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Record Mirror Early Charts 1954 to 1955

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  • Greetings Pop Pickers !

    Record Mirror Dealers Returns Top 30 for Week Ending 7th May 1955 compiled from the published 33 dealer returns.

    Title and Artist Points Dealer
    2 1 Stranger In Paradise - Tony Bennett 216 26 1 2
    3 2 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado 213 24 2 1
    5 3 Earth Angel - The Crew Cuts 160 27 3 5
    4 4 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Eddy Calvert 142 21 4 4
    1 5 Give Me Your Word - Tennessee Ernie Ford 139 23 5 3
    8 6 Stranger In Paradise - Tony Martin 136 18 6 7
    10 7 Ready Willing And Able - Doris Day 79 17 7 9
    7 8 Wedding Bells - Eddie Fisher 63 18 8 8
    19 9 If You Believe - Johnnie Ray 53 9 9 -
    15 10 You My Love - Frank Sinatra 47 8 10 -
    6 11 Softly Softly - Ruby Murray 46 11 - 6
    11 12 Under The Bridges Of Paris - Dean Martin 45 11 - 13
    12 13 Prize Of Gold - Joan Regan 34 8 - 16
    17 14 Melody Of Love - The Ink Spots 32 7 - 10
    RE 15 Sincerely - The McGuire Sisters 30 7 - -
    25 16 Unchained Melody - Al Hibbler 28 7 - -
    14 17 Mambo Rock - Bill Haley and The Comets 21 5 - -
    9 18 If Anyone Finds This I Love You - Ruby Murray 19 4 - 12
    NEW 19 Unchained Melody - Jimmy Young 18 3 - 14
    13 20 Under The Bridges Of Paris - Eartha Kitt 16 5 - 11
    NEW 21 Carmen Jones - Original Soundtrack Album 16 2 - -
    20 22 Drinking Song - Mario Lanza 15.5 3 - -
    NEW 23 Mama - David Whitfield 13 2 - -
    18 24 Tomorrow - Johnny Brandon 11 3 - -
    29= 25 The Victory Waltz - Jimmy Shand 11 2 - -
    NEW 26 How Important Can It Be - Tony Brent 10 2 - -
    NEW 27 I Wonder - Dickie Valentine 10 2 - -
    29= 28 Stranger In Paradise - Eddie Calvert 10 1 - -
    26 29 Stranger In Paradise - Bing Crosby 9 2 - 17
    NEW 30 Unchained Melody - Les Baxter 8 3 - -
    - - Serenade - Mario Lanza - - - 15
    - - A Blossom Fell - Ronnie Hilton - - - 18
    - - Mobile - Ray Burns - - - 19
    - - I'll Walk With God - Mario Lanza - - - 20

    After just holding on at the top last week look at Tennessee Ernie take a BIG tumble all the way to No 5.
    Tony Bennett makes it to the top by 3 points. How Perez Prado must be cursing Eddie Calvert.
    Unchained Melody gaining momentum, 2 in the 20 and another at No 30.
    Carmen Jones becomes the second album to chart.

    Great Stuff ! Brian.


    • It's been close so far but for the first time the Dealer Returns Top Ten matches RM's own Top Ten. Final proof I think that the positions 11 - 20 detailed all along in the Dealer Return chart almost certainly would more or less have matched what RM could have compiled at the time but didn't. So I believe we have had a robust Top Twenty based on credible, factual, data from the time to complement the other charts from this era.

      I have always added the positions 21 -21 for 'fun' since October 1954. They do accurately follow the points gleaned from the Dealer Returns but as you can see in the lower positions these points are often in the singular with the propensity therefore for tied positions.

      Would you agree guys ?


      • Yes that is the way I have always looked at your chart; 11-20 a good indication of what RM would have had and 21-30 more for fun.

        It would be interesting to know how many shops the NME were actually using to compile their chart at this time and thereby get an idea of which was more accurate.


        • Originally posted by Splodj View Post
          Yes that is the way I have always looked at your chart; 11-20 a good indication of what RM would have had and 21-30 more for fun.

          It would be interesting to know how many shops the NME were actually using to compile their chart at this time and thereby get an idea of which was more accurate.
          From what I can remember of conversations I had with Dave Taylor a decade ago Splodj, he seemed to think NME were telephoning around 25 shops at this time, RM itself around the same, both from a pool of rotating shops. I'm now using around 30 plus for the dealer charts.


          • And that ends the 7 week reign of Prado. And yes the dealer chart has indeed got the same number one! Now can it keep Tony top for 3 more weeks?
            By the way Kismet the film that Stranger comes from was on the cinemas at this time. But if you have seen the film, then the chap who sings the song is not as good as Tony's version. The rest of the film is bit dull if you ask me too.
            Clearly these are the days when Hollywood was making Cinema-scope movies with Stereo soundtracks and the popularity is showing up in the charts. Howard Keel of course from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which seems to have been on in various cinemas, looking at those newspaper indexers, for the whole of the year! The MGM discs boasting taken direct from the stereo soundtrack of the film! On A 78!!!

            Calvert's version does sneak in a week after Tony's done. But Jimmy's new at entry at 19 (an early entry too, which surprised me) is six weeks away from the top!
            Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!


            • The speculation is fun Graham, NME , RM , My Dealer Returns Chart, your Real Chart. The romance we all have with the charts is in the differences each one portrays, yet each accurate in its own subtle way to its factual criteria of compilation.
              Similarly the later charts of MM, Disc, and the BBC would hold the same fascination for me. Strangely I exclude RR as I never knew their charts even existed until much much later.


              • Originally posted by MrTibbs View Post
                Strangely I exclude RR as I never knew their charts even existed until much much later.
                The same as most Brits in the 60s !!
                Last edited by RokinRobinOfLocksley; Fri May 22nd, 2020, 22:59.


                • Originally posted by RokinRobinOfLocksley View Post
                  The same as most Brits in the 60s !!
                  I'm also one of the 'rebels' Robin who can't accept the RR charts being accepted as 'official' until February 1969.


                  • Originally posted by MrTibbs View Post
                    Strangely I exclude RR as I never knew their charts even existed until much much later.
                    Not exactly true if you followed the Record Mirror charts after they stopped compiling their own. As they were the RR charts. So Record Mirror readers were following the charts of the paper.

                    I have found some information about the number of Woolworths stores in 1955. There was around 600 in the UK. Each one had to order a minimum of 200 copies of each of the Embassy records issued each month. An average of about six each month. So they could have flooded the market with 120K for one record! Assuming each store only took 200. By the end of the 50's they had 1,000+ stores and first pressings had gone to 20K.
                    Despite that clout the Real Chart has no Embassy chart toppers!
                    Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!


                    • I think the Record Retailer charts appearing in Record Mirror was a significant development for RR.

                      In his History of the Record Retailer Charts thread, Alan Smith starts by giving a very detailed history of RR but strangely omits this moment when they became available to the general public. He mentions their delayed inclusion in the BBC chart, but surely the fact that they started appearing in RM was a key factor in the BBC deciding to use them.


                      • Although I knew of Record Mirror back then I didn't follow their charts as I didn't buy it until late 1969 and by then it was using the BMRB charts. Prior to that it was the NME I bought throughout the sixties as I liked their chart page that also gave us the 5, 10, 15 years ago charts that fascinated me.
                        Like a lot of others throughout the sixties I actually thought the BBC charts were the 'official' at the time as they were used for TOTP and POTP.
                        it was in the early seventies that my hunger for all things charts took off big time including all the music paper charts. It was actually only with Tony Jasper's book in 1976 that I learned that RM stopped it's own chart and took RR in March 1962.


                        • From what I can gather the BBC chart uses what they called mainstream charts - ie ones available to the public. Hence why NME Disc melody Maker and RM where used. I may be mistaken but I don’t think they used Music Echo (I’m sure I will be corrected as it’s a long time since I read Alan’s article on the BBC chart) and am almost certainly Mersey Beat wasn’t used because it wasn’t preporting to be National. You must also be aware that the chart used by the BBC was compiled in house as a secondary task at least initially so not much time was spent on it I would assume so adding other charts would have added to that time.

                          We all know that in the 1950’s charts where seen as a novelty and for fun not the stuff of major hobbies they are today

                          One other thought struck me today as well re the RM dealer returns not being National as such (ie only one from Yorkshire etc). Where they getting dealer returns from the papers main sales areas? If the paper sold very well in London and the south then it would make sense that a dealer would want their store listed - relatively free advertising- in the paper vs a store in say York where RM didn’t sell at all and so the time invested wasn’t worth it. I have no proof of this theory of course but it may explain the lack of diverse data.

                          The BMRB chart from 1969 didn’t get Northern Irish data for ages due to post issues because of distance (again an assumption) so that could be a similar factor in the “odd” RM distribution of shops.
                 - for the latest are best chart book - By Decade!
                          Now including NME, Record Mirror and Melody Maker from the UK and some Billboard charts


                          • Sometimes Alan Freeman would mention the charts used, and I am trying to recall if he referred to them as Record Retailer or Record Mirror charts after March '62. Most people probably did think of them as Record Mirror charts.

                            I doubt RM made a big song and dance about the changeover and their readers would need to be very observant to notice the appearance of the RR accreditation, and even if they did they might think they were commissioned by RM in the same way NME outsourced for a while. I used to read Disc (sorry!) and it took me some time to realise they had changed to using MM.

                            Supposing that RM had not started taking the RR charts and the BBC therefore did not regard them to be mainstream and only the trade had ever seen them, it would be even more difficult to justify them as 'official'.


                            • Lonnie, Music Echo and Merseybeat were not used in the BBC chart compilation just as you thought.
                              I believe it was initially NME RM MM DISC. I'm sure once RM stopped RR started to be used but I don't know if this was immediately or later. When DISC dropped out in August 67 it was just NME MM RR.

                              Splodj I too can never remember RR even mentioned back in the sixties. It was always NME MM RR DISC BBC charts guys spoke about.


                              • There can be no doubt that the public knew the charts were not compiled by RR as this capture from just a few weeks after the introduction shows. The actual first use paper is not yet on the site that stores them.

                                It looks like by they were using past ups as the number one record has been pasted over the dotted line of the title. Each bit would have been typset on to small pieces of paper and then stuck on to a large sheet of paper. At the printer the sheet would have been scanned onto a metal plate, actually more like a photo negative onto the plate. The plate would then be fitted into an offset-lithio printer. An ink roller would press on the plate and the ink would go only on the black images of the plate, the plate then applied the image it to another roller. which then applied the ink image to the paper.
                                Hence offset!
                                Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!


                                • Even though that was the case though The Record Mirror had nowhere near the readers that NME or MM had, also most followed the BBC chart as seen and heard by millions too, so by comparison it was the least followed or acknowledged.
                                  I'm not saying it didn't exist, just that myself and many others weren't aware of it at the time for the above reasons.


                                  • Here's the deal on which charts the BBC was using for its average chart, this info from multiple articles/posts by Alan Smith and Dave Taylor.

                                    The BBC Pick of the Pops radio show started its chart by averaging together the NME, RM, and MM charts. Their Top 3 chart began on 28 Sep 57. Adding Disc to the mix sometime after it began on 8 Feb 58. Expanding to a Top 20 on 22 Mar 58.

                                    Starting 21 May 60, the BBC dropped the RM chart from its average calculations because RM went to a later chart compiling day, alas they couldn't get their results into the BBC on time by the weekly deadline.

                                    When RM ceased its own chart and began carrying the RR chart, on 30 Mar 62, the BBC would include the RR chart in its average calculations IF THE RR CHART ARRIVED ON TIME. Sometimes it would, other times not. I don't know % wise how often this was, I never saw where Alan or Dave mentioned how often. Was it 50%, or more? Who knows, ha. Maybe we could reverse engineer the BBC charts each week to find out, ha.

                                    Top of the Pops used this chart when they began on 1 Jan 64.

                                    But, beginning sometime in 1966, after RR was infused with cash from Billboard, they ramped themselves up, and got their charts into the BBC on time every week, so the BBC was now using NME, MM, Disc, and RR for its POTP / TOTP average chart.

                                    The BBC POTP radio chart went Top 30 on 23 Aug 67.

                                    On 30 Aug 67, Disc ceased producing their own chart, instead carrying the MM chart, so the BBC now had only NME, MM, and RR to calculate for its average chart.

                                    Then on 11 Feb 69, the BBC dropped their average chart and began carrying / using the BMRB / BARS chart.


                                    • The actual principle idea behind the BBC charts was sound. It would technically be a 'chart of charts'. By doing so and averaging out the music paper charts this eradicated any rogue record positions in any one chart thus giving a clear mean average which was much more reliable.

                                      However this basic principle fell down because of the erratic way the chart was then compiled. As mentioned above the RM chart was dropped in 1960 so the BBC chart lost 25% of its compilation information, and yes between 1962 and 1966 although in theory the RR chart was included it's inclusion was erratic because of missed deadlines. It's unknown how often this happened or when although Dave Taylor did once indicate to me that it wasn't an unusual occurrence.

                                      Then there was the issue of ties. Initially nothing was done to separate them, then Derek Chinnery the initial chart compiler used his system to separate them, then his successor Denys Jones used a different system ( I got how from Dave Taylor) sometimes but not other times so this just led to a mess with no consistency.

                                      The most shocking of all though was Dave Taylor had been told by Derek Chinnery that he gave the music papers to his young grand daughter and she added up the points for him. As a result errors and omissions were made.

                                      All this was a shame because if a more robust system had been used consistently then the BBC charts could easily have been seen as the definitive charts today for that era given their exposure On Top Of The Pops and Pick Of The Pops.

                                      The next Dealer Return Charts for May 14th 1955 will be up later today.


                                      • For what it's worth, I've also spent a little time trying to find out the circulation rates / sales of the various music papers for the 60s, with mixed results.

                                        NME was the largest circulated paper, with sales bouncing all over from the 50s to the 70s. Various internet sources say weekly sales were:

                                        --20,000 in 1952
                                        --200,000 in 1962, more than all others combined
                                        --306,881 in 1964
                                        --300,000 1964 to 1966, more than all other music papers combined
                                        --200,000 the later part of the 60s
                                        --60,000 in the early 70s
                                        --130,000 in the early 70s
                                        --272,000 in 1973
                                        --nearly 300,000 in mid 1973, more than MM, Disc, RM, and Sounds

                                        Couldn't find any specific MM weekly sales in the 60s, but found these:

                                        --200,000 in 1970
                                        --250,000 in the mid 70s

                                        Record Mirror weekly sales:

                                        --had fallen to 18,000 by the end of 1960
                                        --then rising to nearly 70,000
                                        --120,000 for the Nov 1963 Beatles cover issue
                                        --dropping to 60,000 the week after that
                                        --136,000 in the 70s, lagging NME and MM

                                        Couldn't find any weekly sales info for Disc and RR.

                                        Top Pops / Music Now weekly sales:

                                        --78,000 for 1967/68

                                        BBC Top of the Pops viewers:

                                        There were 2 different type of TV viewing measurements, one measured number of households (the # of TV's), another measured/calculated the # of viewers in front of those TV's. The # of households watching Top of the Pops from 1964 to 1969 was 6.1 million, which translated to x 2 for peeps = 12.2 million peeps per week.


                                        So you have:

                                        --the NME chart, also carried in national and regional newspapers
                                        --the MM chart, also carried in Disc starting 1967, Music Business Weekly starting 1969, also in national and regional newspapers
                                        --the RR chart, also carried in RM starting 1962
                                        --the Disc chart
                                        --the RM chart, also in some newspapers
                                        --the BBC chart, carried on radio POTP and TV TOTP, the overwhelming granddaddy of them all in the 60s in terms of weekly exposure, 12.2 million weekly viewers, how many more listeners on radio?

                                        Of all the various music paper charts, from 1960 to 1962 RR was the least known/followed. From 1962 to 1967, the least known/followed chart was either Disc or RR. From 1967 to Feb 1969, it was either RR or Top Pops/Music Now. NME was top dog, followed by MM. But the BBC chart eclipsed them all.

                                        Edit: although it's possible the NME chart in all the newspapers could have surpassed the BBC chart, but the NME newspaper chart was different than the one in the NME music paper, sampling fewer shops over just a few of the most recent days...

                                        Edit 2: RM charts were also in some newspapers, per Alan Smith

                                        Edit 3: MM was also carried in Music Business Weekly, not Sounds, per Alan Smith
                                        Last edited by RokinRobinOfLocksley; Sun May 24th, 2020, 23:06.


                                        • Greetings Pop Pickers !

                                          Record Mirror Dealers Returns Top 30 for Week Ending 14th May 1955 compiled from the published 34 dealer returns.

                                          Title and Artist Points Dealer
                                          1 1 Stranger In Paradise - Tony Bennett 268 30 1 1
                                          4 2 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Eddie Calvert 182 24 3 3
                                          2 3 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado 181 21 2 2
                                          9 4 If You Believe - Johnnie Ray 120 19 6 8
                                          6 5 Stranger In Paradise - Tony Martin 116 16 7 7
                                          3 6 Earth Angel - The Crew Cuts 110.5 21 5 4
                                          16 7 Unchained Melody - Al Hibbler 102 18 8 11
                                          5 8 Give Me Your Word - Tennessee Ernie Ford 98 22 4 5
                                          7 9 Ready Willing And Able - Doris Day 66 16 10 14
                                          10 10 You My Love - Frank Sinatra 59 13 - -
                                          8 11 Wedding Bells - Eddie Fisher 47 10 9 9
                                          30 12 Unchained Melody - Les Baxter 41 9 - 17
                                          11 13 Softly Softly - Ruby Murray 40 10 - 6
                                          NEW 14 Flip Flop And Fly - Johnnie Ray 24 6 - -
                                          RE 15 I'll Walk With God - Mario Lanza 24 3 - -
                                          15 16 Sincerely - The McGuire Sisters 21.5 6 - -
                                          20 17 Under The Bridges Of Paris - Eartha Kitt 20 5 - 12
                                          RE 18 Alexander's Ragtime Band - Johnnie Ray 19 4 - -
                                          NEW 19 Stranger In Paradise - The Four Aces 16 3 - -
                                          19 20 Unchained Melody - Jimmy Young 14 2 - 13
                                          17 21 Mambo Rock - Bill Haley and The Comets 13 4 - -
                                          NEW 22 The Crazy Otto Rag - The Stargazers 10 4 - -
                                          14 23 Melody Of Love - The Ink Spots 10 4 - 15
                                          18 24 If Anyone Finds This I Love You - Ruby Murray 10 4 - 10
                                          22 25= Drinking Song - Mario Lanza 10 1 - -
                                          NEW 25= Kismet - Original Soundtrack Album 10 1 - -
                                          RE 27 Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Xavier Cugat 9 2 - -
                                          NEW 28 I Wonder - Jane Froman 9 2 - -
                                          NEW 29 Salad Days - Original Soundtrack Album 9 1 - -
                                          13 30 Prize Of Gold - Joan Regan 8 5 - 16
                                          - - Under The Bridges Of Paris - Dean Martin - - - 18
                                          - - Stranger In Paradise - Eddie Calvert - - - 19
                                          - - Serenade - Mario Lanza - - - 20

                                          With the exception of No 1 although agreeing on 9 of the same records The Dealer Returns Chart Top 10 and The RM 10 go their own way on chart positions obviously depending on the individual sample used, much the same as the NME.
                                          Johnnie Ray is playing the London Palladium so his records fly of the record shop shelves and chart accordingly.
                                          Tony Bennett now opens up a commanding lead at the top but look at Eddie Calvert take No 2 by just one point.
                                          Another 2 albums sell enough to make the chart in the bottom ten.
                                          Jane Froman temporarily elbows Dickie Valentine's version out of the chart.
                                          The versions of Stranger and Unchained are taking over the chart.

                                          The Heat Is On ! Brian.


                                          • Really informative and interesting article Robin. It puts a lot of information into perspective


                                            • I don't understand how in 1960 the BBC could have dropped RM because they were too late. Pick Of the Pops was not broadcast until after RM was published. Did RM issues keep appearing with an apology that they could not include the charts because they hadn't compiled them in time?

                                              I can't see how any late submission problems arose until 1964 when Top Of The Pops appeared.


                                              • Splodj, here's what Alan Smith posted about the BBC / RM situation:


                                                "Pick and Top of the Pops" No 1's

                                                Sat July 14th, 2012, 09:11

                                                “Pick and Top of the Pops” January 1964 - 6th February 1969.

                                                The first version of the BBCs, Pick Of The Pops programme was broadcast on 4 October 1955 and was hosted by Franklyn Engleman. After about a year Alan Dell took over, a few months later David Jacobs became the host.

                                                The first few years the show played randomly selected records that were high in the various music paper charts. There was no chart run down at all, just a random selection.

                                                On 29 March 1958 the first important change was introduced. From this date the program would play the new entries that week, then the climbers and finally the top three. It finished by playing a choice of new releases that week.

                                                This came about due to four national charts being published weekly by March 1958. These were the New Musical Express Top 30 and the Record Mirror, Melody Maker and Disc Top 20s.

                                                BBC producer Derek Chinnery would receive the four charts and conduct a points system to work out a weighted average chart. One point would be given to a number 1 position on a chart; two points for a number 2, and so on! There was a system applied by Derek to cut down too many tied positions which was rather complicated. It utilised the `last week` positions regarding records moving up or down the chart before they tied! The system wasn’t applied to No1 tied placements, hence the chart having quite a few in its early years, particularly 1959!

                                                The chart was compiled on a Friday to be broadcast that evening from 11pm. It was a Top 20 to 14 April 1962. On this date the Melody Maker chart increased from a Top 20 to Top 30. This meant that along with the New Musical Express Top 30 and Record Retailer Top 50, there was enough data to compile the Pick Of The Pops Top 30. Discs chart increased to a Top 30 on 6 October 1962.

                                                From June 27 to 8 August a newspaper strike hit all papers bar the NME. However! The charts were still compiled and handed over to Derek Chinnery for him to use in this period.

                                                From 21 May 1960 only the New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Disc charts were used due to the Record Mirror charts not being handed to the BBC in time for use.

                                                Another national chart had commenced on March 10 1960 in the trade paper Record Retailer. It was a top 50 in size. The Record Retailer chart was not used at this time by Derek Chinnery as it was not regarded then as an important listing.

                                                From the week ending Saturday 8 April 1961 the charts were now compiled on Thursdays.

                                                On 23 September 1961 Alan Freeman took over as host. The show was part of a bigger programme titled “Trad Tavern” which was set up to cover the burgeoning Trad Jazz boom of 1961-2. Pick Of The Pops was included as part of the whole. In January 1962 Pick Of The Pops went back to its solo status.

                                                From 30 March 1962 the Record Retailer chart was now included as it was now being published in Record Mirror (Record Mirror discontinued its own chart on 24 March 1962due to high postal costs.) The chart was occasionally too late to be used from 1962 to 1966. However it was no where as often late as Record Mirrors, own listing used to be, so it was kept in the averaged chart.


                                                • And Dave Taylor's notes about the BBC / RM, from his BBC chart file:

                                                  From 21st May 1960, Only NME, MM, and DISC charts, are used for the average positions, due to Record Mirror, having a later compilation date, than the other 3.

                                                  The Record Retailer chart was not included until Record Mirror, began using their charts in March 1962. The Record Retailer chart, did not have a big following in the 60s, because it did not sample, as many shops, as the others. Melody Maker, sampled the most shops, through until 1969.

                                                  Starting from 30th March 1962, the averaged chart, from Derek Chinnery/BBC, was again based on 4 published charts, NME, MELODY MAKER, DISC, and RECORD RETAILER/RECORD MIRROR.


                                                  • I don't think Record Retailer's following in the 60's was anything to do with the sample size. I would put it down to the fact it was a trade only publication for the record industry and shops. I have never seen a full Record Retailer from the 1960's, only bits of them. They seem to be rare as hen's teeth! Even the Music Magazine USA site has only Music Week back to 1978! So I don't know if like the future Music Week it had the top 50 poster for shops to display to the public, back in the 60's. If they did, apart from Record Mirror, that would be the only contact the public would have had with what would become the official chart. Hence why it's look down as a chart representing the 60's.
                                                    Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!