Remember the (original) Casey Kasem era of American Top 40? I definitely remember the radio countdown being a major part of my life during the 80s. It seemed like the countdown went on forever (nearly four hours, actually), making it hard for me to wait to hear the number one tune. Since Metal was so big during the 80s, a lot of our favorites were on Top 40 from time to time. It was always fun to hear bands like Poison go up against the likes of Billy Joel. (In case you're wondering, I listened via Q102 in Cincinnati).
The countdown was often drawn-out with the addition of special features like the "Long distance request and dedication." Kasem would read a fan-submitted letter on the air which was always some sort of sob story about a couple being separated by a thousand miles, broke, sick and desperate. To "heal" the pain, Kasem would play some 80s sap ballad for the people designated in the letter.
There were special Top 40 programs from time to time. According to the all-knowing power that is Wikipedia, there was a special show during the weekend of July 4-5, 1986 entitled Giants of Rock. I don't specifically remember this show - I was only 7 - but it's highly likely I did hear it. I would love to hear it again, but I know that's a long shot. There was also another show called Triathlon of Rock 'n Roll which originally aired during the weekend of July 4-5, 1988. (Clearly, Glam goes well with the Independence Day holiday in America!) Sirius/XM is now rebroadcasting Top 40, but I don't know if that also includes special shows.
I've always carried fond memories of Top 40 since my childhood. Maybe it's because I remember everyone I know being so into the show. My husband says he listened each week on his way home from church. Remember: this was before the Internet and I didn't know a soul with a subscription to Billboard. My friends and my mom (my mom really liked the countdown) would always have to pay attention to learn the number 1 song "in the land." Sometimes I miss the days of actually having to wait for information - and then being excited when I finally learned the news.
Check out Casey Kasem talking about the evolution of the compact disc! (This is from a broadcast in 1983)