Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia

Slate Podcasts

What makes a song a smash? Talent? Luck? Timing? All that—and more. Chris Molanphy, pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts and shaped your memories forever. read less

Our Editor's Take

Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia tackles a broad variety of musical questions. It's also good at finding unique answers. Music is a polarizing art form; some love certain songs while others hate them. With so much difference in opinion, what leads to one song controlling the airwaves and another fading into obscurity? This podcast takes care to answer interesting musical questions—and more.

Host Chris Molanphy brings his pop-chart analyst skills to the podcast medium in this show. He thoughtfully captures and examines key moments of musical history. And with an entertaining approach, he unwinds and demystifies the secrets of chart-topping songs. He takes listeners on an informational and fun journey through various eras of musical expression.

Molanphy masterfully tells stories. But more than that, he takes the role of musical navigator, guiding listeners through a half-century of popular music charts. Why? To uncover the secrets behind the songs that get stuck in our heads and on the charts. Along the way, listeners will get a peek at the theories behind what makes a song a hit or a flop. They'll also learn some of the secrets behind the success of the world's most popular songs.

Episodes of Hit Parade | Music History and Music Trivia range from 30 minutes to over an hour. Most episodes are two parts, but aren't in a specific order otherwise. New episodes drop every two weeks. Listeners can start with the episodes that they're interested in. Full of fun, compelling musical trivia, stories, and entertainment, this podcast is a must-follow for any music-obsessed podcast listener. It is an engaging listen for music lovers, history buffs, and those fascinated by what makes the music industry tick.

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Decoder Ring: "We Got Ourselves a Convoy"
May 13 2022
Decoder Ring: "We Got Ourselves a Convoy"
In the 1970s, a song about protesting truckers topped the music charts in multiple countries, and kicked off a pop culture craze for CB radios. In early 2022, that same song became an anthem for a new trucker-led protest movement in Canada and the US. How did C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” come to exist, and what had it been trying to say?  For this episode, which was inspired by a listener’s question, we’ve updated a story that originally aired in 2017, but that could not be more relevant today. Slate producer Evan Chung is going to take us through the history of this bizarre number-one smash, an artifact from a time when truckers were also at the center of the culture. It touches on advertising, hamburger buns, and speed limits but also global conflict, sky-rocketing gas prices, and aggrieved, protesting truck drivers.  Some of the voices you’ll hear in this episode include Bill Fries, advertising executive; Chip Davis, singer and songwriter; and Meg Jacobs, historian and author of Panic at the Pump. This episode of Decoder Ring was written and produced by Evan Chung and Willa Paskin with help from Elizabeth Nakano. Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director. If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, email us at DecoderRing@slate.com. If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you get ad-free podcasts, bonus episodes, and total access to all of Slate’s journalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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