Twenty years ago today, Billboard launched the Pop Songs radio airplay chart. Boyz II Men’s smooth ballad “End of the Road” (ironically enough, given its title) led the inaugural list. 251 more songs have since topped the tally.
We’ve come a long, long way since 1894, when a yearly subscription to Billboard cost 99 cents. We used to cover advertising, then the “amusement business” (carnivals and circuses), then motion pictures, and finally, with the advent of the jukebox, the music industry. It wasn’t until 1940 that we launched our first chart, the 10-position “National List of Best Selling Retail Records.” Think we found our niche.