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  • UK Bubbling Under New Book

    Please forgive the intrusion / interruption, but I just discovered this 2019 published bubblers book based on local Record Mirror charts. "Hits That Missed: The UK Bubbling Under Chart 1954-1961" by Colin Driscoll, published 14 March 2019, 428 pages, singles & albums, covering June 1954-March 1961.

    Amazon UK link:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hits-That-M...9MBQGCK7F4Y59G

    A review from Jazz Journal:

    https://jazzjournal.co.uk/2019/05/13...art-1954-1961/

    Per this review, this is based on Record Mirror Top 10 lists of local best-sellers submitted by up to 50 record shops across the UK. The author crunched some numbers, producing his results. It sounds most interesting, there could be some singles/albums here that didn't make any of the 5 major national UK charts of the day.

    Has anyone bought this, and what do you think?

  • #2
    Moved to a new topic as this is worthy of it’s own thread!
    http://thechartbook.co.uk - for the latest are best chart book - By Decade!
    Now including NME, Record Mirror and Melody Maker from the UK and some Billboard charts

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds interesting.

      Comment


      • #4
        Again per the review, there were "hundreds" of these bubbler records 1954-1961 that didn't make the Record Mirror Top 10 (1955) and Top 20 (1955-1961).

        I went to the American Radio History site to check the old Record Mirror issues, and found only 4 available from this time period:
        --12 Feb 1955 showed 24 local Top 10 charts used to calculate the RM Top 10
        --29 Dec 1956 showed 38 local Top 10 charts used to calc the RM Top 20
        --19 Jul 1958 . showed 52 local Top 10 charts used to calc the RM Top 20
        --12 Sep 1959 showed 47 local Top 10 charts used to calc the RM Top 20

        Question: how many of these RM bubblers also did not crack the NME Top 20 (1954-1956) and Top 30 (1956-1961)?
        And the Top 20s for Melody Maker (1956-1961) and Disc (1958-1961)?
        And the Record Retailer Top 50 (1960-1961)?

        Hmmm...

        Comment


        • #5
          While searching for the thread about the OCC chart books for a quick direct link as I feel I now want to treat myself, I came across this - surprised it's received as little attention as it has so far after Lonnie attributed it as a new separate topic a fortnight ago, as usually most people on this forum are keen as mustard to inspect any new sources of info on songs that by whatever measure didn't make published charts in any era. Hopefully this reply will bump it to the top again in case anyone's missed it like I had and is interested to investigate further.

          And good questions from Robin above. Sadly I don't have the time to answer them!

          Comment


          • #6
            Lonnie is quite right in making this a new thread. When we look back at the years prior to the top 50 of March 1960 we have Graham’s underrated top 40 1948-51 soon including 1952. The years with the fewest weekly positions will then be 1953-59 of which this book only misses 1953. I’ve ordered it, and I’ll get it tomorrow if the corona doesn’t postpone it.j

            Comment


            • #7
              Lonnie is quite right in making this a new thread. When we look back at the years prior to the top 50 of March 1960 we have Graham’s underrated top 40 1948-51 soon including 1952. The years with the fewest weekly positions will then be 1953-59 of which this book only misses 1953. I’ve ordered it, and I’ll get it tomorrow if the corona doesn’t postpone it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Gambo, I had put this book in the other chart book thread thinking it would get more visibility there, rather than setting up a separate thread. KoS thought it deserved its own thread, and that is true, too. But I'm thinking it'd be easier for all of us to find all the various chart books out there if we had just one or a few threads to go to. Maybe 1 thread for 'official' books, and 1 thread for everything else. Or combine them all together, as there aren't that many chart books out there, relatively speaking. Keeping them all in 1 thread would be so much easier, for when new books first come out, and also in the future when we look back and read old threads. I'm good with giving all books the highest visibility, however that works.

                I ordered this book and it arrived the other day, haven't had time to thoroughly go thru it yet, but I can report:

                --the bubbler charts are for the Record Mirror singles chart, no separate EP and LP bubbler charts; calculated from the up-to-50 weekly individual dealer charts, which also include EPs and LPs

                --and it's a 'true' bubbler chart, in that the author doesn't re-calculate new fuller weekly Record Mirror charts; he only gives us the extra bubbler portion

                --and the bubbler portions do not include current or previous-dropped-off hits; it only includes 'not yet' hits = both future charters and never charters

                --it looks like all records from the individual dealer charts are included, as the number of bubbler chart positions varies week to week, most excellent!

                --there is a list of bubblers that went on to become charted hits on either NME, Record Mirror, Melody Maker, or Disc, but didn't make it onto Guinness / "official" = a total of 58; but no count or list of bubblers that didn't become a hit on any chart. Those bubblers can be easily identified but I guess we have to manually count them up...

                There are book sections on (1) bubblers by artist, (2) misc artist and record stats, (3) the weekly bubbling charts, (4) singles title index, (5) EP and LP index. A good solid book, 430 pp, the author surely spent a lot of time on it. I heartily recommend it !!

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK, I counted 'em up. The total number of bubblers that appear on these new composite Record Mirror weekly bubbler charts, that did not rise up to make any of the 5 major national charts (NME, RM, MM, Disc, RR), from 19 June 1954 to 11 March 1961, = 2151 !!!

                  Great googly moogly !!!

                  That averages out to 319 previously uncharted records per year! = 6 brand new, never to rise to the big charts, bubblers each week! (351 total weeks here = 6.75 years)

                  Of course, you'll get more bubblers per week in 1954 when the regular charts had fewer positions, and less per week in 1961 when the regular charts had more positions. We can break them down by year, too.

                  But this is phenomenal !! And it rewrites chart history.

                  A few breakdowns: 1928 of these bubblers are singles, 4 are 78 rpm albums, 101 are EPs, and 118 are LPs.

                  Of course, if someone has the time, gumption, and copies of all these individual Record Mirror weekly dealer charts, a fuller Record Mirror chart could be reconstructed with all records, not just the bubblers. Maybe someday, one day...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How many bubbler chart positions per week? I did some spot checks, looking at 2 months per year:

                    1954 monthly samples ranged from 21 to 58 bubbler chart positions per week
                    1955 = 18 to 37
                    1956 = 7 to 21
                    1957 = 6 to 11
                    1958 = 7 to 19
                    1959 = 9 to 22
                    1960 = 9 to 26
                    1961 = 9 to 19

                    Kool !!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a copy if this book and I agree, it is absolutely fascinating. Yes, it's a retrospective chart - that is, it didn't exist in this form at the time - but it sure fills in a ton of blanks, regional hits and more. Highly recommended.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Statisticians would argue that averaging together 50 local Top 10 charts into one massive Top 50 chart is not “statistically relevant” for the lower chart rungs. And while that may be true, on the other hand it may be all that we’ve got, to see what the less popular records were for a given point in time and space.

                        I read somewhere recently (?) that some national chart did not like to include regional hits in their national chart. Don’t remember which country or time period, ugh. But the reason given was they wanted to see the most popular ‘national’ hits, not ‘regional’ hits. I take this to mean that if a record didn’t appear on a certain number of local dealer charts, then no matter how high it would have placed on the combined/averaged chart, it was not included, ugh.

                        Which begs the question, what is the purpose of a national chart? To tell the truth as is, or to be manipulated for various reasons? So many charts have been manipulated over the years to emphasize newer records over older records. Instead of producing the most accurate main chart as is and branching off extra sub-charts for a specific purpose, they instead manipulate the main chart.

                        One would think a chart producer/company would be totally separate and independent of the record companies, but alas that is not always the case. With record companies funding the charts, they dictate certain objectives they want met.

                        But we’ve also learned that when BMRB was compiling the charts, they produced the one main chart, which they sent out to the BBC, Record Mirror, and Record Retailer, and they each individually decided what they were going to do with the data. Sometimes one of them would not print the chart over Christmas; sometimes the bubblers would disagree between RM and RR. But I digress…

                        Nonetheless, having these individual Record Mirror dealer charts available in each issue is very kool! One can go back and recalculate a fuller weekly Record Mirror chart with possibly more chart positions than the other 4 charts up to March 1961. As I mentioned in another thread comparing Top 10 records of the 60s across all 5 major charts, from 1960 to 1962 Record Mirror was a surprisingly good chart before they ended in 1962. It had a high sample of record shops compared to the others, and agreed very closely with the average chart position per record, coming in 2nd place to Melody Maker. (Haven’t done any 50s research yet.)

                        Once we find all these Record Mirror issues and get all these individual weekly dealer charts, we can compare various averaging techniques to see how they wash out. For example, how does a flat average compare to a hierarchy? Or to a most often position, or a median position? It would be most interesting to investigate. So many eye deers, so little time, ha…

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mine just came today.
                          I think a good way to check if records were hits between 1954 and the early 60's is using the search on 45 Cat. Select the month you want and the year (don't set the day as nothing is really tied down to a day). Add UK and select most collected. Since they have started with the valuations for records you can spot the ones collected for money.
                          Unfortunately some twit running the site has reduced the limit of records from 100 results to 50. Nobody knows why either!
                          But you can clearly see that records with some 40 owns were not hits at all. While some with 10 owns have made the charts. You do need to look at some of the results individually, unless you have a good knowledge of what did make the charts, as the resulting table does not say if they are hits.
                          You can't do this with the 78's on 45 worlds. Since there is no most collected in the results. But the limit is still 100 and not 50. Nor do they have chart positions results either. Though some people have commented that it made the charts. So to see who was most owned you would have to go through all 100 results and note how many are owned.

                          I once did a chart of the most owned and those that charted for 1965. Using this system. To make number 50 you would need 14 owns. By 25 you would be up to 29 owns. By 15 - 40 owns. Number 10 - 55. Five - 60+ and an average of 75 to make number 2. Higher than that and you should have made number one.
                          Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RokinRobinOfLocksley View Post
                            I read somewhere recently (?) that some national chart did not like to include regional hits in their national chart. Don’t remember which country or time period, ugh. But the reason given was they wanted to see the most popular ‘national’ hits, not ‘regional’ hits. I take this to mean that if a record didn’t appear on a certain number of local dealer charts, then no matter how high it would have placed on the combined/averaged chart, it was not included, ugh.
                            The BMRB chart in the early years excluded regional hits. The chart compilers would only chart a record if there was evidence of a single selling outside of one particular region. To balance this, in the very early years BMRB did compile regional charts but these were discontinued at some point in the early 1970s as BMRB reported that the industry showed a lack of interest in them. If a single was selling only in one region BMRB would not chart the single. I've read that in some instances the record label had to request that BMRB include a single in the chart and in order to do so had to show evidence that the single was attracting interest elsewhere in the UK. See the post by our own hotspurman from another board in 2011 for more information: https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthrea...1109#post81109 and my own post on the subject here at ukmix from last September https://www.ukmix.org/forum/chart-di...10#post9875410

                            Possible reason? Perhaps an imbalance between regional representation. BMRB famously took no sales data from Northern Ireland and in Scotland sales returns were limited to towns and cities only as far north as the M8 corridor (the motorway that runs between Glasgow and Edniburgh. I guess London, the south east and the Midlands were probably over represented with fewer returns the further north a town or city is. So with fewer returns from a specific region it may have been difficult to determine whether a record selling in just one particular area was really selling or whether it was as a result of hype / buy-ins.

                            At one time, and certainly in the mid 1970s, Billboard also had a policy of not charting regional hits unless the label requested it. This was more because record shops were sent a list of singles to report on which usually numbered less than 200 per week.. Regional breakouts would only be included if the label could show that the single was breaking out of a region to elsewhere.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The reason the BMRB chart didn't want to cover regional hits was because they wanted a "National" chart. Not a list of who sold the most copies. One area could sell sufficient records to make the top ten. But many of these records would not have sold anything outside that area. This most obvious ones being football records.

                              The book itself talks about retailers charts in Record Mirror. But how many of these retailers charts were published each week? Presumably each of these chart would have had records that had fallen out of the top 20's or were in the top 20 still in them. If there was enough of these charts, using the point system in the book, you could do a full chart, not just the breakers. Which with the exception of Woolworth's, would be more accurate than those published as National charts.
                              Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                There are a couple of RM on the PDF site of Music Papers. One from 1958 and one from 1959. Each one has an average of around 48 shops. All named. The bad news it's a very poor representation of the UK. With no shops from the Yorkshire area at all. There's one from Hull. London has 15 in the 1958 paper for example.

                                I have just seen on one of the issues that these shops were the ones used to produce the top 20 of Record Mirror. They simply added up all the top tens with 10 points for One and 1point for Ten. So if Colin wanted to he could have produced a full chart of all the records that were in the these top tens. Without seeing a greater proportion of these charts for each week, it is not possible to determine how large such a chart could have been. But I would have thought a 30 to 40 would give reasonable results. After that you might be getting results from individual shops only.

                                Curious enough the paper was requesting other papers to publish there lists of shops. We can thus conclude that the record companies were not interested at this stage in hyping a record into any charts.
                                I have not seen any well know shops taking part in the two lists that I have. There is a chain of FINLAYS shops which in the 1958 one has 9 stores taking part. Though it's the first time I have heard of the chain.
                                I wonder if any Yorkshire shop took part in any of the lists?

                                If anyone did have the full set of papers then they could produced the full charts. List the record shops taking part too. Plus make another book! Or encourage Colin to do the full charts.
                                Last edited by Graham76man; Mon April 6th, 2020, 12:33. Reason: Extra information
                                Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Graham, that site has 2 more Record Mirror issues, 1 each from 1955 & 1956. I did some calcs on the 12 Feb 1955 issue to see what Colin was doing. In exploring all these 27 individual Top 10 record dealer charts (3 of which were designated specially as jazz, which he also included), I came up with a total of 97 records for this week! A RM Top 97 weekly chart, imagine that! Of this list, Colin came up with 35 up-and-coming bubblers that had not yet appeared on any of the 5 UK main charts.

                                  Of course as statisticians will attest, it is mathematically incorrect to use 27 Top 10 charts to produce an average Top 97 chart, it would have a statistically high error rate. But for historical reasons, it's all we've got. It's this or nothing. I'll go with the 'this' rather than the 'nothing', ha.

                                  But I also learned (which is explained in the intro but is still kind of vague), these bubbler charts are not an add on to RM. Colin first re-created full RM charts, then subtracted off all the current or previous main chart hits, FROM ALL 5 UK CHARTS, not just RM. So we can't say these bubblers are an add-on to RM, they are instead an add-on to all the charts collectively. Because some records could have graduated from these bubbler charts to the other main charts NME-MM-Disc-RR, but not RM, and they would cease appearing on these future bubbler charts; whereas if a full RM chart was calculated, they would continue to appear for more weeks.

                                  So it's a very worthwhile book, with that qualification that these bubblers apply across all 5 UK charts collectively.

                                  I too would like to see Colin's full Record Mirror charts, and encourage him to publish that book! Or sell e-books. (Maybe KoS could undertake this as well.) Does anyone know Colin or how to contact him? He needs to find us here at UKMix...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Colin has gone to some length to find all these and I do not have them at all, or yes, anybody with these could replicate the same data. You could probably create a Top 25 or Top 30 form those Top 10's very easily, but I suspect this is why he has so many tied positions early on.
                                    http://thechartbook.co.uk - for the latest are best chart book - By Decade!
                                    Now including NME, Record Mirror and Melody Maker from the UK and some Billboard charts

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      If Robin came up with 97 hits from 27 shops those 1958 and 1959 should certainly do the 100 as they had 50 shops by then. Each shop only needs 2 unique records to produce the 100 with just the unique records alone! The more variations the bigger the chart produced.
                                      I think I will enlarge one of the lists and see how many records one can get.
                                      Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Got the book yesterday. Robin has already commented on the main weaknesses it contains. Going back to Alan’s precise analysis of the early charts we see that the inaccurate points system was the usual way of making charts in that era instead of using actual sales figures. That has caused too many ties in the old charts and multiplied them in the book. To me who tries to make chartruns of every chart I can get hold of the main problem is that Colin’s book excludes the downward movement of hits in the bubblers area. I would also have preferred that he tied the info to the RM chart from whence it came. However, the main issue must be all the new info Colin has supplied on records that sold less than the too few hits on those days charts, and he’s included flip sides and EP and LP tracks. Within his scope it is a thorough work, and the upper parts of the bubblers are definitely interesting.

                                        Guess we won’t get a long awaited chart with enough positions for the era till Graham extends his 50’s chart till March 60.

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