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THE UK SHEET MUSIC CHARTS - Week By Week From December 1939

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  • Polygoner
    replied
    Regarding the sheet music charts from December 1939. The SM charts were previously published from 1937 to 1938 in The Era, a trade publication, I believe. Then they start up again in late 1939. The data from 1939 onwards was included in the Britburn spreadsheets, which have been available for some time here: http://www.britburn.co.uk/files/ If anyone wants to see the weekly SM charts for this period, that is the best readily-accessible source which I'm aware of. You just need to download the spreadsheets. I wonder who first transcribed it though? There are, of course, multiple gaps during the war, but has every trade publication been checked for those particular weeks, to ascertain that the SM charts were definitely not published? So much chart data comes from secondary sources though. A primary source would surely be the original newspapers/magazines who published the charts (ie. the Musical Express or Melody Maker).

    Indeed, as mentioned above, The Wholesale Music Distributors' Association originally compiled the SM charts, and then the Music Publishers Association took over. What happened to the WMDA and their archive though? I've read that the MM first published SM charts back in the 1920s, which is when the magazine first appeared. I'm sceptical of this, personally.

    I can understand MrTibbs deciding not to continue with the weekly sheet music charts here - one way or another, the data is out there. It looks like the Pop Music History site has incorporated information from The Missing Charts though, by assigning songs to particular artists. So one must be careful when using the data from PMH, and that is why I would recommend the Britburn spreadsheets instead, which list the more pertinent information for sheet music charts (publisher and composers, without a particular recording).

    It would be really good if all the sheet music chart entries were listed in a book covering the whole period of their existence, as in First Hits. I tried pitching such an idea to various publishers a few years ago but got little interest. I don't really have the energy to do it myself, but anyone who did want to do such a book like that would have my full support. Like First Hits, it should list all the recorded versions which were available at the time a song was in the charts.

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  • Polygoner
    replied
    Originally posted by trebor View Post
    Here is a live version of Pop Music History. Sheet Music Is HERE.
    I've been reading this site again today, and while a lot of it is useful, some of the data seems to lack evidence. The different newspaper charts and label listings for record companies are worth having. It would be good to know who actually owns the website - there's no name credited, and no contact details. The assertions about sheet music vs record sales ("Myths") seem rather strongly worded and come across as somewhat opinionated. Sheet music was more popular than gramophone records in the pre-NME singles chart era, and it's as reliable a document of what songs people liked as any we're going to find.

    From 1940 onwards, there is The Missing Charts, a book by Steve Waters, taken from the late Colin Brown's data, which came from record company shipping orders, I believe. I rather dismissed the book at the time it was released, but I would be interested in having it. Now the book is oddly out of print. I don't see why it was published as a "limited edition" run and why it can't just be kept in print. I'll keep an eye out for used copies. It's probably interesting if you don't regard it as gospel - after all, it's based on orders, not actual sales.

    Back to Pop Music History. The Sheet Music by 78s section (quoted above) says the following
    First, this is not the true situation regarding total UK record sales of the period, but merely an assignment of the most popular versions bought for those songs where sheet music sales were popular. As an example, in November 1948 Ethel Smith was outselling every other record with her organ instrumental “The Green Cockatoo” yet no version of this song made it into the Sheet Music charts that year (it had appeared 2 years earlier for both Roberto Inglez and Mantovani), whilst in July 1948 Sam Browne was at No. 2 in the Sheet Music Charts with “Heartbreaker” with relatively small record sales.

    In some cases versions appear because they were on the other side of the record where the main side was also included in the Sheet Music charts.
    So this Pop Music History listing links hit songs to record versions by different artists. OK, so I'm aware of two sources this site could have used: (a) retrospectively published data from The Missing Charts and (b) contemporary singles charts from the NME, Record Mirror et al. It can then be ascertained that if Mr Smith was the only person to record a song, his was the "hit version". Artists have also been assigned to songs based on the other side of the single having been a sheet music hit.

    It's not explained very well: the listing's function appears to be that it tells us the most popular versions of sheet music hits from 1946 to 1959 (the period covered by the excellent book First Hits by Brian Henson and Colin Morgan). Then, at the end of the PMH list, there's a couple of dozen "SHEET MUSIC ONLY AVAILABLE" titles with no artist list. For some of these, it's clearly because the sheet music charted prior to any recordings being available (ie. "Side Saddle", "That Doggie in the Window" et al). I'm not sure why "Stranger in Paradise" is included - it first charted on 2/4/1955, and virtually all the recordings were released that month. Perhaps if that's a week-ending date, the sheet music sales would have come from the end of March, when recordings had yet to be released. But what are "Suvla Bay" and "All Dressed Up With a Broken Heart" doing there? Perhaps they come from The Missing Charts; they don't appear in First Hits. Maybe PMH has tried to incorporate TMC data into the weekly SM charts? The SM charts were not expanded from a top 10 into a top 20 until 28 May 1949. The SM charts of 1949 can be seen at https://www.popmusichistory.co.uk/sheet-music. For 8 Jan 1949, the chart is a Top 17! Songs in the lower reaches of the chart don't appear in First Hits, so I reckon this PMH compiler has basically added record sales hits from TMC below the end of the sheet music chart. I don't have access to TMC book, but I would guess this is what has been done.

    Does the compiler have access to post-1952 record sales data from Colin Brown? In 1953, "Tell Me You're Mine" is listed as a SM hit by David Hughes and The Stargazers, but neither version made the "official" chart, and there were multiple other recordings of "Tell Me You're Mine" available when the song was a hit. Why not include these? Presumably the list is indicating that the David Hughes and Stargazers versions were the most popular, but with no evidence or source to back it up. Another example is "I Believe", which was a big no1 hit for Frankie Laine. PMH also lists the Jane Froman recording as a SM hit, but again, with no evidence or source. It would certainly be interesting to compare the post-1952 data which Colin Brown collated with what the NME were publishing at the time. I assume Steve Waters has it all.

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  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. There's an air of a local paper about the bulletin now, with an attached births/deaths, jobs vac, bank interest rate column, and there's signs that there may not be 30 titles selling enough to warrant a chart position..... We are missing a week from June and July. Evident is the huge appeal for music from the movie "The Sting", a No.1 with a 1902 melody, plus the film's theme.


    MPA Apr 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/co6i51wdpr...01974.pdf?dl=0

    MPA May 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3g11y70p3i...01974.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jun 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0r1biyqvza...01974.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Jul 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/no55edeupj...01974.pdf?dl=0


    more to come....

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Catastrophe! They ask someone else to compile the charts, and it is clear that person does not understand dates, joint positions, or be bothered to compile a chart at all! It's like 1952 again. So, we are missing several weeks in October, December and January. By the end of February some equilibrium is restored, and the music publishers can breathe again.

    MPA Oct-Nov 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/80lcwrbfoc...01973.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Dec 1973-Jan 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/a7qh9gg3xw...01974.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Feb 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/wjzibo6w3h...01974.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Mar 1974
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/z4fk561exy...01974.pdf?dl=0

    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    This next batch has a week missing in September.

    MPA Jun 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/j9ag9ifrxy...01973.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jul 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/iorr48dqly...01973.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Aug 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/syazxqhl1s...01973.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Sep 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jk0lzh4iqb...01973.pdf?dl=0


    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Thanks Robbie for that vital background : a double -sider it was!

    Here's the next batch: we are missing a week from March and May.

    MPA Feb 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nfwl2ng6ch...01973.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Mar 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/hpixy3jdx8...01973.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Apr 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3gxvo8vi1z...01973.pdf?dl=0


    MPA May 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/uwv91lfb9g...01973.pdf?dl=0

    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    I heard an interview with Paul in which he was still denying that it was 'body gun' and saying he wished he had thought of that expression instead!

    Leave a comment:


  • Metalweb
    replied
    ^

    Managed to read the interview on e-bay with a bit of squinting....

    I'd forgotten how risque the lyrics to 'Hi Hi Hi' were - "polygon" ?!?

    Leave a comment:


  • Robbie
    replied
    Yes, 'Hi Hi Hi' and 'C Moon' were both in the same sheet music booklet, along with an interview with both Paul and Linda. There's a copy currently for sale on ebay for 10.

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    The double-sider at no extra cost!

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. You will notice that on its way to No.1 "My Ding A Ling" suddenly disappears for a week;

    Also, there's a first: a "double-sider" music sheet? Did they combine separate sales of "Hi Hi Hi " with "C Moon", or print both songs on the same sheet? Was the last page the upside down first page of the other song??


    MPA Oct 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/xzp4ofbsm1...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Nov 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/bc41fhkani...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Dec 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/1g865ektcp...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jan 1973
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ekhkwld4hu...01973.pdf?dl=0



    more to come....
    Last edited by membranemusic; Thu September 2, 2021, 18:57.

    Leave a comment:


  • Robbie
    replied
    Originally posted by Metalweb View Post

    Isn't it more likely the other way around?

    The 'Wellerman' song is supposed to be about 150 years old!
    Ah, I didn't know that! Or if I did, I forgot...

    Leave a comment:


  • Metalweb
    replied
    Originally posted by Robbie View Post
    'The Lightning Tree' by The Settlers is the excellent theme tune to a great (or at least I thought so at the time) childrens TV programme called Follyfoot. Nathan Evans, who reached number 1 this year with 'Wellerman' appears to have based his song on this theme tune as it sounds so similar!
    Isn't it more likely the other way around?

    The 'Wellerman' song is supposed to be about 150 years old!

    Leave a comment:


  • Robbie
    replied
    Originally posted by membranemusic View Post

    The Settlers are another act that struggled to reach to the record Top 30, but have a sheet music Top Tenner. And I've never seen 6 titles tie for No. 29 before.
    'The Lightning Tree' by The Settlers is the excellent theme tune to a great (or at least I thought so at the time) childrens TV programme called Follyfoot. Nathan Evans, who reached number 1 this year with 'Wellerman' appears to have based his song on this theme tune as it sounds so similar!

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. The MPA here announces that there will be no charts for the 1st 2 weeks of September due to staff shortages. And there's another coffee stain to which I admit no responsibility.

    MPA Jun 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hbgmlq3i6...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jul 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/hklc9l1u2u...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Aug 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/oli6ru2kck...01972.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Sep 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vntejdd4rw...01972.pdf?dl=0


    more to come....

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. Missing 1 chart in April. No surprise that "Theme From Onedin Line" is a big seller.

    MPA Feb 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/l0nqjlhq8x...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Mar 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/caphmosfc4...01972.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Apr 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jjbb2gnwkw...01972.pdf?dl=0


    MPA May 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/cmi91u5vad...01972.pdf?dl=0

    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. We are missing 1 chart from January (unless they took 2 weeks off), and another phone number has had to be covered.

    The Settlers are another act that struggled to reach to the record Top 30, but have a sheet music Top Tenner. And I've never seen 6 titles tie for No. 29 before.

    MPA Oct 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/678892jx66...01971.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Nov 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/hzf9jr6bi2...01971.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Dec 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/w1ud830zjl...01971.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jan 1972
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/79l3ex6lae...01972.pdf?dl=0

    more to come.....

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Yes, of course, that's the reason: postal strike! Why didn't I think of that? Just as well I have you correspondents for reaction. So, only the MPA would know if they compiled a telephone chart, but then probably not as there was no media outlet for the chart at that time apart from the occasional Record Retailer insertion, So they probably would not have bothered.

    Here's the next batch: we are missing one week in August, and holiday relief are trying out a new electric typewriter:

    MPA Jun 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/9h1k287fhs...1%20b.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jul 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t2p680qxc7...01971.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Aug 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/78ds49nxtg...01971.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Sep 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ss0pptoc58...01971.pdf?dl=0

    more to come....



    Leave a comment:


  • Robbie
    replied
    ^
    is it possible there were no charts produced during both February and March 1971? There was a national postal strike during almost the whole of the two months. The UK Singles chart was affected at the time because of this (due to no postal returns the BMRB compiled a top 40 possibly by using telephone returns. There was no albums chart compiled by the BMRB during the same period). Perhaps either the MPA didn't produce any charts during the two months or if they did the charts weren't able to be sent to subscribers.

    Edit: beaten to it by KoS!

    Leave a comment:


  • kingofskiffle
    replied
    Those weeks (Feb and Mar) are the postal strike weeks. It could be that they did not compile those weeks for that reason.

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    There's all sorts of anomalies when compared to the record chart - but that's always been the case since the 50s.

    In this batch we are missing the first January chart, which was in essence the 'xmas break' chart, and also one in April. Sadly we are missing all of February and March 1971, reasons unknown.

    MPA Dec 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/hy19gg43y9...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jan 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0tttuy97bj...01971.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Apr 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/elf5rr549k...01971.pdf?dl=0

    MPA May 1971
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/opclpdcg9t...01971.pdf?dl=0

    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    'Tip Of My Fingers' up at 3, when it only reached 15 in the records chart.

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Here's the next batch. It seems they have not totally grasped that new fangled thing called "rock music": the title is "25 or 6 to 4", and not "25 or 6 to 4 Chicago".

    MPA Aug 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/m5ogqr4zll...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Sep 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/r2bue5atgg...01970.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Oct 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/7gf1jj30dg...01970.pdf?dl=0


    MPA Nov 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/q84of9odet...01970.pdf?dl=0

    more to come....

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    In the interests of confidentiality I've had to place a post-it note on one sheet which had a telephone number written on it. For all I know it could have been a famous songwriter's 1970s number, but I did not want those waters to be tested, even after all this time!

    I have to report there was a secretarial malfunction at the beginning of May 1970. There was no chart for 2 May 1970, but 2 for the previous week. I concluded that due to the pressure of work in their busy office, the typist forgot to type in new dates. Using risers and fallers as a guide, I have noted which I think should be the 2 May chart.

    The Let It Be album produces 1 extra non-single sheet music hit - no surprises which title.

    Here's the next batch:

    MPA Apr 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/7qf95buvx6...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA May 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vm6yztud7j...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jun 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/cnjs1mlwdj...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jul 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/y59ntgn4iv...01970.pdf?dl=0


    more to come...

    Leave a comment:


  • membranemusic
    replied
    Well spotted in the front row there. Next batch misses a week from January 70.

    MPA Dec 1969
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jxyiykyfy0...01969.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Jan 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0f5jitzrt0...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Feb 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/7nleq5gbzb...01970.pdf?dl=0

    MPA Mar 1970
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzwc92x1fi...01970.pdf?dl=0


    Leave a comment:

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