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  • #61
    Beatles chart history in Sweden

    Kvallstoppen & Topplistan

    Date Singles HP Wks
    26/03/1963 Please Please Me 16 2
    16/04/1963 Please Please Me (re) 17 1
    21/05/1963 From Me To You 5 10
    30/07/1963 Twist And Shout (EP) 2 12
    24/09/1963 She Loves You 1(6) 23
    26/11/1963 Twist And Shout (EP) (re) 19 1
    10/12/1963 I Saw Her Standing There 13 7
    17/12/1963 I Want To Hold Your Hand 1(4) 14
    31/12/1963 Twist And Shout (EP) 19 2
    18/02/1964 All My Loving 1(4) 14
    17/03/1964 My Bonnie 18 1
    31/03/1964 Can't Buy Me Love 1(6) 15
    23/06/1964 Roll Over Beethoven 11 4
    07/07/1964 Long Tall Sally 1(2) 10
    07/07/1964 Ain't She Sweet 4 12
    04/08/1964 A Hard Day's Night 1(4) 17
    20/10/1964 I Should Have Known Better 1(4) 14
    08/12/1964 I Feel Fine 1(3) 14
    16/02/1965 Rock And Roll Music 1(7) 14
    20/04/1965 Ticket To Ride 1(3) 11
    20/07/1965 I'll Follow The Sun 4 6
    10/08/1965 Help! 1(4) 18
    02/11/1965 Yesterday 1(6) 15
    14/12/1965 Day Tripper 1(5) 12
    28/12/1965 We Can Work It Out 1(5) 10
    11/01/1966 Rubber Soul (LP) 20 1
    08/02/1966 Michelle 1(5) 12
    21/06/1966 Paperback Writer 1(3) 9
    16/08/1966 Revolver (LP) 8 8
    23/08/1966 Yellow Submarine 1(3) 9
    13/12/1966 Bad Boy 7 5
    28/02/1967 Penny Lane 1(6) 10
    28/02/1967 Strawberry Fields Forever 1(6) 8
    13/06/1967 Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (LP) 5 13
    25/07/1967 All You Need Is love 1(4) 11
    05/12/1967 Hello Goodbye 1(5) 11
    19/12/1967 Magical Mystery Tour (2 EP) 3 9
    26/03/1968 Lady Madonna 1(2) 11
    10/09/1968 Hey Jude 1(5) 15
    03/12/1968 The Beatles (white album) (2LP) 2(3) 12
    08/04/1969 Back In The USSR 7 5
    29/04/1969 Get Back 1(4) 8
    17/06/1969 The Ballad Of John And Yoko 2(1) 9
    30/09/1969 Abbey Road 1(1) 10
    25/11/1969 Something 6 8
    06/01/1970 Abbey Road 14 2
    17/03/1970 Let It Be 3 8
    26/05/1970 Let It Be (LP) 6 7
    03/07/1973 Beatles 67-70 (2LP) 8 8
    17/07/1973 Beatles 62-66 (2LP) 20 1
    31/07/1973 Beatles 62-66 (2LP) (re) 19 2
    24/08/1976 Back In The USSR 19 2
    15/12/1995 Free As A Bird 3 9
    15/03/1996 Real Love 2 6

    Albums
    30/09/1969 Abbey Road 1(5) 11
    26/05/1970 Let It Be 2(3) 7
    21/06/1976 Rock'n'Roll Music 18 10
    20/05/1977 The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl 17 10
    01/10/1993 The Beatles 1962-66 22 7
    01/10/1993 The Beatles 1967-70 23 11
    09/12/1994 Live At The BBC 4 7
    01/12/1995 Anthology 1 2 9
    29/03/1996 Anthology 2 2 7
    08/11/1996 Anthology 3 5 8
    23/09/1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack 22 5
    23/11/2000 1 1(8) 26
    21/11/2003 Let It Be…Naked 2 12

    Comment


    • #62
      The 1998 'Q', All Time UK Album List, is just not accurate.

      No UK Album has ever sold 5 Million copies here.

      'True Blue', by Madonna sold nearly 2 Million in Britain, and was a bigger UK Seller than, 'Like A Prayer', but the 1989 Album is far too high in the List - and has too many Sales.

      'Kylie The Album', was widely reported, (1988), to be the first UK Album, by a Female Soloist, to top 2 Million UK sales - it is not even in the 'Q' List. She managed a UK 2 Million Seller before Madonna.

      No sign of, 'Immaculate Collection', by Madonna or, 'The Very Best Of Elton John - both acknowledeged to be on over 2 Million UK Sales before 1998, and the Madonna Album is now on over 3 Million.

      No sign of anything by ABBA. When, 'Gold' had long been their 6th Million Selling UK Album, by 1998. It is close to - if not over - 4 Million, now.

      'Greatest Hits', by ABBA sold 1.25 Million, in the UK, in 1976 alone - then it was the 9th Best Seller of 1977, and 30th of 1978.

      By December 1979, ABBA had the 2nd, 7th, 20th, 55th, and 67th Best Selling Albums of the 1970's, in the UK.

      In 1980, 'Super Trouper', became the 1st UK Album to have 1 Million Advance Orders.

      Alan Jones said, ('Record Mirror', in about 1981 or 1982), that ABBA had sold over 10 Million UK Singles - but more than that - if only a little - in UK Albums.

      You would never know that ABBA ever existed to look at the 'Q' List.

      It is just a lot of accurate Sales, mixed in with a lot of exaggerated ones - with Albums not in the List, that should have been.

      Nor do I believe - in a million years, that, 'A Collection Of Beatles Oldies', is one of the Top 10 Beatles Sellers in the UK, as a Beatles Album List once said. It was neither a Top 5 Album, nor a long time in the Charts - it was only in the top 10 for 2 or 3 Weeks. (I saw one Chart Run for it that had it on 3 Top 10 Weeks, and another on 2 Top 10 Weeks - both had it Peaking at Number 7).

      Comment


      • #63
        Hello,
        It was actually in 1989, that 'Kylie - The Album', was reported to be on 2 Million UK copies. It sold about 1.5 Million in 1988, and the rest in 1989.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by zeus555
          Hello,
          It was actually in 1989, that 'Kylie - The Album', was reported to be on 2 Million UK copies. It sold about 1.5 Million in 1988, and the rest in 1989.
          It re-entered the charts frequently during the late-60s and early-70s, as it was the only available Beatles "Best of" at that time. Its catalogue sales could not have been that shabby considering that. But I agree, it's still hard to fathom it being among the 10 UK Beatles best selling albums.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Herkenrath
            Originally posted by zeus555
            Hello,
            It was actually in 1989, that 'Kylie - The Album', was reported to be on 2 Million UK copies. It sold about 1.5 Million in 1988, and the rest in 1989.
            It re-entered the charts frequently during the late-60s and early-70s, as it was the only available Beatles "Best of" at that time. Its catalogue sales could not have been that shabby considering that. But I agree, it's still hard to fathom it being among the 10 UK Beatles best selling albums.
            What are you talking about???

            Comment


            • #66
              Hello,
              'A Collection Of Beatles Oldies', only spent 34 Weeks in the UK Chart, and with a Peak of Number 7, it cannot have been a huge seller.

              The, 'Please Please Me', Album, was Number 1 for 30 Weeks, in 1963, and it is said to have only sold 500,000 to 600,000, in the UK. I have been told this by Beatles Fans. In the early 1960's, especially, (and for most 1950's Albums), Sales were rather low in the UK, for Albums.

              The Beatles Compilation, cannot have sold anywhere near enough, to be one of their Top 10 Best Sellers, in the UK. Even if it was their only UK Compilation, until 1973.

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by zeus555
                The Beatles Compilation, cannot have sold anywhere near enough, to be one of their Top 10 Best Sellers, in the UK. Even if it was their only UK Compilation, until 1973.
                As I said I agree with that.

                But it must be considered that it had some catalogue sales. Of the 34 weeks it charted, 16 came from the 1970s. Had there been a Top 100 albums chart, I wouldn't have been surprised to see it hang around the lower chart regions for quite a while in those years. EMI didn't delete it before the late 1970s, if I remember correctly.

                Comment


                • #68
                  As Hernenkrath stated "A Collection of Oldies" was no great seller! I think it hit No4 in the DISC LP chart-its best placing! Also as is known LP sales to 1968 in the UK were way behind those of singles! The first LP to do Million UK sales was "South Pacific" which achieved this in 1963 (After SEVEN years in the LP charts!) The only other UK lps to achieve Million sales IN! the 60's were "With The Beatles" (By 1965) and "The Sound of Music" which went over Two Milllion in 1968. "Pepper" only passed its first million UK sales by 1975! So only THREE LPs did a Million in the 60's-and one ("South Pacific") had been selling in the 50's.!!

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    NME and Melody Maker published Sgt Pepper´s has sold more than 1 million copies in 1968.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      The NME and MM were wrong! (Sadly) many 60's sales figures were wrongly reported back then (Else why the current Beatles EMI dispute!?) I have an issue of DISC where the Archies "Sugar Sugar" was given a gold disc for Million UK sales-that turned out to be false later on!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        I don´t know NME and Melody Maker are wrong. In my opinion they are right, but I respect your opinion.
                        I have a Newsweek(from the 70´s), where it was reported about albums that had sold more than 1 million in the 60´s in the UK, and it showed The Sound of Music,With the Beatles, South Pacific, Beatles for Sale and Rubber Soul. It showed Abbey Road like a million album too, but it showed AR like an album from the 70´s.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Billchart. Re your list "Beatles For Sale" is a borderline case! EMI certainly may have pressed a million by the end of 1969-but by sales over the counter, it was around 990.000 by then! rubber Soul definatly not! I think around 750.000 circa 1965-69. Abbey road- nowhere near a million! possibly 500.00 to 600.000 by late 1970. Incidently the Record Retailer chart (Which SO!! many people regard as the `bible` chart for that era) placed it at 12.& 2. in its first two weeks in their LP chart! NME & MM straight No1 entries!

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Oops! I was referring to "Rubber Soul" with the 12 & 2 chart positions! The RR chart was weird!

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by asm
                              The NME and MM were wrong! (Sadly) many 60's sales figures were wrongly reported back then.
                              According to the Beatles official biography Sgt Pepper had sold 751,00 copies by 1st January 1968. Sales of 1 million by 11th October 1968 are quite possible.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Sales of most sixties albums were probably grossly underestimated. The Beatles For Sale album had a then record advance orders in the UK of 750,000, a record not surpassed until ABBA beat it in 1980.
                                Beatles For Sale topped the album charts over Christmas, 1964, always the time for peak sales, and made appearances at number 1 in the album charts during 1965 as well.
                                Hard to believe that Please Please Me had, according to "official" records, only sold about 600,000 up until the end of 1965, considering that it had spent 30 weeks at number 1 on the album charts, it had two hit singles on it, the title track and Love Me Do, and also had the very popular Twist And Shout on it, maybe The Beatles best ever cover version, and the title track to a massive selling EP at the time.
                                Many people have said on other threads that some of The Beatles sales may have been overestimated; I think that there is evidence of underestimation of some of their album sales in the early sixties in particular.
                                Are we really to believe that the album market was so small in 1963 that an LP that had spent 30 weeks at number one could still barely managed 600,000 sales 2 years later?
                                Sounds very far fetched!!
                                The Beatles are the top selling album artists anyway, but it is my view that there are still more sales yet to be accounted for!!
                                By the way, happy New Year, one and all!!
                                They did not sell many, but they were one of the best - God save the Kinks!

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Sales of most sixties albums were probably grossly underestimated. The Beatles For Sale album had a then record advance orders in the UK of 750,000, a record not surpassed until ABBA beat it in 1980.
                                  Beatles For Sale topped the album charts over Christmas, 1964, always the time for peak sales, and made appearances at number 1 in the album charts during 1965 as well.
                                  Hard to believe that Please Please Me had, according to "official" records, only sold about 600,000 up until the end of 1965, considering that it had spent 30 weeks at number 1 on the album charts, it had two hit singles on it, the title track and Love Me Do, and also had the very popular Twist And Shout on it, maybe The Beatles best ever cover version, and the title track to a massive selling EP at the time.
                                  Many people have said on other threads that some of The Beatles sales may have been overestimated; I think that there is evidence of underestimation of some of their album sales in the early sixties in particular.
                                  Are we really to believe that the album market was so small in 1963 that an LP that had spent 30 weeks at number one could still barely managed 600,000 sales 2 years later?
                                  Sounds very far fetched!!
                                  The Beatles are the top selling album artists anyway, but it is my view that there are still more sales yet to be accounted for!!
                                  By the way, happy New Year, one and all!!
                                  They did not sell many, but they were one of the best - God save the Kinks!

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Dear blackcat. YES! afraid the LP sales levels in the early 60's were extremely low! They were a luxery in those days! I remember my cousin Valerie having to save up specially to buy the first two Beatles LP's. Please Please Me had no trouble holding No1 for 30 weeks with around 500.000 sold! That was a phenomenal sale then-it outstripped any Elvis LP in sales to 1964. South Pacific held No1 for over a year! in one stretch-as well as other stays on top-it took till 1963 to top a Million! LP sales levels 1956 to 1967 were incredibly low in comparison with the last 30 plus years! As for the advance 750.000 figure-They weren't all snapped up on the same day! People picked their records up over a few weeks etc! Advance figures can mislead as they only really apply if there are NO! cancellations, and all are completed in the first week of sales! Even with The Beatles that wasn't %100 garunteed!

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      From the New Musical Express in 1964.

                                      NME 6/11/1964
                                      Advance orders for the Beatles' next single "I feel fine" have already topped the half-million mark. The group's next album, "Beatles For Sale", has an advance order of 550,000 - a month ahead of its December 4 release! Both titles were announced only last week.
                                      Sales of their "With The Beatles" LP have now exceeded 970,000 in Britain alone. It may well become the first British LP ever to sell a million copies here. The only LP which has sold a million here is "South Pacific" - and that took five years!

                                      NME 4/12/1964
                                      In Britain EMI had sold 800,000 copies of "I feel fine" by Wednesday 2nd December - 5 days after it was issued.

                                      NME 11/12/1964
                                      BRITISH sales of the Beatles’ current chart topper passed the million mark on Wednesday - only 12 days after its release. The record, “I Feel Fine,” is their seventh consecutive No. 1 hit. As reported last week its American sales reached a million in the first week of release there. The group has thus won two Gold discs with the single.
                                      Their new LP, “Beatles For Sale “- released only last Friday - has already sold more than 700,000 copies in this country. By comparison, home sales of their “With The Beatles” LP are just short of a million, and their “Hard Day’s Night” album has sold just over 600,000 copies since its release in July.


                                      Since "Hard Day's Night" was at number one for 21 weeks it was selling anything between 20,000 and 30,000 copies per week, depending what sales were for the initial weeks.

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        Found this article in NME for 27/11/64 by Dave Gillard.

                                        THE number one spot in the NME singles chart is ever changing. Just take a look back in recent charts. In the last six hit parades, there have been no less than four different No. 1s. Not so the LP chart. No. 1 is “A Hard Day’s Night,” and it has resided there since July 17 - over four months ago!
                                        Before “A Hard Day’s Night,” the Stones were top with their thumping, raucous LP titled simply, “The Rolling Stones.” That had entered at No. 1 on April 24 - almost three months before. And before that? Believe it or not, there was only one other topper this year - and that was left over from 1963. For the first four months of this year “With The Beatles” was on top.
                                        That’s the situation. We’re nearly at the end of a year which has seen hit parade favourites and newcomers in profusion top the singles chart. Yet in 11 months, the LP chart has had only three No. l’s!
                                        And it’s not as though top artists don’t make the LP charts with their albums. All the expected names have appeared in the LP Top Ten this year – Cliff, Elvis, Manfred Mann, the Searchers, the Dave Clark Five, Jim Reeves. But none of them climbed to the top.
                                        Perhaps it was because both the Beatles and the Stones became ultra-famous this year.
                                        However, it still seems an odd situation and I decided to find out how two of London’s largest record shops reacted to the news that there’s only been a trio of No.1 albums this year.

                                        “It really doesn’t surprise me at all” commented Mr Lumby, manager of Imhof's “Melody Bar" in New Oxford Street. “The Beatles just go on and on. The sales of their albums are absolutely phenomenal. “In fact, LP sales these days are phenomenal. I suppose we sell almost as many LPs as singles, and that’s quite something! And of course, the Beatles sell by far the most. Everyone seems to have been bitten by Beatle-mania - old as well as young. They’re a sort of new-style Crosby.”
                                        And Bryan Henderson, of Francis, Day and Hunter in Charing Cross Road, had much the same comment. “London teenagers don’t save up their money for LPs any more,” he said. “They buy an album just as if they were buying a single now. They seem to have more money. In fact, we sell more LPs than singles! The Beatles heading the list, of course.”
                                        Other big sellers for both shops were the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, who has started to make impact in the NME’s album parade.
                                        Even so, a lot of shops still obviously sell more singles than albums. In the suburbs, for instance, as in many of the smaller shops all over Britain, the single takes precedence.
                                        Young provincial record buyers can rarely afford an album. And when they have saved enough, it’s usually the Beatles or Stones they want.
                                        So the situation becomes clear. The Beatles and the Stones topped the album charts for so long because they are the most popular and when, in the provinces, there is money for an LP, they are first choice.
                                        Will it change in 1965? Doubt it - the Beatles have a new album due out next week – “Beatles For Sale” - and there will be a lot of buyers!

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          It took until 1968 for production figures for LP's to surpass those of Singles (The US acheived this in 1967) Beatles LP's were very high sellers indeed! They stayed at No1 for so long due to the Low level of sales from other LPs! Only the Stones first two LP's were appreciable competition! No other groups/Artists sold in really high levels apart from Bob Dylan and The Monkees! It took the soudtrack "The Sound Of Music" to be the Beatles only true rival in the LP charts!

                                          Comment


                                          • #81
                                            Originally posted by asm
                                            As for the advance 750,000 figure - they weren't all snapped up on the same day! People picked their records up over a few weeks etc! Advance figures can mislead as they only really apply if there are NO! cancellations, and all are completed in the first week of sales!
                                            Advance orders are by the record shops, not to be confused with pre-orders by customers. Its unlikely that shops would cancel their orders.

                                            Huge quantities of Beatles albums were sold within the first week of release.

                                            Comment


                                            • #82
                                              Advance orders caused many problems for chart compilers! The NME and DISC got missled with The stones "Little Red Rooster" single, as they used shops advance order figures for their charts then (1964) With "Rooster", actual sales across the counter were far less than those `ordered`in its initial first few days on sale. The NME entered the record straight at No1 in its chart, DISC entered it at No9. Record Retailer and Melody Maker who both only used actual sales across the counter figures entered "Rooster" at 24 (R.R) and 21 (MM). Same applys to LPs, Advance order figures could be a bit off from true initial sales!

                                              Comment


                                              • #83
                                                Originally posted by asm
                                                Advance orders caused many problems for chart compilers! The NME and DISC got missled with The stones "Little Red Rooster" single, as they used shops advance order figures for their charts then (1964)
                                                Never heard of this before! Where is your evidence for this statement?

                                                Originally posted by asm
                                                The NME entered the record straight at No1 in its chart, DISC entered it at No9. Record Retailer and Melody Maker who both only used actual sales across the counter figures entered "Rooster" at 24 (R.R) and 21 (MM).
                                                I always thought the difference was because of the dates the charts were compiled on. For example,

                                                Friday Date of record release
                                                Saturday Date RR compiled chart
                                                Monday Date MM compiled chart
                                                Tuesday Date Disc compiled chart
                                                Wednesday Date NME compiled chart.

                                                More days on sale means a higher entry. Some Sunday newspapers printed preliminary NME Top Ten chart positions which were usually improved on by Friday, the date of publication. Of course it also depends on how representative the sample of shops was.

                                                Comment


                                                • #84
                                                  Thanks for your help, brian and asm, actually, being new to this forum, I have accidentally created my reply under a different title!! It is called Beatles sales, brand new thread.
                                                  Thanks again for the information.
                                                  They did not sell many, but they were one of the best - God save the Kinks!

                                                  Comment


                                                  • #85
                                                    Yes thanks for all the useful info that people have been digging out on 60's sales.

                                                    A while ago we had a few posts by forum member Dimitri (where are you?). He had access to the EMI sales files in the 1960's and said they were in excellent order. Even when Allen Klein came along and went through them he had to conclude that all the royalties had been properly accounted for and he could find nothing wrong.

                                                    Of course lots of bands like the Beatles were on a very low royalty rate, and that's what Allen Klein was out to change - but he never thought the Beatles had been swindled out of actual sales.

                                                    But all the information indicates that EMI's accounts at the time were in very good order and EMI knew the exact shipments of all their artists.

                                                    Other labels, of course, may not have been so organised.

                                                    While LP's were relatively expensive in the 60's, everybody under a certain age had Beatles albums and their sales were simply huger than anyone else's. The anticipation for each album was acute. So Beatles sales in the 60's were massive and EMI knew (and know now) what they were.

                                                    It would be wonderful if they got the BPI to audit the Beatles sales and award the appropriate Platinum albums. Seems a vain hope - although Capitol did do this in the USA in the 1990's through the riaa.
                                                    See Page One of my threads for all updates

                                                    Comment


                                                    • #86
                                                      Thanks for your reply as well, Basil, you do so much research on these threads, maybe you ought to consider publishing your own book on the subject!!
                                                      Amazing that the Fab Four still sell so many albums around the World, and the trend will surely continue, with MCCartney still active in the music business, and lots of modern day groups citing the Beatles as a big influence, on both sides of the Atlantic.
                                                      If album sales in the early sixties had been as high as the level of sales set in the eighties and nineties right up until now, then presumably The Beatles total now would be even more astronomical!!
                                                      All the best
                                                      They did not sell many, but they were one of the best - God save the Kinks!

                                                      Comment


                                                      • #87
                                                        And considering that number one albums today can sell between 100,000 and 400,000 copies a week, some of the Beatles LPs would be equivalent to 10 million sales in today's terms.

                                                        Remember there were no HMV and Virgin Megastores in nearly all large towns as today, little TV advertising, relatively few people had a gramphone player and teenagers had far less disposable income. So the Beatles album sales were phenomenal.

                                                        Comment


                                                        • #88
                                                          And it could be said that it was The Beatles who were directly responsible for making the album markets around the World as big as they eventually became.
                                                          Few rock or pop albums sold big before the Fab Four came, the biggest selling albums were soundtracks like the aforementioned South Pacific. It was the Beatles who made studio rock albums into really big sellers, much more so than any other contemporary rock act of the time, and that includes Elvis, Cliff, and all the others.
                                                          They did not sell many, but they were one of the best - God save the Kinks!

                                                          Comment


                                                          • #89
                                                            Brian In my research I spoke to people such as David Hughes, Chris Welch, Dereck johnson, Peter Jones, and staff involved in the compiling of those charts! I also contacted the ex staff of audit firms-such as "Chantrey-Button & co" My work has been published in Record Collector-and accepted by "Guinness Hit Singles" I put a full thread of my research up on this site a few months ago-called "Chart History 50's to 70's"

                                                            Comment


                                                            • #90
                                                              Brian Also need to tell you that ALL charts except Record Retailers were compikled on Mondays! RR man Jeremy Wilder compiled theirs on Tuesdays! NME chart compiled by ãThe Charts: An Early History: N.M.E. To B.M.R.B By Alan Smith
                                                              1

                                                              Today the official Top 40 charts as used by the B.B.C. for radio and Top of the Pops are compiled electronically on computerised tills and relayed to compilers Millward Brown. These figures, from 4,700 retailers from a pool of 5,600, are processed into a full Top 75 chart used by publications such as Music Week magazine. The Top 40 of this chart is the most referred to and acknowledged as the ‘Official Chart’.

                                                              However; when record charts first began in Britain compiling methods were far slower and simpler and for many years there was no real ‘Official’ chart. So, how did charts begin? As with most music innovations; the idea originated in the United States. The very first charts in the U.S.A. were compiled from sheet music sales which were paper sheets of the notated music which people could purchase in order to play at home on the piano and other instruments. The first chart of popularity of these songs was on the radio show ‘Your Lucky Strike Hit Parade’, which started on 20th April 1935. Following the lead of sheet music charts, eventually sales of 78 rpm shellac discs came into being, with the task of compilation undertaken by the US music trade paper ‘Billboard’ published on 20th July 1940.

                                                              One important difference between the method of compilation of American disc charts and their British counterparts was that US charts also took note of the amount of radio airplay of songs which would be calculated in their tally. British charts never applied this format, they were sales based only.

                                                              The first British sheet music charts only appeared sporadically in the Jazz based Music paper ‘Melody Maker’. This paper was established in January 1926 as a monthly publication catering mainly to jazz fans became a weekly within a year and the first sheet music list appeared under the title ‘Top Tunes’ in 1935 as part of the ‘Song Sheet’ page. It was by no means a regular feature at that time; sometimes disappearing for a few weeks. The first regular weekly chart commenced on 27th July 1946. One surprising feature of many of the early sheet music charts before 1946 was that many of them were only alphabetical lists, not sales based.

                                                              By the early 1950s, similar to 40s America, sales of 78rpm shellac discs started to grow. Shellac was still in short supply limiting the number of releases; hence those early charts were only top 10 and 12 size for a couple of years. The recently revived music newspaper ‘New Musical Express’, which evolved from ‘Musical Express’, now catering to popular music tastes of the time, came up with the idea of Britain’s first sales based chart of popular discs. The paper’s management contacted a number of record stores and gathered a master list of 53 establishments willing to supply returns. The compiling of the chart was undertaken by advertising manager Percy Dickins, who took some time out from his main duties of gathering advertising for the paper to phone between 15 to 25 record stores for their sales data.
                                                              Mr Dickins would vary the stores contacted week by week in order to use all of the 53 on his list over a period of time. The data gathered from the stores differed from today’s charts in one vital area. Though all record stores kept precise internal sales figures, only a list of their Top 10 selling titles was relayed as a list 1 to 10. It was deemed too time consuming for Mr Dickins to have to tally up precise lists of sales figures. Far more convenient and time saving was the totting up of points per
                                                              2
                                                              placement: e.g. ten points for a No.1, down to one point for tenth place. This set a precedent for all early charts.
                                                              The first ‘New Musical Express’ and Britain’s first record chart was published on 14th November 1952. These early charts, though a Top 12 in size, could sometimes be rather larger due to the unusual tied position system. Instead of, for example a joint No.2 then No.4, the paper would go to No.3. This certainly expanded the chart but was soon amended. The immediate success of this ‘Hit Parade’ feature, as it was titled, set the trend. Within a few years a second chart would appear. This came from another popular music paper ‘Record Mirror’, which later in the 50s became ‘Record And Show Mirror’ then back to ‘Record Mirror’ then ‘New Record Mirror’ in 1961 and then eventually back to ‘Record Mirror’.

                                                              On 22nd January 1955 ’Record Mirror’ displayed a Top 10 chart. This was compiled from postal returns (financed by the paper) from record stores, again, of top 10 title listings. ‘Record Mirror’ figures could be viewed as they published each stores lists, along with their address on its chart pages. This first chart was based on 24 stores returns. By 1956 ‘Record Mirror’ was sampling over 60 record stores and as with ‘New Musical Express’ they would rotate shops used from a larger pool. By 1956 sales of records were eclipsing sheet music, so record charts began to attain more prominence. Hence the first appearance on 7th April 1956 of ‘Melody Makers’ first record chart, as part of its ‘Song Sheet’ page along side the sheet music charts.
                                                              The ‘Melody Maker’ chart was a Top 20 and was based on 19 stores returns, these were gathered by phone. As with ‘Record Mirror’, ‘Melody Maker’ would display a list of shops addresses, but it did not list individual Top 10’s. ‘Melody Maker’ was the first compiler to get returns from Northern Ireland making its sample a true U.K sample. Interestingly, the official charts as used by the B.B.C. only sampled Northern Ireland results when ‘Gallup’ took over the franchise in 1984.

                                                              The various compilers did try to verify the fact that their charts were based on true figures. To this end they would send blue forms to all shops on their list, which would be signed by the manager of each store when sending in returns to verify figures were accurate.

                                                              The next chart to appear; was in the pop paper ‘Disc’. This paper differed slightly in that it instigated, under the auspices of Editor Gerald Marks, the awarding of gold and silver discs for records attaining sales of respectively 1,000,000 and 250,000 units. ‘Disc’ appeared on 1st February 1958 with its first chart, a top 20 based on 25 phoned returns.

                                                              The last major chart came from the trade magazine ‘Record Retailer’. The paper was produced in August 1959 by the pooled resources of the members of the Independent Record Retailers Association, a body of record stores not aligned to any Record company as with HMV shops. The magazine was at first a monthly issue, but in March 1960 it changed to the weekly format with its first weekly issue dated 10th March 1960 when it displayed its first chart run down. This chart differed from its predecessors in the popular papers in that it was a larger Top 50. Managing Editor Roy Parker and Secretary Ann Smith undertook the task of phoning record shops for their lists of best sellers each Monday for Tuesday compilation, by staff member, Jeremy Wilder. Though a top 50, it was still only based on around 30 phone calls
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                                                              from a pool of 50. The chart used a ‘count back’ system where rates of sales increase, or decrease, were noted when tied positions occurred, as they would in a top 50 based on only 30 returns. The ‘Record Retailer’, published as a magazine only for the benefit of its members, was not on commercial sale to the general public at the time. It could be accessed via public libraries and those record shops who in supplying returns to it would display the chart on the wall of their stores. Many other record shops not supplying returns to any compiler displayed this chart while others displayed ‘N.M.E’ or ‘Melody Maker’ run- downs. Charts would also be audited with the ‘N.M.E’s regulated by the papers accountant Ted Hull. In January 1963 ‘Record Retailer’s’ chart was audited by the firm of Chantrey, Button & Co, its chief auditor Mr Nigel Mundy. These audits weren’t infallible though as ‘New Musical Express’ would learn in the 1960s.

                                                              None of the 50s charts was taken too seriously by the music industry or the general media. They were looked on as fun guides to that section of the entertainment industry with both ‘Record Mirror’ and ‘Melody Maker’ printing addresses of their suppliers at that time.

                                                              The ‘New Musical Express’ was seen as the premier chart of the 50s and by 1956 its compiling was handed over to a team from one of the opinion poll organisations and was expanded to approximately 50 to 60 returns from a pool of about 80 and still completed by phone calling. The ‘N.M.E’ chart was taken up for publication in some regional newspapers. It was also used by ‘Radio Luxembourg’ the commercial radio station based, of course in Luxembourg.

                                                              It was the ‘Record Mirror’ chart that was taken up by many national newspapers. Their postal returned sampling was every bit as large as ‘N.M.E’s, in fact it was probably larger in some weeks as it often ranged to more than 60 returns in the late 50’s. Meanwhile, ‘Melody Maker’ in the 50’s was still focusing primarily on the jazz scene and regarded its pop chart service as a sideline and hence did not at that time, put many resources into this new innovation. ‘Melody Makers’ size of sample ranged from as low as 14 samples up to a more respectable 33. Even by 1960 it barely touched 40, but that was soon to radically change. ‘Disc’ did not gather more than 40 returns at any point during the 50s as with ‘Melody Maker’ and its phone duties for chart data was a small part of its criteria then.

                                                              The day that most compilers set aside for their chart phoning was Monday, as the papers were published either on a Thursday or a Friday. ‘Record Mirror’ arranged to have its postal returns arrive on Mondays also. The ‘Record Retailer’, however, when it began its chart in March 1960, phoned on a Tuesday.

                                                              The countries national Broadcaster the B.B.C recognised the commerciality of popular music and on 4th October 1955, on its Light Programme, began broadcasting ‘Pick of the Pops’. At first this was a random choice of popular songs of the day; but soon a method of having a continuous Top 20 chart was conceived. From 1956 the B.B.C. would calculate a Top 20 by using ‘N.M.E’, ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Record Mirror’ charts and, in 1958, the ‘Disc’ chart was added to the calculations. They would give No.1 positions 20 points, No.2 19 points and so on down to one point for 20th position. This amalgamated chart would then be transmitted each week.
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                                                              This method had one drawback in often having tied positions and sometimes even a joint No.1. However, this run down did a lot to bring pop music and the concept of charts into focus for the general public. The American trade paper ‘Cash Box’ also used the combined method to produce a British chart along side some sampling as well, to add to its figures.

                                                              By the end of the 50s record sales were on the increase, passing the 40 million production figure by 1960. To reflect this ‘New Musical Express’ expanded its size of published chart.


                                                              The N.M.E Top 12 became a Top 20 on 2nd October 1954. It expanded to a 25 listing to catch the Christmas sales on 31st December 1955 and reverted back to the 20 format the following week. It then expanded to a Top 30 on 14th April 1956 staying at this size up until 14 May 1983 when it enlarged to a Top 50. ‘Record Mirror’ expanded from a Top 10 to Top 20 on 8th October 1955. ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Disc’ stayed unchanged in published size in this period.

                                                              The first big change to the size and method of compiling a chart occurred on 30th July 1960. This took place at the ‘Melody Maker’. The paper changed from phoning its list of record stores to the postal returns system that ‘Record Mirror’ was using. A far larger pool of compliant stores was contacted and from these a rotated sample of about 110 stores returns was posted in each week. So, from a figure of 38 samples on 23rd July 1960; ‘Melody Maker’s’ chart of 110 returns from the following week onward became, at that point, the largest sample in operation. The paper displayed the fact that it sampled over 100 shops above each weeks chart.

                                                              The ‘N.M.E’ also kept enlarging its sample as the 60’s took hold. At this time, it reverted back to using its own staff members for phoning duties; this entailed four to five employees each phoning 20 to 25 shops for a sample of 80 to 100 retailers in the early part of this decade.

                                                              ‘Disc’ did not have the resources that ‘N.M.E’ enjoyed, so its sample rose to the lesser figure of approximately 50 who were phoned during this period; its main compiler was Fred Zebadee.

                                                              ‘Record Mirror’ was still receiving up to 50 to 60 postal returns circa 1960/61 but it was badly hit by the increase in postal charges from April 1961. The ‘Melody Maker’ was able to absorb these costs with its higher circulation and the massive resources of its publisher I.P.C. ‘Record Mirror’ however had to start cutting back on costs. From 18 March1961 the paper no longer printed the lists or addresses from stores, (‘Melody Maker’ had ceased this practise on 30 July 1960). To add to ‘Record Mirror’s’ problems many national newspapers started to use ‘Melody Maker’s’ charts in the early 60s. On 24th March 1962, ‘Record Mirror’ finally abandoned compiling its own lists. Instead, from that date onward it began publishing the ‘Record Retailer’ Top 50.

                                                              By 1963 both ‘New Musical Express’ and ‘Melody Maker’ were sampling over 100 stores with ‘Disc’ sampling about 60 to 70. Only ‘Record Retailer’ had kept to the same sized sample of 30 phoned. It was during 1963 that the rise of the Beatles
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                                                              sparked off the Mersey beat which led to a sales boom. Pop music and the charts were very much in the public eye by the mid 60s. The advent of the Pirate Radio stations in early 1964 gave pop music a very high public profile. Some of these stations used `airplay` statistics for their charts. Radio Caroline from July 1964 used the Melody Maker top 50 for its popular listings.

                                                              ‘Melody Maker’ increased its sample to over 200 by 1964, with a team of staff which included Roy Burchill, Mike Benson, Jeff Stars, Alf Martin, Linda Leighton and Sandra Coleman who compiled the figures from sacks of mail using, in today’s terms, an old fashioned calculating machine. Editorial staff, Jack Hutton and Ray Coleman also helped out in compiling the charts. ‘New Musical Express’, by this time, had reached its peak of 150 phoned, now with a staff of six, led by its chief chart compilers Fiona Foulgar and Tony Martin. ‘Disc’ managed to get up to 80 to 100 returns (also phoned). ‘Record Retailer’, realising that its phoned sample of 30 was far too low for the period, contacted both E.M.I. and Decca’s distribution chains for a list of stores. Working from a master list of 100, the ‘Retailer’ changed to postal returns commencing at the start of 1964 with 75 to 85 returns, rotated in the list. Staff member Jeremy Wilder spent all of Tuesday each week compiling the top 50 from these returns.

                                                              Now that pop music was seen to be big business, a lot of chart hyping began. Teams of shoppers were hired to buy a particular record at what were deemed to be chart return stores. This systematic process is well documented in Johnny Rogan’s book ‘Starmakers And Svengalis’. The worst recorded example of this was when a member of the ‘New Musical Express’ staff was actively involved in the manipulations affecting their chart. Even though ‘N.M.E’s’ chart was still a Top 30, the lower placements were still affected. The ‘Melody Maker’, which had also suffered from similar chart tampering, decided to try and check attempts at manipulating their chart. On 1 April 1967 the paper, in a front-page announcement, declared it knew what was going on and was aware of some of the people involved. It declared that from that date it was cutting its published chart to a Top 30, though it would still compile a 50 in order to check suspicious movements. The Melody Maker Top 50 was later published in the trade paper ‘Music Business Weekly’ from 20 September 1969 to 27 March 1971. ‘Disc’ similarly cut down its Top 50 on 1 April 1967 taking its lead from ‘Melody Maker’. Both these papers had increased the sizes of their published charts when record sales vastly increased in the early 60s. ‘Melody Maker’ expanded from Top 20 to 30 on 14th April 1962 and soon followed this on 15th September 1962 by increasing again to a Top 50. ‘Disc’ increased from a Top 20 to 30 on 6th October 1962 and increased to a Top 50 on 23rd April 1966 when incorporating the failing pop magazine ‘Music Echo’ into its title, becoming ‘Disc And Music Echo’. From this date (23 April 1966) ‘Disc’ acquired its first L.P chart.

                                                              The big beat boom sparked off lots of short lived pop papers. Many, like ‘Brum Beat’ from Birmingham were regional. Two of the more prominent papers, which ran along with the premier magazines, were ‘Mersey Beat/Music Echo’ and ‘Pop Weekly’. ‘Mersey Beat’ started in Liverpool in July 1961as a bi-weekly publication primarily covering the regional sound and groups growing in popularity at the time. By 1963 it became nationally distributed, buoyed by the tremendous boom generated by the regions biggest sensation, the Beatles. The paper had started publishing a Top 20 in
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                                                              1963 though also bi-weekly it is impossible to correlate it to other charts of the time. Only from 24 April 1964 did “Merseybeat” become a weekly with a weekly chart. Significantly, by 3rd December of that year, ‘Mersey Beat’ began publishing the nation’s first Top 100. It certainly did not have the resources of either ‘N.M.E’ or ‘Melody Maker’ so it is unlikely that this chart was not based on more than 50 to 80 returns at best. By 6th March1965, with signs of a slow down in Beat music, the paper changed its title to ‘Music Echo’ in order to carry a wider spectrum of music but still carried on with its Top 100 chart plus the countries first Top 50 LP rundown from May 1965. In 1966 sales were slipping badly and the singles chart returned to a Top 50. Then ‘Music Echo’ ceased publication on 16th April 1966 and on the following week it was absorbed into ‘Disc’ becoming ‘Disc and Music Echo’.

                                                              ‘Pop Weekly’, formerly ‘Top 10 Monthly’, became a weekly issue from 1 September 1962. It was smaller in its dimensions than the other magazines, at about A5 size and was edited by Albert Hand who ran the Elvis Presley fan club. The paper ran a Top 30 chart as well as ‘write in’ polls for artists. ‘Pop Weekly’s’ chart was only based on about 30 to 50 returns but was quite well respected at the time. ‘Pop Weekly ‘ran its top 30 to 6 November 1965. For the next three weeks only a top 10 was published. Finally on 27 November the last sales chart appeared and until the papers demise on 12 February 1966 a `popularity top 20` of readers favourite songs was displayed. Affected by the slowdown in the market on 12th February 1966 “Pop Weekly” published its last issue. It was then merged with sister paper “Pop Shop” becoming “Pop Shop International “a monthly magazine..

                                                              With the public’s upsurge in interest for pop and, in particular, the weekly focus on who was No.1 in the charts the need for a single reliable chart, rather than a selection offering different results became important. There has been much controversy over the years as to what was the ‘best’ chart for this purpose. When the ‘Guinness Book of British Hit Singles’ was first published in 1977 it made a key decision in selecting charts for the purposes of recording chart statistics. The new book’s authors, Tim Rice, Jonathan Rice, Paul Gambaccini and Mike Read plumped for the New Musical Express chart from 14 November 1952 up to 10 March 1960. They then changed to the debuting’ Record Retailer’ chart and retrospectively gave it the prominence it now enjoys. This decision was largely down to the longevity of ‘Record Retailer’s’ run as a Top 50 – the biggest and longest running rundown of the decade. Although this much is true, the ‘Record Retailer’ chart had a good deal of competition for the title of ‘most prominent chart’ in the mid 60s. When considering the size of chart sample ‘Record Retailer’ fares badly in comparison with some of the alternatives. From March 1960 to December 1963 only 30 stores were phoned for sales figures. In that period both ‘N.M.E’ and ‘Melody Maker’ were sampling over 100, and ‘Disc’ was certainly at over 50. By 1964 ‘Record Retailer’ was getting regular postal returns from approximately 80 dealers, which gave it parity with ‘Disc’s’ size of sample. It still trailed behind ‘N.M.E’s’ 150 and ‘Melody Makers’ 200 plus around 1964 –66.
                                                              ‘Record Retailer’s’ chart suffered many volatile chart movements due to its smaller sample. Quite often records would shoot up from the 40s to the edge of the Top 10, only to collapse back down again the following week. In July 1967, due to the change in publication at the start of the month from Thursday to a Wednesday, hardly any returns got in on time precipitating hurried phone calls to dealers. This disruption very

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                                                              much affected the Top 50 until things settled down by the end of July when all dealers were familiar with the change of day.
                                                              .
                                                              ‘Record Retailer’s’ chart; (Unlike ‘Record Mirror’s’ 1950’s lists) was never used by national or regional newspapers. It was not used for the B.B.C.’s ‘Top of the Pops’ until 1966. At this time, though it was a trade chart utilised by many dealers, it wasn’t truly recognised as the chart for the whole industry which included the record companies. ‘Record Retailer’ was set up by independent record shops, not aligned to the record companies and had no funding from the record companies, only from surplus subscription funds to the ‘Record Retailer’ itself. Inside the entertainment industry, particularly for artists and management, it was the ‘New Musical Express’ charts that were scanned to see if their songs had made the chart.

                                                              In many ways ‘N.M.E’s’ chart was the most highly regarded of the 60s. It was already in use by Radio Luxembourg plus some print coverage in the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Evening News and regional papers in Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Glasgow, and Birmingham. In terms of music paper sales, more people than all the other music papers combined read ‘N.M.E’ charts. At its peak for two years from 1964 to 1966 its circulation was at just under 300,000.

                                                              However, ‘New Musical Express’ did have anomalies that certainly affected chart positions. Firstly, for many years, the paper’s charts would list `B` sides to some popular records by well known artists such as Elvis Presley or Cliff Richard. This would be due to the title being asked for in shops returning to ‘N.M.E’. Particularly affected were Double `A` sides where sales could be split quite evenly per title, thus quite badly affecting peak positions in ‘N.M.E’s’ chart. The most notable instance was Elvis Presley’s ‘Rocka – Hula Baby’/ ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’. This was a No.1 in all other charts for at least a month but in ‘N.M.E.’ due to the split sales when both titles entered the chart, neither made the top, only making No.2 and No.3 respectively. Because fans asked for “The New Beatles Record” when the singles were released none of the Beatles Double ‘A ‘sides were split by the paper, but many others were - the last known examples being The Rolling Stones ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’/’Ruby Tuesday’ in February 1967 and Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood with ‘You Only Live Twice’ / ‘Jackson’ in July 1967. The second peculiarity to ‘N.M.E.’s’ chart, one that it shared with both ‘Disc’ and ‘Pop Weekly’, was the inclusion of LP’s in the singles charts. This could possibly be justified when such papers had no LP charts, but not credible in ‘N.M.E.’s’ case when it started an L.P chart on 1st June 1962, but still listed LP’s in with singles. ‘Disc’ had ceased this practise in their charts when incorporating ‘Music Echo’ on 23rd April 1966 and thus acquiring an LP chart. The ‘N.M.E.’ carried on up to late 1968, with The Beatles eponymous titled double album entering the singles lists in December 68. It is not known exactly when ‘N.M.E.’ ended the practise, but obviously with the boom in LP sales by the early 70s it had to cease; otherwise more LP’s than singles would have been in the chart.

                                                              ‘Melody Maker’ had, by the mid 60s, a chart based on more returns from dealers (Close to 250) than any other. By then it had gained publication in many national newspapers, such as the Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, News Of The World and The People. It was also used extensively in overseas newspapers, particularly those in the
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                                                              US. The copyright from these publications enabled ‘Melody Maker’ to put a lot of finance into its chart processing. Along with N.M.E it was extremely influential in the 60’s and the focus for chart hyping. Neither ‘Disc’ nor ‘Record Retailer’ seemingly suffered at the hands of chart hype anywhere as badly as ‘N.M.E.’ or ‘Melody Maker’ due to their lower profile in chart prominence. So, there is a valid argument that the lower sections of each chart were less suspect. It is difficult to be certain how targeted either ‘Disc’ or ‘Record Retailer’ was, but no chart in the mid 60s was completely safe from such machinations.

                                                              ‘Record Retailer’ was very much out of step with every other chart of the time in the number of records that entered its chart straight at No.1. Up to 1969, when ‘Record Retailer’ stopped compiling its own chart, the paper only registered two records entering at the top spot. This was well out of step with all other major charts for that period. ‘N.M.E.’ achieved 14, ‘Melody Maker’ 10, ‘Disc’11. ‘Record Mirror’ in the 1955 to 1962 period registered five.’ Record Retailer’s’ chart never registered any Beatles title instantly at No.1, unlike ‘N.M.E’, ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Disc’ who respectively placed 8, 8, and 7 of their singles as instant No.1’s. The lesser charts such as ‘Pop Weekly’ and ‘Music Echo’ also registered Beatles records as instant chart-toppers. There was one difference in how figures were gauged: both ‘N.M.E’ and ‘Disc’ would accept advance order figures when compiling their charts, whereas ‘Record Retailer’ and ‘Melody Maker’ would only accept actual sales over the counter. However, with ‘Record Retailers’ chart being compiled on a different day, it is possible this affected their chart in comparison with others. The difference between chart positions based on advance figures and actual sales is clear when taking the Rolling Stones ‘Little Red Rooster’ into account. In the ‘N.M.E.’ and ‘Disc’ charts it entered straight at No.1 and 9. In ‘Record Retailer’ and ‘Melody Maker’ it entered at 24 and 21.
                                                              On Television both ‘N.M.E’ and ‘Melody Maker’ charts were the charts referred to at this time. Pop TV researcher Keith Badman has revealed that ‘N.M.E.’ chart positions were referred to in the more popular type of programmes such ‘Ready Steady Go!’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’. ‘Melody Makers’ chart was used by the more august pop profiles such as news reports that examined the social aspect of the pop boom. ‘N.M.E.’ also had Radio Luxembourg using its chart for their Top 20 chart rundown. When ‘Top of the Pops’ took to the screens on 1st January 1964 it, like ‘Pick of the Pops’, used the combination of ‘N.M.E.’, ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Disc’ to compile it’s Top 20. For many people the B.B.C.’s compilation chart as used by ‘Pick of the Pops’ and ‘Top of the Pops’ was the chart they referred too.

                                                              By 1967 both ‘Melody Maker’ and ‘Disc’ were now owned by publishers I.P.C. and both were based at the same offices in Fleet Street. It was deemed unnecessary to have the expense of compiling two charts; so ‘Disc’ cut their compiling to 30 to 50 phone calls which main compiler Fred Zebedee would combine with ‘Melody Maker’s’ 200 plus postal sample to make a combined chart of 280 plus.

                                                              There was yet another chart to come on the scene. This was from a paper that began life titled ‘Top Pops’. It was set up by author Colin Bostock-Smith; and appeared first in May 1967. At first the magazine appeared only every two to three weeks. It formed an arrangement with ‘W.H. Smith & Son’. In exchange for advertising space, the firm would supply a national chart based on sales returns from branches across the country.
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                                                              The first chart appeared in issue 23 dated 25 May 1968. Two issues later date 22 June 1968 both paper and chart became weekly. WHS no longer keep records of how many stores were used but Colin Bostock-Smith who compiled the chart confirmed the sample was only about a dozen branches of `Smith` stores. He received by post each stores top 30 selling records on Monday and Tuesday and would also use the points system to gauge each records place. ‘Top Pops’ changed its title to ‘Music Now’ on 21 March 1970, and finally ceased in May 1971. In its chart positions it tended to be closer to ‘New Musical Express’ and ‘Melody Maker’ than ‘Record Retailer / B.M.R.B.’

                                                              For the main part of the 60s no one chart was the accepted one. It was a problem the B.B.C. wanted to resolve, particularly when, on August 31 1968, they had three records all in the top spot. The Bee Gees ‘Gotta Get A Message To You’, The Beach Boys ‘Do It Again’ and Herb Alpert’s ‘This Guys In Love’ all had to be played as the joint No.1 on ‘Top of the Pops’. This situation was seen as untenable, so a series of meetings were set up by the ‘B.B.C., the ‘British Phonograph Industry’ and ‘Billboard Publications’, attended by such luminaries as Derek Chinnery (BBC) Graeme Andrews (Record Retailer) and Peter Meneer of The ‘British Market Research Bureau’. Details of a new chart operation evolved. ‘New Musical Express’ and ‘Melody Maker’ were invited to come into the scheme, but declined, as both were happy enough with their own charts. The B.M.R.B had been asked to investigate chart anonymlies in 1966 following a “Sunday Times” `expose which concerned a version of “The Sound Of Music” L.P. This was out on E.M.I’s “Music For Pleasure” label; but in spite of what E.M.I insisted were robust sales it had not registered in the three main LP charts of 1966 (NME, MM & R.Retailer) The B.M.R.B were asked to look into the matter.

                                                              A solution to the chart difficulties was close at hand. At a cost of approximately £52.000 the opinion poll organisation ‘British Market Research Bureau’ would contact a rolling panel of 250 major Record Stores plus phone calls to a further 50 shops. The prime 250 would change each week with shops entering from a pool of 50 reserves. This was similar to the `rolling pools` of the music papers. Shops were randomly chosen from any of Britain’s 6,000 plus record retailers. The shops supplying figures would enter point of sales figures into diaries which would then be posted at close of sales on Saturday to arrive on Monday mornings, (There was Sunday post then) at the ‘B.M.R.B’ offices. Each Diaries totals would be translated to punch card data which would then be fed to a computer which would calculate the Top 50 positions. The chart would be sent to The B.B.C to arrive on Tuesday morning ready for broadcasting on the early afternoon chart show. Commencing on 15 February 1969 the new ‘B.M.R.B’ chart was broadcast on ‘B.B.C.’ ‘Top of the Pops’ with a Top 20 and a Top 30 on Radio 1. It was also carried by ‘Record Mirror’ and ‘Retailer’ (The full 50 positions) and from August 1970 in the new music paper ‘Sounds’ (Top 30). This system was called `Bars` by the B.M.R.B meaning “British Analysis of Record Sales”. The chart did find difficulty in getting aired in the newspaper chains, as these were still very happy with ‘NME’ and ‘MM’ charts. By and large though, the new chart was seen as the ‘Official’ national chart and accepted by the industry. It is this `acceptance` that ironically was to be one of its drawbacks.
                                                              The problem of having the new ‘B.M.R.B.’ chart announced as an `Official` listing, sadly concentrated the practise of getting records into the chart by any means
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                                                              possible. The list of chart shops was supposed to be secret but determined operators managed to uncover their locations. Record companies to plug their records put B.B.C. Radio 1 disc jockeys under much pressure. Some of this lobbying could be perceived as not quite one hundred percent above board. Over the years more and more stories (many greatly exaggerated) ran in the newspapers about the chart being rigged. The side affect benefited the ‘NME’ and ‘MM’ charts making them now less targeted and affected by hype`.

                                                              When the ‘B.M.R.B.’ chart became established by the early 70s both ‘New Musical Express’ and ‘Melody Maker’ cut back their chart samples to 100 for ‘NME’ and 200 for ‘MM’. Both papers were aiming now at the `serious` Rock market, and were less chart and pop orientated. Established as it was, the ‘B.M.R.B.’ chart was having difficulty getting its diaries in on time and filled out correctly. ‘Melody Maker’ had little trouble with postal returns as they had built up a loyal retinue of chart shops. But for the ‘B.M.R.B.’ chart the early returns barely got past 20% of the 300 supposed returns. Many of the early ‘B.M.R.B’ charts from February to July 1969 suffered many tied positions with up to five records sharing one position in one instance. This is something which should have been a virtual impossibility on a sales based chart. Also, postal strikes affected this system badly. No album charts could be compiled for February/March 1971 during the national postal strike then and while some phoning was done to get a Top 40 singles chart, it was deemed inadequate for a national chart. After more strike hit charts in 1973 the ‘BMRB.’ Turned to a more reliable method of gathering data with motor cycle couriers collecting the diaries which proved to be quite expensive. According to Michael Cable’s ‘The Pop Industry Inside Out’, even by May 1976 only 158 out of sample of 299 were getting in on time. Despite all of the problems the B.M.R.B. chart became the accepted rundown by the mid 1970’s. When ‘Gallup’ inherited the franchise they brought in computerised tills, which speeded up the returns figures so that Christmas charts could be produced. Both NME and MM stopped doing their own chart listings on 14 May 1988 and started using M.R.I.B.’s lists. Advanced technology was about to create a stable platform for a single ‘official’ chart accepted by the vast majority of retailers, customers and the media.
                                                              © Alan Smith

                                                              Many thanks are due to those former staff members from the music and trade papers who kindly assisted with factual data for my research. Also; thanks are due to record shop managers who provided useful contacts and data from the `sellers` perspective.
                                                              Alan Smith April 2005.

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