The Modern Rock 500 represented the most requested songs for that year, interwoven with foundational classics from the catalog, as determined by the station staff. It was a proper soundtrack for the long Memorial Day weekend, and was a truly memorable event each year, starting in 1989.
For more context, check out the excellent article Remembering WOXY and the Modern Rock 500 published yesterday in Belt Magazine.
This Memorial Day weekend, the station might be defunct, but the music lives on! I've recently put together public Spotify & Google Music playlists for each year of the countdown, from 1989 to 2009. Here they are:
Each playlist has a bit fewer than the full 500 songs - not all songs are available for streaming on Spotify, but the majority are. Listed from #1 to 500, i.e. highest-ranked songs first - exactly opposite from how they aired on the station. Huge props goes to Craig Froehle for keeping an archive of the raw song listings.
I've also combined all lists into one massive single ranked playlist with every song appearing on at least one of the countdowns (over 1300 songs). It's a great list to shuffle and play for days, or at least this long weekend. 😎🏎🏁