Lesley (Muir) Aeschliman

I was born on March 21, 1975 in San Diego, California, while my father was serving in the Navy. A year after I was born, our family moved to Japan; during the four years we lived there, I was exposed to the singer/songwriters of the 1970's (such as Carly Simon and Jim Croce, among others). Also during my time in Japan, I enjoyed some of the Japanese pop music of the day (my favorite was Pink Lady).

When I was five, my family moved to Hawaii and lived there for four years. In the early 1980's, I enjoyed listening to a couple of my parents' records (yes, vinyl records) of Olivia Newton-John and The Muppet Movie soundtrack. By the time I was in third grade, my older sister was buying records by Michael Jackson (Thriller) and Billy Joel (An Innocent Man); I enjoyed these records so much, that I ended up scratching the Michael Jackson one.

When I was nine, my father retired from the Navy, and we moved to Cheney, Washington (the town where I would live until I was 22). From fourth through sixth grades, I would hear songs on KZZU (the local pop station) and see videos on MTV; some of my favorite artists during those years were Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Pat Benatar, Phil Collins, and Whitney Houston, among others.

When I was in seventh grade, I discovered music charts. I started to regularly listen to KZZU's nightly request countdown show, and then started listening to Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 on a regular basis. At first, I just casually listened to the countdowns to hear the current popular songs; however, around the end of 1989 (when I was in 9th grade), I began writing down the songs that appeared on various charts (the nightly request countdown, Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, and MTV's Top 20 Video Countdown); this was before the days of the Internet's rise to popularity, so you had to actually listen and/or watch the countdowns, since you couldn't just go online and grab the information from a web site. All during high school (and even during my first year or two of college), I would religiously listen to Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 on Sunday mornings (I would usually spend part of the countdown with a radio plugged in near the dining room to listen to the chart and write down songs while eating breakfast).

During my junior high and high school years (and even during my first couple years of college), I was very much into pop music, and didn't listen to much that wasn't getting some kind of mainstream exposure. For a couple of years during high school, I did a kind of "personal chart" by giving songs a "point" for each chart they appeared on; however, unlike The AeschTunes Top 40, this methodology did not incorporate my own taste into it. My mother once made a comment that she would rather have me addicted to countdown shows than to drugs and/or alcohol (in other words, my parents did not discourage the chart obsession). However, during the summer of 1995, I started becoming so busy with college, that I no longer had the time to listen to the countdowns (and, at that time, the charts were also moving so slowly that I started losing interest in chart following).

During my second year of college, I became friends with Dan Aeschliman, through working at KOOP-AM (a campus current carrier station); we were also both involved to some degree in Eastern Washington University's Radio-Television department (now the department of Electronic Media and Film); I majored in the department, while Dan was a minor. By the end of the school year, KOOP was shut down, but Dan and I remained friends and kept in touch via e-mail over that summer; and, during that summer, we realized we were in love. When we saw each other again that fall, we began dating, and one of the things we would do was to make tapes for each other. Dan's tapes usually featured alternative and synthpop tracks (especially music by artists where I had only really heard their pop material, such as Depeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Cure). Dan exposed me to a lot of artists I had never really heard before, and he even once made me a tape primarily featuring 60's music.

Shortly before Dan and I got married in 1996, I discovered an on-line archive of the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 that started from the time I had quit listening to what was then the present time; I started visitng that site on a regular basis and caught back up with the charts I had missed during the year or so that I hadn't been paying attention. Discovering this site reignited my interest in chart following, and I also started keeping track of the Billboard Hot 100 (but only the Top 50, since the whole Hot 100 is only available to subscribers). Within a couple of years, I found my way to the Radio & Records website, and started following along there on a regular basis.

When Dan and I were first married, I was working at a McDonald's, while Dan was trying to find a job. About four months into our marriage, I discovered I was pregnant, and we made the difficult choice of leaving Cheney and moving to the Seattle area (where Dan had grown up), with the hopes of improving our situation. Those early years of marriage and child-rearing were hard on the budget, but we would try to find ways to keep up with our favorite artists and buy what we could of their material.

After our financial situation had improved, we had a second child. Three months after he was born, I became a member of the Radio & Records Messageboard. Within six months of joining, the PeopleBase Chart was born (where people would submit "playlists," which would be used to compile the chart). I wanted to participate in PeopleBase, so Dan and I put together our first personal chart. At first, the personal chart was being done solely to submit to PeopleBase; however, pretty quickly, we were having so much fun putting the chart together that we started to view it as "our chart." In October of 2001, we posted the first version of the "Dan & Lesley's Personal Chart" website; the look of the chart archive was changed in late 2002/early 2003. By the time we updated the look of the chart archive, we had definitely viewed this as "our chart," and not just simply as a "PeopleBase playlist."

The Radio & Records Messageboard shut down in September of 2003, but we have decided to continue compiling our chart, as well as to change the name of the chart and to expand what the website offered. We also decided to launch an online radio station featuring music from our chart, with the hope that we could help expose people to the music we chart. I hope you enjoy the chart, the station, and the website... and I'm confident that The AeschTunes Top 40 will continue going for years to come.

Lesley & Daniel at Lesley's ten-year high school reunion

Daniel Aeschliman

I was born in September of 1974, in Seattle. Our family lived in Renton, WA until I was about three and a half years old. I don't really remember much about those first few years, though. My memories of that time aren't as much of events in my life, but more like impressions of my surroundings. I don't even really remember the house we lived in, but have very vague memories of other places in the neighborhood.

My memories become more concrete as the '70's wound to an end. Musically, I remember loving classical music. My dad played violin before I was born (he picked it up again when I was in elementary school) and had a love of classical music. I enjoyed quite a bit of it. I particularly remember standing in front of the record player as one of his Beethoven records was playing, and waving my arms around like I was conducting an orchestra.

Most of my early music history focuses around children's recordings - I remember having a number of records of assorted stories and children's music (though some unusual tracks would pop up on some of those records, like "From The Halls Of Montezuma"). Most of those records are long gone now, though.

The first radio station that I really remember listening to was KNBQ, 97.3FM. The station is long gone, but as I recall it was billed as a "soft rock" station. In today's terminology, it would probably be considered "Adult Contemporary," but it seems like it was somewhere between that and a "Hot AC" station. One song in particular that stands out to me from that time is "The Boy From New York City" (I do not recall the artist name, but it originally came out in the '60s) and my mistaken belief that it was a current song!

I had a little interest in Christian music around 1984 or so - discovering (through my older brother) Petra, Amy Grant, and Stryper. I would hear the popular secular music on the bus to and from school, but didn't really latch on to much of anything. (I owned three albums - and only one of these (Bon Jovi) had I actually bought for myself) As the '80s progressed, my brother became more interested in the heavy metal scene, while I migrated towards the oldies station. The first album I ever bought on a tape was The Beatles self-titled (or "White") album. The Beatles still remain one of my chief musical loves, nearly twenty years later. I was probably the only kid in my junior high that would go to the '50s themed dances and enjoy the music more than anything else that was happening.

It wasn't until I got into high school that I started discovering current music. The main song that did it for me was The Escape Club's "Wild Wild West" - something about it caught my attention, and I started listening to pop just so I could hear that song. Over time, other songs caught my attention, and I found myself enjoying the current music scene.

Late in my sophomore year of high school, along came a song that changed my musical tastes forever - Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence." Through that song, and the assistance of a Depeche Mode fan that I was friends with, I came to develop a deep love and respect for their material, and eventually to open up to other acts in the "Alternative" music scene of the time. I learned about Erasure, The Cure, Information Society, and others.

In the summer before my senior year, KNDD 107.7FM (aka "The End") went on the air and became one of my favorite stations. Through them I discovered Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Nine Inch Nails, Toad The Wet Sprocket, The Alarm (who had already broken up by this point), and Nirvana. My musical world changed dramatically from hearing this variety of music. Enya could be played in the same set as the Pet Shop Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and all was good.

When I went off to college, however, I lost access to the kind of radio I enjoyed the most. The format promoted by The End was not available in Eugene, OR (where I went my first year of college) or in Spokane, WA (where I finished my college career). While I still was able to keep up with my favorite bands (especially after gaining Internet access in the Spring of 1994), I didn't really get to hear them much on the radio. Through friends whose tastes were more unusual than mine, I was introduced to the music of Black Happy, The Mighty Mighty BossTones, and White Trash, not to mention KMFDM, Sweaty Nipples, and many more.

Lesley and I met through our work on a closed-circuit college radio station (KOOP AM). My first quarter on the station (Spring 1994) I did a three hour long synthpop and techno show, playing material like Depeche Mode, Erasure, Information Society, Moby, New Order, and much much more. That fall, I partnered up with a good friend of mine, and we played a variety of alternative music, including many previously mentioned bands and Smashing Pumpkins, Armageddon Dildos, Machines Of Loving Grace, and the Violent Femmes, not to mention a lot more. The next two quarters, I continued that format by myself, as my radio partner had taken on a job which prevented him from assisting in the show.

During the final quarter I was on the air, Lesley would sit in on my show with me (I'm not sure if she liked the show or if she simply liked me! ;)) and we became good friends. Over the summer, we wrote many a long-winded email back and forth. We began dating that fall, and making tapes for each other to listen to. She used those tapes to re-open my ears to the world of pop music, which I had pretty much turned my back on during the previous years of college. I discovered and/or rediscovered acts such as Debbie Gibson, Howard Jones, and Madonna.

A little over a year after we started dating, we were married, though our situation was less than ideal - what with me being unemployed and her working in fast food. When we discovered she was pregnant, we struggled even harder. I was still unable to acquire employment in the Spokane area, so we moved back to Seattle, where I eventually found work at an insurance company.

I also discovered KNHC 89.5FM at this time, while they were heavily playing Aqua's "Barbie Girl" (they were one of the first US stations to play this song). As I continued listening to C89, I grew to appreciate the dance scene more and more, enjoying acts such as M:G, Olive, Rockell, and Stardust. Also, as a wedding present, a friend gave me some CDs, including material by The Echoing Green - who continue to be a favorite of mine today.

When this chart first started, I wasn't too sure how it would work - if it would last, or anything like that. I knew it was something Lesley really wanted to do, and I was willing to help out. I did not imagine that it would still be going more than two years later, or that we would change our perception of it from being a "vote" in the PeopleBase chart to a chart all of it's own. I'm proud of the work we've done with it, though, and I think it's a fairly accurate representation of our tastes and opinions of music in general.

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