue that Triple J have marked the 'Hottest 100' brand as their own, there is a part of the story missing here or at least obscured.

In 1977, Brisbane station 4ZzZ began a yearly poll of the 'Hot 100' songs, chosen by the listeners of that station. As they explain on their website (you may have to refresh this a few times to get the 'Zed Fact' but it is there).

4ZzZ launched its glorious tradition of counting down listeners' 100 favourite songs on New Year's Day 1977. More than 10 years later, 2JJJ in Sydney (which employed many ex-Zed staff) began conducting its own Hot 100. Because 4ZzZ held the rights to the name Hot 100, there was a little bit of legal biffo when TripleJ became a national broadcaster, so they changed the name of their survey the "Hottest 100".

It seems to me that someone is not telling the whole truth. Can you claim that if you appropriated a concept from somewhere else, rebrand it, make it national and so forth, that you in fact invented it? I suspect not.

I don't intend this as the beginning of some sort of flame war, but I just have this gut feeling that JJJ are attempting to obscure the history of the Hottest 100. There is the chance that I'm way off the mark, I haven't done any serious research into the issue. I ask am I justified in being annoyed by what appears to be a case of revisionism. I suppose as a history graduate, I've become acutely aware of these sorts of common habits, and enjoy questioning such assumptions and occasionally watching them unravel.

I'm also not claiming the 4ZzZ came up with the concept, just that the concept existed prior to the Hottest 100.

Feel free to discuss with me and inform me if my 'facts' are not correct.

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