Brandon Hixson's TOP HITS Series [YouTube]

For nearly ten years now, Brandon Hixson has been sharing his love of music as well as his own music with YouTube viewers via his eponymously titled channel. In 2011, he started up another channel BillboardTopHits1980 and began sharing even more music, including vinyl rips of vintage K-Tel albums and his own countdowns and compilations. I enjoyed some of his videos so much, I've shared them here on The Hideaway. Very recently Brandon changed the name of this second channel to match the name of his first channel so there are indeed two Brandon Hixson channels on YouTube now. He also began sharing what has proven to be a vast number of lovingly curated TOP HITS compilations across several genres and decades.
Brandon says this latest series, like the initial name of his second YouTube channel, was inspired by the first compact discs he ever bought as a 16-year-old music lover:
…the very first CD collection that I purchased in 1992 was the Rhino’s Billboard Collection. I bought every CD from 1975 all the way to 1984. (That was all that was available at the time). When I purchased them, they came in the long box that I used to decorate my room! I turned 40 last Sunday (Oct. 16). All year, I have been feeling very nostalgic! So, I decided to create my own Billboard Series based on the Rhino Series of my early years.
As you can see from the cover art Brandon used on one of those first posts (above), he has "borrowed" Billboard's iconic logo for both the artwork and title for his series though to his credit, he has doubled the number of songs included on each volume while taking great care not to repeat tracks across titles. When the first of the ambitious compilations appeared some six weeks ago, they were titled Billboard Top Pop Hits and Billboard Top Country Hits. I asked Brandon how he chose which songs to include:
The only real criteria that I had for the Billboard Top Pop Series was that the single had to land on the Billboard Top 100 songs of the year Chart. I then handpicked the songs based on my personal favorites. I also tried to pick songs that I thought rounded out the year well. I tried to incorporate those one-hit wonders that we all love. I also included artists that are recognizable with that time period only. I also included the timeless tunes that still sound great today. But due to licensing laws on YouTube, I had to replace many hits with other hits because they were being blocked.
Despite his best efforts after years of experience dealing with the copyright police as a YouTube music poster, several of his compilations were met with almost immediate audio blocking or take-down notices. To his credit, Brandon seems to have removed most of the offending tracks, replaced them with alternate choices and re-posted the compilations for our listening pleasure. As posted in the description of each video in the Top Hits series, he's even offering links to .mp3 copies of his compilations by email request. I asked if he was overwhelmed with requests for the free music:
I am getting a lot of emails. Mostly, they are just fun stories about songs that have impacted this particular person’s life. I love the stories.  But more than anything, I am really enjoying getting back to what I loved doing as a kid – creating my own compilation albums! When I was a teenager, I made my own compilation albums every week. I gave most of them away but it was always so much fun to do. I have a pretty hectic schedule, but I find that doing these kinds of projects really helps me to de-stress.
After the initial burst of Pop Hits and Country Hits titles, Brandon unleashed Adult Contemporary Hits and Rock Hits titles and then followed those up with what he calls Lost Hits (songs that made the Hot 100 but missed the Top 40) and Dance Hits. With the playlist links below, you can choose a genre or year to hear Brandon's labors of love, with new posts still coming daily after six weeks.

by yearby genre
Top Hits 1978Lost Hits 1980-1985
Top Hits 1979Top AC Hits 1978-1986
Top Hits 1980Top Country Hits 1975-2003
Top Hits 1981Top Dance Hits 1978-1986
Top Hits 1982Top Pop Hits 1955-2016
Top Hits 1983Top Rock Hits 1980-1984
Top Hits 1984
When this post was written, there were a few muted playlists still up and acknowledged as such by Brandon himself. Asked about his Lost Hits choices, which have garnered a few negative comments, Brandon said:
I, like most people, love the Top 40 mainstream music that everybody and their dogs know. But, I also love the more obscure songs that most have never heard. One of the good things about the songs in this series is – they are all great songs… and fresh to most of us! I tried to include a few tracks in each album that are more recognizable; you know the songs that didn’t make the Top 40 but no one would ever call a “lost hit” – like Missing Person’s “Words” or Squeeze’s “Tempted”. But most of the songs will be new to most of the listening audience! And I hope they enjoy the songs as much as I do!
At the top of this post, I mentioned Brandon has been posting his original music since 2006. You can listen to his music and watch his videos HERE. He even has four albums on Spotify. Always eager to share, Brandon offered up this brief history of his music career up to this point:
I have been actively involved in writing and recording since 2000. I love to write songs and produce them. I majored in classical sax in college and like to play the sax when I perform. I am very fortunate to have shared the stage with many recognizable artists and have had three songs chart on The Christian Radio and Retail Weekly. I have also composed two songs that have been featuring in films.
His latest album, Pictures Of You released earlier this year, features my favorite song of Brandon's, the inspiring "Take The First Step." Back in 2014, he also shared this unique a cappella version of Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart":
As he states in the video's description, that song is also one of Brandon's earliest and most treasured musical memories. I asked him to elaborate on that in our email interview and he shared this:
Music has always been the soundtrack to my life – even from an early age. My mother bought the 8-track cassette of Ronco’s “Disco Super Hits” in 1979 when my twin sister and I were 2 years old. Those songs, and songs of every generation and genre, filled our home all of the time. The very first memory I have of music really impacting me happened in 1982. I was five years old. Mama was driving down Waco Drive in Waco Texas. “Harden My Heart” by Quarterflash came on the radio. We had never heard it before. I remember my mother having to pull the car over because she was crying. I asked her why and she said that the song really moved her. I learned then that music was a powerful tool. As I grew older, I learned just how powerful a tool it really is! I studied music in college. I have a degree in All-Level Music education and was a High School Band Director for 8 years before being called into full-time music ministry. I am currently working on my master’s degree in music.  My 11 year old son and six year old daughter love music too. We dance and sing around the house almost daily.

No comments:

Post a Comment