|British Singles Charts - The Entire 60s - Week by Week||Sixties Pop Music Chart Info, Statistics and Trivia||EP Extended Play Chart Artists and Discography A-Z|
|Sixties 45rpm Singles Chart Artists and Discography A-Z||British Pop Music Papers and Magazines||LP Long Play Chart Artists and Discography A-Z|
The British Music Charts - A History and Time Line
|What a confusing place the British
music charts of the Fifties and Sixties were - the jury is still out on
the definitive artist and group 'chart performances' of the decade and may
never return with a final verdict as there were so many listings or compilation
charts published. The various charts and statistics presented by Sixties
City use several of the major charts of the time as their basis, and the
particular chart source used is stated in each section. For this reason
there is no real 'right' or 'wrong' so don't rely on any 'facts' or statistics
too heavily as definitive answers for 'free beer bets' down the pub....
The New Musical Express chart is now generally accepted and used as the 'definitive' reference source for British music chart statistics from Friday 14th November 1952 until the Record Retailer chart appeared on 10th March 1960 as a Top 50. From 15th February 1969 the BMRB Top 50 singles chart and its successors have been considered to be the 'official' UK music chart listing.
Having said that, here is a general run-down on the creation and evolution of the various (major) British music charts up to the end of the Sixties, by which time it had pretty well assumed the form we see today that is acknowledged as the definitive chart for vinyl record (and other media) sales figures. Prior to 78rpm and vinyl record sales being recorded, and continuing for many years afterwards, the success of popular songs was measured by the sales of sheet music that was purchased by both professional and amateur musicians. Charts of various sorts had been appearing in American publications from as early as 1894 in the 'Phonogram' trade paper. The first radio show to present a 'chart' programme was the American 'Your Lucky Strike Hit Parade', which commenced on 20th April 1935.
Melody Maker published a chart in 1935 based on 'most popular songs', both sheet music and 78rpm sales, as advised by a number of outlets but not, apparently, backed up with any particular sales statistics. This was more of a 'one-off' than a regular feature and charts only appeared sporadically over the next few years. The concept of compiling a regular combined 'music chart' based on sales is credited to 'Billboard' who published their first such 'chart' on 20th July 1940. The data used was obtained from report forms completed by both stores and radio stations and the record had to be commercially available as a 'single' to be included. Songs were often omitted from such reports when record labels stopped promoting them, usually resulting in a quick fall down the
| In 1946 the UK Music
Publishers' Association began issuing their own music charts based on sheet
music sales and, from Autumn 1948, the UK was able to listen to the first
'Top Twenty countdown' show broadcast by Radio Luxembourg on Sunday evenings
that shaped the pattern for all the chart shows that were to follow. The
first 45 rpm singles were introduced in America in 1949 and the UK in 1954,
but it wasn't until 1957 that the format became commonly used in the UK
and sales did not exceed those of 78rpm records until 1959. Record 'sales'
initially recorded sales of 78 rpm records, then a mixture of the two (plus
'LP' and 33 1/3 'EP' recordings) until 78s and EPs were phased out. The
first 'disc-based' chart shows began being aired when programme administrator
Derek Johnson passed the NME's chart to DJs at Luxembourg who broadcast
a chart rundown each night. The NME chart was used by Luxembourg from January
1960 to 1967. Percy Dickins had originally worked in the advertising department
of Melody Maker, a trade paper for professional musicians founded in 1926
by Lawrence Wright, but the weekly paper took itself too seriously for his
liking and, together with journalist Ray Sonin, he visualised and planned
a more youth and public-oriented pop and show-business publication.
At the time, the Musical Express was being published by Beaverbrook Newspapers as a weekly supplement in the Daily Express. With the help of financial backing from entrepreneur Maurice Kinn, Dickins and Sonin bought the publication and re-launched it as the 'New Musical Express' (better known to most as the NME), a stand-alone title in direct opposition to Melody Maker with Sonin as editor and Dickins responsible for advertising and production. Dickins was looking for a gimmick to boost the publication's sales in the circulation 'war' with Melody Maker and came up with the idea (some sources attribute the original idea to Maurice Kinn) of a music sales 'league table' as a reference to a record's success by imitating the American 'Billboard' music-trade paper that compiled and published a weekly music chart based on the physical sales (and other factors) of vinyl record releases. He canvassed contacts at approximately 20 music sales outlets from a 'pool' of 53, finding out which records were selling best and, on Friday 14th November 1952, the first British pop chart was born, using the sales figures for the week ending 8th November. The listing contained 15 entries spanning 12 positions with the very first 'No 1' position being claimed by Al Martino with his recording of 'Here in My Heart'. The 'record hit parade', as it was known, very quickly became an extremely popular feature and, after only a few weeks, its published statistics were being quoted in record company press releases and adverts. It should be noted that the positions on this, and most early charts, were not based on the total sales from all outlets' returns, but by applying a 'scoring system' for places 1 to 10 for each return and adding these scores together.
It was quite possible for a record to have more actual total sales than another, but to end up lower in the final chart rating. Also interesting is the date, as Melody Maker was celebrating its 1,000th issue and this was very likely to have been a planned release by NME to divert attention away from that event.
| The NME compilation
was arguably the most widely available and recognised chart during the early
Sixties, having the advantage of additional exposure due to its use by Radio
Luxembourg for its Sunday night Top 20 show. It was also the chart used
by ABC TV's 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' LINK,
which was watched by up to 6 million viewers on ITV every week. At their
peak, NME used about 150 phoned returns whereas Melody Maker used around
270 to 280 postal returns from its suppliers, collated by Roy Burchill,
Jeff Stars, Alf Martin and Mike Benson. I say 'arguably because the NME
originally had a curious practice of putting 'B' sides in its charts and
also of splitting some double 'A' sides into two separate entries. For example,
Elvis' 'Rock-a-Hula Baby' / 'Can't Help Falling In Love' was the number
one for a month in other charts but only achieved two separate top ten entries
(at number 2 and number 3) in NME's chart.
NME also continued to allow LPs into their charts even after they started publishing a separate album chart. The Record Retailer chart was unique in that it was the only publication that listed most of the Top 50 positions for the whole decade. It utilised a significantly smaller sample size than some rival charts, mainly canvassing independent record shops that had no funding or affiliation with record companies. As lists of which record shops they used for sampling to compile their charts were generally available, some outlets were subject to 'hyping', but with their chart being less widely used than some others, the Record Retailer outlets did not seem to suffer from this as much. Most chart compilers polled their outlets and acquired sales figures for the previous week on a Monday for publication on the Thursday or Friday.
For some reason, on two occasions in the Sixties, Record Retailer did not publish a Christmas / New Year chart (2nd January 1965 and 31st December 1966) but they did actually compile the charts for those weeks and supplied them (provisional, owing to early printing over the Christmas period) to the Record Mirror who published them for these dates. Because Melody Maker's sample size was so large, they also omitted to publish charts over the Christmas period in 1962 and 63, 1967, 68 and 69 as the figures were deemed to be too unreliable due to the limited number of returns received. Throughout the Sixties, the various different charts vied for public recognition and, being commercial papers, increasing circulation figures, but they all continued to use different source material for their compilations, leading to some historical anomalies. For example, The Beatles' second single 'Please Please Me' was a number one on most charts, but not in Record Retailer. Another anomaly between chart positions on individual weeks was caused by the fact that NME and Disc also used 'advance sales' figures from record companies when compiling their statistics whereas Record Retailer and Melody Maker used only pure 'actual' over the counter sales figures. This had the effect of many more recordings entering the chart in the 'number one' position in NME and Disc than did in the other two.
To add to the confusion, The BBC also used its own chart from 1958 - 'The BBC Top 30' - as the basis for its 'Pick of the Pops' radio show that first aired on 4th October 1955 and was transmitted on the Light programme. This chart was itself a compilation of the charts being published by Record Mirror, Melody Maker, New Musical Express and, later, Disc. The Record Retailer chart figures were not included in their early calculations as its chart was published on a different day to the others, but was included in the average from 31st March 1962 when the Record Mirror ceased compiling their own chart. The BBC chart, being an average of all the others, rarely agreed with any of them and the practice of combining them by totalling points gained in the four charts (1 point for a number 1, 2 for a number 2 etc.) was prone to resulting in there frequently being 'tied' positions. It was not particularly rare to have two 'Number 1s' in any given week and, on one occasion, there were actually three of them. This classic example occurred during the last week of August 1968 when the 'Number 1' records were 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You' by The Bee Gees, 'Do It Again' by The Beach Boys and 'This Guy's In Love With You' by Herb Alpert. This strange occurrence was preserved for posterity by actually being televised on the 29th August 'Top of the Pops' show, hosted by Alan 'Fluff' Freeman.
By 1965 editor Ray Sonin had retired from the NME by and Maurice Kinn sold his own interest in the paper to the International Publishing Corporation (IPC). Percy Dickins, who had by then inaugurated the iconic NME Poll Winners' Concerts, stayed on as one of the few original staff and would continue to personally oversee the compilation of the NME music chart well into the 1960s. 1965 was the year that Woolworths started selling 'chart hits' supplied mainly by EMI and Decca. Prior to this they had only sold 'cover' versions of records, released on their own 'Embassy' label and which were recorded by many unknown artists, usually backed by a group known as 'The Typhoons' and recorded at a studio in New Bond Street. These were often recorded and delivered to shops on the same day as the 'official' record hit the charts. As their main availability was via Woolworths, Embassy records did not really figure in the charts but were excellent productions at a lower price and, therefore, their sales quite possibly affected sales of the 'official' records in some areas. Also, not being restricted by the copyright or licensing issues of the big record companies, they were quite popular with 'pirate' radio stations. The recording company they used was Oriole, which was at the forefront of the introduction of EPs and picture sleeves to the UK market and were also one of the first companies, preceding the likes of Ronco and K-Tel, to produce compilation albums.
wasn't until 1969 that a much more reliable 'official' British chart was
compiled, emerging from an alliance between the BBC and Record Retailer.
A professional polling organisation, the British Market Research Bureau
(BMRB), was commissioned to compile a weekly record chart using sales figures
taken from a pool of 500 record shops, more than twice as many as for any
previous chart. The resulting new 'Official Top 50' was first published
in the week ending 15th February 1969. In passing, it is curious to note
that, considering the popularity of 'record charts' in weekly publications,
there were hardly any other pure 'national pop chart' TV shows produced
outside of Britain, making the BBC's 'Top
Of The Pops' programme almost unique in that respect. The only other
local contenders were the short-lived 'Disc-a-Dawn' televised in Wales,
and ITV's 'The Chart Show'. Also, although interest levels in 'record charts'
were fairly high in America and the UK, they seemed to be comparatively
low in other countries. France relied mainly on a monthly chart in the teen
magazine 'Salut les Copains' (which only included French recordings and
excluded anything that wasn't French). In fact, most of Europe seemed to
embrace the British charts, which probably explains why so many 'foreign'
record sleeves of the time proudly advertised the fact that the record was
a 'Top British hit'. Both Radio Luxembourg and most of the various 'pirate'
radio stations all used one or other of
the 'major' chart versions, but a few used compilations of their own to
great popular effect, most notably Radio Caroline's 'Countdown of Sound'
and Radio London with its 'Fabulous Forty'.
'Big L', as Radio London was known, was financially backed by American Don Pierson and transmitted from the MV Galaxy off the coast of Essex. The 'Fab 40' was calculated from their weekly playlist and was announced each Sunday as a chart based entirely on airplays. This was, to some extent, 'manipulated' by various labels and production companies with a vested interest in getting their own releases played. According to Radio Caroline DJ Tom Lodge, "The two ships were always separate. I created the charts on whichever ship I was on, mostly from Melody Maker. We made some subtle changes, but not much, mostly from information we would receive from sales and also feedback from the audience. But that was extremely minimal. Melody Maker was our main source. What was happening, chart-wise, on the ship I was not on, I have no idea". Interestingly, during the brief life of 'pirate radio' stations, the Record Retailer used to publish a report on the comparative chart positions produced by Radio London, Radio Caroline, Radio City, Radio England, Radio 270 and Radio Scotland. The BBC had little answer to this until the outlawing of 'pirate' radio broadcasting following which, at 7:00 am on Saturday 30th September 1967, it launched Radio 1. Until this time dedicated pop music programmes were very limited although an increasing number of popular records had been played on the Light programme since 1965, presented by disc jockeys such as Pete Murray and the weekly Sunday (BBC) Top Twenty 'Pick of the Pops' programme hosted by Alan 'Fluff' Freeman between 6 and 7pm.
With these new influences on the record-buying public the issue of 'chart rigging' or 'hyping' (the practice of sending out teams of people to buy significant quantities of specific records from sales outlets known to supply chart returns) became the subject of increased concern and, on 15th February 1969, a brand new pop chart appeared which gave very different results from the BBC's previous offerings. The BMRB (British Market Research Bureau) were commissioned, as a result of meetings held between the BBC, the BPI and 'Record Retailer' owners Billboard Publications, to produce a record chart using sales figures from the UK's 6,000+ outlets. Although NME and Melody Maker were invited to join in the discussions they both declined, apparently being content with the accuracy of their own charts. The only drawback to this new chart was that postal returns were used and the sample size was so big that the figures were effectively out of date by the time they were calculated. This did not significantly change until electronic point-of-sale systems were introduced by Gallup in 1983. The new BMRB chart contained only singles, so EPs immediately disappeared from the listings, including entries listed in the previous week's chart. This led to the introduction of the 'maxi-single' that featured one track on the 'A' side and 2 or more tracks on the flip side. EPs were not to figure in the singles charts again until the mid-1970s.
|The BMRB sampling cost approximately
£52,000 and the 300 shops used each week were randomly chosen from a pool
of approximately 6,000, who submitted sales figures up to close of trade
on Saturdays. The sales figures were converted into computer punch cards,
processed on the Monday, and the BBC informed of the Top 50 on Tuesday in
time for it to be used on Johnnie Walker's afternoon Radio 1 show. This
system was known as BARS (British Analysis of Record Sales). The BMRB charts
were also published in Record Retailer (including its various title changes)
and the Record Mirror. Well, that was the plan, anyway. Many of the early
weeks' returns only achieved about 60 of the planned 300 and also registered
'tied' positions until about July 1969 (as many as 5 in one position on
one occasion), something it had been intended to avoid and which should
not really have been possible using pure sales figures. Postal strikes also
severely affected the returns system, particularly in February and March
1971 when they were forced to collect the data by telephone. No LP charts
were produced during this period and the singles sales figures were deemed
to be too unreliable for a national chart. When further strikes occurred
in 1973 highly expensive motorcycle couriers were used to collect the sales
On 4th January 1983 Gallup took over the 'official chart' franchise and introduced computerised POS tills, allowing figures to be collected and processed very quickly and making the compilation of Christmas charts reasonably accurate for the first time. The NME and Melody Maker finally ceased compiling their own charts on 14th May 1988, opting to use the MRIB (Market Research Information Bureau) data. The current (2014) UK singles chart is generally accepted to be the most accurate ever compiled and is produced by The Official Charts Company (previously CIN, Chart Information Network) as a joint venture between the BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association. Data is collected from the 6,500 music retailers that represent about 99% of the total singles market and 95% of all album sales, the largest market research sample currently in use in the UK. Each outlet is equipped with Electronic Point of Sale or barcode readers that record information from each product purchased. At close of business each day the collected data is sent electronically to the Millward Brown market research company where the barcodes are matched on the company's centralised computer with information held about each product, including the title, artist and record company. After a series of security checks, the official weekly chart positions are calculated after close of business on a Saturday and each Sunday at about noon the list of the 'Top 75' is supplied to the BBC which has first broadcasting rights.
Various 'music charts' and listings had been appearing intermittently in America since as early as 1894 in the 'Phonogram' music trade paper
Melody Maker publishes a music chart listing 'most popular sales', based on advised popularity of sheet music and 78rpm sales, as part of the 'Song Sheet' page under the title 'Top Tunes'
Saturday 4th January - The American music trade paper 'Billboard' publishes its first music 'Hit Parade'
Saturday 20th July - Billboard magazine publishes its first regular combined 'music chart' based on record sales and airplays
Saturday 27th July - The UK Music Publishers' Association begin issuing their own 'music charts' for the trade, based on sheet music sales
Autumn - Radio Luxembourg on 1293m long wave begins broadcasting a 'Top Twenty' show on Sunday evenings hosted by Teddy Johnson, using the MPA sheet music charts
Monday 2nd July - English language programmes on Radio Luxembourg move from long wave to 208 metres on medium wave
Friday 14th November - NME publishes a Top 12 'music chart' - the 'Record Hit Parade' (actually 15 entries in 12 positions)
Saturday 24th October - Attempts are made to avoid the practice of records being 'tied' for position, although this tends to fluctuate a bit during the following 12 months
NME publishes the first chart dedicated to British artists Saturday
2nd October - the NME chart is increased to include a Top 20
Saturday 22nd January - the Record Mirror Top 10 chart first appears based on postal returns from 24 record stores that were financed by the newspaper and whose details were also published.
The precise date of their first 'record chart' listing is unclear as the image on this page shows a chart from 1954 that claims to be a 'record' chart but is probably a sheet music chart
Tuesday 4th October - The BBC begins broadcasting its 'Pick of the Pops' programme, initially with random 'chart' songs but soon tightens the format into a formal 'chart show' using a compilation from the charts published by NME, Melody Maker and Record Mirror
Saturday 8th October - The Record Mirror chart is increased to a Top 20
Saturday 31st December - The NME Christmas chart is 25 positions long for one week only
Saturday 7th April - Melody Maker publishes charts containing a Top 20 single record chart as well as a sheet music sales chart. It is also the first chart to include Northern Ireland in its 19-store sample. They were the only chart to do this until Gallup included the NI market in 1984
Saturday 14th April - The NME chart is increased to a Top 30 (eventually enlarged to a Top 50 on 14th May 1983)
April - The British Forces Broadcasting Network starts compiling a Top 20 for use on their radio Top 20 show. This is the first time a 'chart' of UK record only sales is used in radio broadcasting
Saturday 28th July - The Record Mirror is now sampling returns from over 60 outlets and publishes the first UK LP album chart containing 5 positions:
1. Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swingin' Lovers
2. Original Cast - Carousel Soundtrack
3. Mel Torme - At The Crescendo
4. Louis Armstrong - At The Crescendo
5. Original Cast - Oklahoma Soundtrack
November - NME produces its first LP album chart
September - BBC's 'Pick of the Pops', presented by Alan Dell, changes its format to a 'chart' type show using 'Top Tens' from various music papers
Saturday 28th September - EMI begin compiling their own chart (until 1978) using an average of the Melody Maker, NME and Record Mirror charts plus sales figures from around 50 retail outlets, with double 'A' side songs listed as separate entries
January - Record Mail first published
Saturday 1st February - 'Disc' (variously known as 'Disc' and 'Disc Weekly' and 'Disc and Music Echo' throughout the 60s) introduces a 'Top 30' singles chart based on a 25-outlet returns pool
Saturday 29th March - The BBC starts broadcasting its weekly 'Pick Of The Pops' radio show at 11pm, introduced by David Jacobs, using its own 'compilation' chart - the 'BBC Top 20'
Saturday 8th November - Melody Maker introduces a Top 10 LP album chart
Tuesday 19th May - Melody Maker introduces a 'Juke Box Top 20' based on plays from about 200 machines around the UK
Saturday 27th June to Saturday 8th August - A newspaper industry strike severely affects Record Mirror, Melody Maker and Disc, who are forced to issue their record charts on a specially printed sheet, allowing EMI and the BBC to continue compiling their charts
Tuesday 25th August 1959 - Record Retailer is founded by the Gramophone Record Retailers Association as a monthly trade newspaper for labels and dealers. Roy Parker was managing editor
Saturday 21st November - Melody Maker publishes the first ever EP chart
Radio Luxembourg begin to use the NME chart for its Sunday Top 20 show (until 1966)
Thursday 10th March 1960 - Record Retailer changes to a weekly edition (although still not commercially available to the general public) and starts publishing a Top 50 singles chart, also listing an EP chart Top 10. This was obtained from a 30 outlet sampling taken from a pool of 50 and was compiled by Jeremy Wilder, using a 'count back' system to resolve 'tied' positions
Thursday 17th March - Record Retailer increases its EP listing to Top 15
Thursday 24th March - Record Retailer increases its EP listing to Top 20 and lists an LP album chart Top 20
Saturday 2nd April - The NME Singles and Album Chart are increased to 50 positions long
Saturday 30th July - Melody Maker increases its sampling pool from 60 to 110 (NME are using 80 and Disc about 50) and starts receiving its data by postal returns. It also stops printing information about which stores it is using
Saturday 23rd September - Alan 'Fluff' Freeman takes over from long-time presenter David Jacobs on 'Pick of the Pops' in 'Trad Tavern' having fronted the 'new release' show in 1956/7. They were to share the presentation periodically with Don Moss and, later Pete Murray, over the next few years
Sunday 7th January - The BBC's 'Pick of the Pops' moves to a 4pm early evening Sunday slot, hosted by Alan Freeman
Saturday 24th March - The Record Mirror stops compiling its own charts, partly due to prohibitive postal costs in obtaining returns, and publishes Record Retailer's Top 50 chart instead
April - NME celebrates its 10th anniversary. Its sales exceed 200,000 copies weekly which is more than all the other sales of weekly 'pop' newspapers combined
Saturday 14th April - Melody Maker increases its chart from Top 20 to Top 30
Friday 1st June - NME starts publishing a separate LP chart but continues to include LP sales in its singles chart statistics, a practice that it continues until the late Sixties
Saturday 1st September - 'Pop Weekly', formerly 'Top 10 Monthly', is published weekly with a Top 30 chart compiled using a mixture of NME, Melody Maker, Disc and Record Retailer charts, plus returns from about 30 outlets and advance sales figures from record companies
Saturday 15th September - Melody Maker increases its chart from Top 30 to Top 50
Saturday 6th October - Disc increases its chart from a Top 20 to Top 30
Mersey Beat begins compiling a bi-weekly Top 20 chart based on returns from around 10 local stores
Saturday 25th May - Melody Maker publishes its last EP chart
August - ITV's 'chart' show 'Ready Steady Go!' begins on Friday evenings
Record Retailer increases its sample pool from 30 to 85 by using EMI and Decca's distribution lists. Melody Maker and NME are using around 150 and Disc is polling 100 outlets Radio Caroline begins broadcasting, using the Melody Maker Top 50 chart on a Saturday lunchtime show presented by Tom Lodge
The NME chart is suspected of 'hyping' charts when a member of their staff is found to be involved in manipulations resulting in Bob Dylan recordings enter their chart at much higher ratings than others
Thursday 21st January - The first part of a unique chart occurrence happens when the first of two chart entries titled 'Everybody Knows' by The Dave Clark Five entered the chart (the other one first charting on 1st November 1967). Both records were by the same artists and had the same title but were completely different songs
May - Music Echo and Mersey Beat publish the first Top 50 LP chart
Saturday 6th November - Pop Weekly reduces its chart to a Top 10
Saturday 27th November - Pop Weekly publishes its last 'sales' chart, continuing to feature a 'readers popularity' Top 20 until its last issue on 12th February 1966
Radio Caroline start using their own 'Countdown of Sound' Top 40 chart Radio Luxembourg start to use a slightly modified NME chart on Saturdays, hosted by Barry Alldis April - Record Retailer increases its album chart to a Top 30
Saturday 23rd April - The publication Mersey Beat (which also ran its own chart) is incorporated into Disc which becomes the Disc and Music Echo, increasing its singles chart to include the Top 50 although Mersey Beat had previously published a Top 100. The renamed paper also starts publishing a Top 10 album chart, removing LP sales figures from its singles chart
Friday 2nd December - Record Retailer increases its album chart to a Top 40
Friday 23rd December - 'Ready Steady Go! finishes
Radio Luxembourg change their chart to a more airplay-related one in a show hosted by Paul Burnett
Thursday 26th January - 'Release Me' by Engelbert Humperdinck entered the charts, becoming the record with the longest number of continuous weeks in the UK Top 50 chart with a presence lasting 56 continuous weeks
Saturday 1st April - Although a Top 50 is compiled, Melody Maker and 'Disc' (both owned by Spotlight publications) only publish their Top 30 in a bid to prevent the increasing practice of 'chart-rigging' at known sales outlets. This makes it more difficult to see which of the lower entries should be concentrated on and meant a far bigger outlay by 'fixers' to push particular records into the visible Top 30
Thursday 25th May - Top Pops publishes its first chart, a Top 30 based on sales returns from about 12 W.H. Smith outlets
Thursday 22nd June - Top Pops becomes a weekly publication with weekly charts
July - Record Retailer changes its publication date from Thursdays to Wednesdays causing some confusion with its chart statistic returns from outlets
were quite a number of national popular music publications available during
the 1960's, not all of which produced weekly music charts and of which even
fewer were perceived as carrying 'major' music chart reviews.
The NME charts were generally acknowledged as being the most accurate reflection of record sales, while Melody Maker was the magazine of choice for most musicians if for no other reason than it contained many advertisements for job opportunities within the music industry.
Melody Maker was also the place to find out what group was playing at what venue in any given week. Disc and Record Mirror were also widely read 'public' music papers and there was also the 'trade' paper Record Retailer and the monthly EMI trade publication Record Mail. Many of these appeared under different names at different times as ownership changed or mergers took place.
The American 'music trade' magazine 'Billboard' published its first 'record sales' chart on 20th July 1940. It originally had separate charts for different measurements of popularity that included disc jockey airplays, juke box selection and record sales in retail stores. It also published a composite chart compiled by combining all these statistics to provide a Top 100, the forerunner of its current Hot 100 chart.
The separate juke box play chart ceased after June 17th 1957 and the separate disc jockey airplay chart after July 28th 1958. The 'Hot 100' title for the composite chart was used after the July 28th 1958 issue and the separate retail sales chart was not published after Monday October 13th 1958.
The two other main US music papers were Record World and Cash Box.
Some of the better-known British publications were:
New Musical Express
Accordion Times* - 4th October 1946 to 30th January 1948
Continued as Musical Express - 6th February 1948 to 22nd February 1952
7th March 1952 - Bought out and re-launched as New Musical Express
1st January 1960 to 26th February 1960 - Fridays - Top 30 listing
In terms of circulation during its peak years,1964 to 1966, NME was selling around 300,000 copies a week, more than all the other music papers combined
*'Accordion Times and Modern Musician' apparently resurfaced as a different publication
Disc and Music Echo
Disc - 1st February 1958 to 28th November 1964
In 1959 it was Disc's editor Gerald Marks who introduced the practice of presenting a silver disc for sales of 250,000 units and a gold disc to records that sold over one million units
Continued as Disc Weekly - 5th December 1964 to 16th April 1966 when it was incorporated with Music Echo
Continued as Disc and Music Echo - 23rd April 1966 to 30th August 1975 when it was incorporated with the Record Mirror
Founded and first issued in January 1926 by Lawrence Wright, it was originally a monthly publication aimed at jazz fans and musicians, becoming a weekly within a year and 'the world's oldest music weekly'. In 1999 it was relaunched as a glossy magazine, continuing until 20th December 2000 when it was incorporated into its sister paper, and long-time rival, the New Musical Express
Pop Shop and Teen Beat
February 1962 - First issue of Pop Ten Monthly
1st September 1962 - Re-launched as Pop Weekly
Continued to12th February 1966 when it was incorporated with the now-defunct Pop Shop and Teen Beat monthly
The Record and Show Mirror
The New Record Mirror
17th June 1954 to 15th August 1959
29th August 1959 - Continued as The Record and Show Mirror
18th March 1961 - Continued as The New Record Mirror 16th November 1963 - Continued as Record Mirror - to 6th April 1991 when it was discontinued
A long-term UK weekly pop/rock music newspaper, published from 10th October 1970 – 6th April 1991. It was produced by Spotlight Publications (part of Morgan Grampian), which was set up by Jack Hutton and Peter Wilkinson, who left Melody Maker to start their own company
HP was a monthly magazine dating from the Fifties and therefore did not publish a weekly best selling record chart.
It specialised in publishing in-depth interviews and features about the leading acts of the day
Jazz News and Review
November 1956 to 24th October 1963
7th November 1963 - Continued as Jazz News and Review until December 1963 when it was discontinued
A monthly EMI 'house' publicity paper featuring their own recording artists and releases, aimed at trade outlets and first published in January 1958
Record Retailer and Music Industry News
Record and Tape Retailer
Music and Video Week
25th August 1959 - Record Retailer is founded by the Gramophone Record Retailers Association as a monthly trade newspaper for labels and dealers. Roy Parker was managing director and editor.
10th March 1960 - Renamed 'Record Retailer and Music Industry News'
10th March 1960 to 29th June 1967 - published Thursdays - Top 50 listing
5th July 1967 to 30th July 1969 - published Wednesdays - Top 50 listing
5th October 1967 - Reverts to its original title 'Record Retailer'
9th August 1969 to 26th December 1970 - published Saturdays - Top 50 listing
9th January 1971 - Renamed 'Record and Tape Retailer'
18th March 1972 - Re-launched as 'Music Week'
17th January 1981 - Renamed 'Music and Video Week'
3rd September 1983 - Name changes back to Music Week
Since April 1991 - Music Week has incorporated the Record Mirror
Beat (The Mersey Beat Story by
Music Echo and Mersey Beat
Mersey Beat, an important and iconic music newspaper of the Sixties, was founded by Bill Harry as an approximately bi-weekly regional publication on Merseyside, its first edition appearing on Thursday 6th July 1961 and selling out all 5,000 copies printed. In 1963 it began compiling a Top 20 chart based on around 10 local stores and became weekly on Thursday 23rd April 1964.
Following an investment in September 1964 by Brian Epstein, it expanded its chart and sample size to become the first publication to announce a Top 100 on Thursday 3rd December 1964. Its popularity was such that it eventually became a national publication and on Saturday 6th March 1965 the paper was rebranded Music Echo and Mersey Beat by Bill Harry, later becoming simply the Music Echo, and was eventually incorporated into Disc becoming the Disc and Music Echo on 23rd April 1966
Fabulous pop paper / magazine was launched by Fleetway on 18th January 1964 and was one of the top selling music magazines of the 60s and 70s. Its name was changed to Fabulous 208 on 4th June 1966 when it became the 'official' paper of Radio Luxembourg and then became just Fab 208 in the 1970s. Its large 13½ x 10½ pages consisted of full colour shots of pop artists and groups, taken by top photographers, which could be used as wall posters. Predominantly concentrating on 'Merseymania' at the outset, it contained at least one pin-up of The Beatles in every issue for two years and some issues, such as 15th February 1964, were almost totally devoted to the group. Fabulous also had 'guest' editors such as Dave Dee & Co and The Kinks. Its last issue was published on 27th September 1980
Top Pops and Music Now
This short-lived publication, set up by author Colin Bostock-Smith, was initially founded as a three-weekly newspaper, with colour content, in May 1967 and it began compiling a chart based on a telephone sample of 12 W.H. Smith & Son stores in May 1968. The paper and its music charts, with a circulation of about 78,000, became fortnightly in November 1967 and weekly in June 1968.
It was re-branded 'Top Pops and Music Now' on Saturday 20th September 1969, becoming simply 'Music Now' on 21st March 1970 until its demise in May 1971
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