If only this magazine had speakers, reader, we’d welcome you with the warm tones of a disc jockey. Think back to those old AM radio days. Remember Murray the K introducing the hits of the day — those infectious grooves that had us all rushing to the record shop to slide our dimes across the counter in exchange for vinyl 45s? Dick Clark and Cousin Brucie brought us into the platter, the LP, which we spun at 33 and a third. Casey Kasem kept it rolling into Top 40 with his sunny sonorous voice, and Wolfman Jack brought in the edgier listeners, who twiddled their knobs in the dark to tune in to his whiskey gravel.

There were a million imitators through the decades heralding the 8-track, the cassette, the music video, the cd and the mp3. The next Carson Daly is an 11-year-old podcaster from Dubuque. However, right now, we are the deejay, taking you on a walk down memory lane for the year that was 2008. Topping our chart this year is Digitas, a scrappy independent who signed with a major label. The Nirvana of digital agencies, with Publicis Groupe standing in for DGC. Maurice Lévy makes quite the David Geffen, no?

When this grungy independent married its hardscrabble values with the sheen and power of the holding company, it went platinum. All it needed was its very own Butch Vig, the producer who took the real Nirvana mainstream. Enter David Droga, ready to polish Digitas’s indie force and craft its “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Or maybe it was VivaKi. At any rate, the story’s the same: Plaid-clad loners make it big. Maybe it’s not exactly the same. Maybe OMD isn’t Fall Out Boy (but Ignition Factory is, which would make Jonathan Haber what, Pete Wentz?)

So, music fans, read on for the whole list of our chart toppers — and the stories that brought them to the top.

The Editors

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