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

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  • Splodj
    replied
    In 1965, when Woolworths stopped selling the Embassy covers, they installed displays for EMI and Decca. I imagine the chart compilers did not want to use them because it would have been unfair to the other record labels. Also, as the Woolworths Museum site says, the EMI and Decca displays "mainly focused on back catalogue items" rather than the charts. And you could definitely buy new records on the day of release as I can recall doing so.

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  • Graham76man
    replied
    I don't think having Woolies on board would have slowed down any chart. When they were on board after 1975 the chart wasn't slowed down at all. In fact what I think slowed the charts down at times was not having the full range of shops on board. Plus the record companies just were not releasing as many records till the middle 70's. The early 1950's charts of NME were dead slow. If you compare the last distribution chart of the Missing Hits book with the NME charts of few weeks later it's like NME's bunch of shops never got any new records at all! No wonder the chap who complied the Missing Charts thought that the NME chart was made up by the office girls!

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Originally posted by Gambo View Post
    ^ Interesting stuff. It strikes me that it is a shame Woolies weren't as forthcoming with the BMRB in 1969 when approached to contribute towards the new industry-backed national sales charts as they apparently had been with providing data to the MPA on sheet music sales in the 1950s! I suppose as ever they were known for adopting a 'pick 'n' mix' approach....
    I totally agree. To briefly step aside from the sheet music topic just to add to your comment, if Woolworths, who sold more singles than any other store, had from the start contributed to the BMRB chart it would have perhaps been much more robust from the start with lots more diary submission and as a massive nationwide store group would have hugely impacted the content of the chart.

    My problem with Woolworths though, even then, is that they would only stock records already in the chart, so new releases and other available singles would be hugely disadvantaged which would in turn have considerably slowed down the chart.

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  • Gambo
    replied
    ^ Interesting stuff. It strikes me that it is a shame Woolies weren't as forthcoming with the BMRB in 1969 when approached to contribute towards the new industry-backed national sales charts as they apparently had been with providing data to the MPA on sheet music sales in the 1950s! I suppose as ever they were known for adopting a 'pick 'n' mix' approach....

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    The Radio Luxembourg Top Twenty Show's first presenter was Teddy Johnson who a few years later would become a recording artist in his own right who himself would record many songs that appeared in the sheet music chart. From the start it was Luxembourg's policy to vary the versions of a song they played each week so no one artist was favoured unless the only available recording was theirs.

    Melody Maker and NME both at this time paid 25 guineas each for the privilege of publishing the MPA charts. By the early fifties the MPA charts were compiled from around 65 major retailers sending in returns including Woolworths and British Home Stores. By 1959 though only 35 returns were being submitted. This drop in returns was perhaps the catalyst for Luxembourg finally moving over to a record chart Top 20.

    The last song generally believed to sell a million copies was That Doggie In The Window in 1953, the first evidence that the era of sheet music domination over records was beginning to wane.

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  • Splodj
    replied
    To summarise info on the sheet music chart shows ..

    Luxembourg's first Top 20 show was on 1-Oct-48 at 11pm. The chart was from the previous week - i.e. the music press had already published the following week's chart by the time of broadcast. In May 1949 they started using the MPA chart.

    Meanwhile the BBC Light Programme started its 'Hit Parade' on 4-Jan-49 at 8pm. This is the same title of the AFN programme they had broadcast during the war and the later TV programme. However whereas the BBC had bands performing the hits, Luxy played records.

    When 'Pick Of The Pops' started there was a short overlap period when 'Hit Parade' was still running.

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  • Graham76man
    replied
    The First Hits book suggests it was the sheer popularity of the "Top Twenty" show that kept the station using the Music Publishers Association charts. I suspect also the sheet music charts had a wider appeal to older listeners to the station, with less noisy Rock and Roll tracks being played. A bit like today - you wouldn't listen to Radio Two if you wanted the latest chart hits.

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  • Robbie
    replied
    Perhaps Luxembourg had a vested interest in maintaining the sheet music charts as their main chart. Didn't they have a variety of record company sponsored programmes? By not identifying a hit song with only one or two artists (as would happen in a sales chart) would that have led to labels wanting to spend more money to promote their version of a song? Though that suggestion does fall down by the late 1950s as multiple versions of songs were falling out of fashion.

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Originally posted by Splodj View Post
    Why didn't Luxembourg change over to record charts until 1960? That is ridiculously late!
    I've often pondered that one myself. Pop pundits generally agree that the record chart overtook the sheet music chart by late 1955 so it is strange that the most hip radio station of the time didn't jump on the record chart bandwagon a lot sooner.

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  • Splodj
    replied
    Why didn't Luxembourg change over to record charts until 1960? That is ridiculously late!

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  • Cyril
    replied
    The New Musical Express (NME) printed the Sheet Music chart listing the song/title. The NME chart carried a chart date so looking at the NME published on Friday 6 September 1963 this shows a chart date of Tuesday 3 September 1963. This chart corresponds with the sheet music chart of Saturday 31 August 1963 shown on the Pop Music History listings.

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  • Graham76man
    replied
    Originally posted by brian05 View Post
    And again,

    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO, DOLLY! - LOUIS ARMSTRONG and The ALL STARS London HLR9878
    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO DOLLY - FRANKIE VAUGHAN Philips BF1339
    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO DOLLY - KENNY BALL and His JAZZMEN Pye Jazz 7NJ2071

    They can't all be selling the same amount of sheet music?
    The Sheet music being sold was just Hello Dolly. The artists and record label numbers are added to let the public know that it's been recorded and available by the following acts. Sheet Music tended to put the most popular artist on the cover to help sell it. None of the artists actually put out a sheet music. Had they done that (which would have been completely pointless by the way, unless you just wanted a picture of the artist) each sheet would have separate position.
    In the 1940's to 1950's the system was that if you could write a song you would take it to the Music Publishers, a bit like book writing. They would publish and print the copies off. It would then be taken to the record labels and a guy would sing and play it on a piano to the A&R men of each label. They if they liked the tune/song would then say that would suit this artist and they would then record it.
    The best songs/tunes could be recorded by 10 or more artists. Sometimes on the same label.
    Many of the songs came from the USA too (such as Hello Dolly), even in the 60's the system was still working like that, hence all the people singing Lennon and McCartney songs. However those two guys did break the system. And more and more artists came forward to write and sing their own songs.

    If anyone's name should be on Hello Dolly then it should be (Jerry) Gerald Sheldon Herman. The guy who wrote it.

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  • brian05
    replied
    And again,

    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO, DOLLY! - LOUIS ARMSTRONG and The ALL STARS London HLR9878
    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO DOLLY - FRANKIE VAUGHAN Philips BF1339
    20-Jun-1964 2 1 HELLO DOLLY - KENNY BALL and His JAZZMEN Pye Jazz 7NJ2071

    They can't all be selling the same amount of sheet music?

    Leave a comment:


  • brian05
    replied
    A great week for The Beatles.

    14-Dec-1963 1 1 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND - The BEATLES Parlophone R5084
    14-Dec-1963 4 3 SHE LOVES YOU - The BEATLES Parlophone R5055
    14-Dec-1963 NEW 8 MONEY (From “With The Beatles” L.P.) - The BEATLES Parlophone PMC1206
    14-Dec-1963 24 19 ALL MY LOVING (From “With The Beatles” L.P.) - The BEATLES Parlophone PMC1206
    14-Dec-1963 NEW 21 I WANNA BE YOUR MAN (From “With The Beatles” L.P.) - The BEATLES Parlophone PMC1206
    14-Dec-1963 NEW 22 ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN (From “With The Beatles” L.P.) - The BEATLES Parlophone PMC1206
    14-Dec-1963 RE 23 TWIST AND SHOUT {3rd Re-entry} - The BEATLES Parlophone GEP8882
    14-Dec-1963 RE 26 I'LL GET YOU {Re-entry} - The BEATLES Parlophone R5055
    14-Dec-1963 NEW 30 TILL THERE WAS YOU (From “With The Beatles” L.P.) - The BEATLES Parlophone PMC120

    So even B-sides and LP tracks could enter the Top 30 chart many years before Ed Sheeran was heard of.

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Brian I think from what I see that available versions of songs were just randomly allocated to the sheet music chart position. At least for these years the record chart clearly indicated the best selling versions.

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  • brian05
    replied
    How do you explain these chart positions?

    10-Aug-1963 3 3 TWIST AND SHOUT - The BEATLES Parlophone GEP8882
    10-Aug-1963 3 3 TWIST AND SHOUT - BRIAN POOLE & The TREMELOES Decca F11694
    10-Aug-1963 3 3 TWIST AND SHOUT - The ISLEY BROTHERS Stateside SS112

    and,

    12-Oct-1963 2 1 DO YOU LOVE ME - BRIAN POOLE & The TREMELOES Decca F11739
    12-Oct-1963 2 1 DO YOU LOVE ME - The DAVE CLARK FIVE Columbia DB7112

    Why are all versions treated equally?

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  • Robbie
    replied
    Does anyone know who owns / owned the Tiscali / popmusic history website? I remember the Tiscali version of the website from a decade ago. I think it may have gone offline around 2018 when owner TalkTalk closed the Tiscali Webspace servers. Good find of the live website by trebor as I thought the website was only living on via the Internet Archive link posted by Robin.

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  • kjell
    replied
    Some years ago I went thoroughly through the Tiscali site in order to extract more info from it. I found that in addition to sheet music positions it also used info from record charts to be able to include different versions, and some versions that were not record hits are also included. Obviously the site has problems with when to use ties where different versions appeared and when not. Positions for included records that did not chart seems to be based om educated guesses. My conclusion was that though far from perfect this contains interesting additional info that as of now is nowhere else to be found. Brian’s UAC of 54-55 is more reliable and his coming 55-59 will also be more reliable.

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  • trebor
    replied
    From: www.popmusichistory.co.uk
    by unknown author


    UK Sheet Music by Record Charts 1946 - 1959

    A brief explanation of this section.

    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.

    The early charts 1946 – May 1947 did not state chart positions. Instead the Top 10 was listed alphabetically with any song starting with the letter A appearing to beat anything starting with the letter B. Those song titles beginning with a bracket always beat everything else. In the listings in this document these early tracks are shown as position *

    Myths
    If you believe the rubbish that appears over and over again regarding sheet music you may be forgiven for believing that as people did not own gramophones they spent every evening at home having a sing-song around the piano. Whilst some people may have done this, most of the non-gramophonies would be more likely to be listening to the radio, chatting, reading or going out. Those who ventured to the local pub may have encountered a pub pianist who indeed would as likely as not have bought sheet music, although it is doubtful that it would be many of the Sheet Music hits of the day. After all if Mantovani and His Orchestra were at number 1 who would be singing this? There must have been an awful lot of la la la-ing. More likely the bulk of the purchases came from amatuer musicians or the vast number of local Dance Bands of the era, who without the benefit of photocopiers needed to buy copies for the various members of the band. The clever major bands would write and publish their own arrangements to earn an extra buck. A way around the photocopying included purchasing a fountain pen, a bottle of indelible ink, some metholated spirits and a machine which you could feed blank sheets of paper by the turning of a handle. This involved copying the music by hand using the indelible ink, and when this came into contact with the metholated spirits in the machine allowed the ink to be copied onto another sheet of paper. The end result was not great, but it was readable.

    Sheet Music Only Available
    In some cases the sheet music was bought by the bands as soon as it became available. This often resulted in the song getting in the Sheet Music charts but without anybody having actually recorded it on disc. Occasionally a hit was a result of a song being popular on the radio but by artists who did not have a recording contract. Also, it wasn’t unusual for an artist to be credited and their face appearing on the sheet music cover who did not have a recording of that song. An example of a delayed recording is Russ Conway’s big hit “Side Saddle” from 1959 where it’s popularity began on TV appearances some 3-4 weeks before he actually released the record. A more extreme example would be Patti Page’s 1950 version of Tennessee Waltz where hers was the most sold Sheet Music version for most of early 1951 yet unless imported from America was unavailable on record in the UK until May 1951 when Mercury Records begin issuing records on the UK Oriole label, by which time the song’s popularity was waning.

    Where possible the exact Artist credits have been used with the backing Orchestra and vocalists displayed. However if the record states “conducted” or “under the direction of” this information is omitted. In some cases I have been unable to attain full details which can be frustrating for those searching out information regarding vocalists who quite often are given very little prominence in the billing, whilst most of the credit goes to the Band or Orchestra leader. Strangely the music industry seems to have reverted to this with more and more records of the 2010s giving the main credit to the Sound Engineer and merely stating “Feat. Joe Soap” and in some cases not mentioning who the singer is at all. They say “What goes round, comes around”.

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Yeah I'm interested in Metalweb,s later ones too

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  • Robbie
    replied
    Originally posted by MrTibbs View Post
    Now that is really a most interesting site. I never knew of its existence or I wouldn't have started this thread here when it already exists in more detail on another site.
    At first I thought it had weeks that were missed on my transcripts but on closer examination it has no extra weeks just repeats the previous weeks. I find this reassuring as it confirms from another source that these weeks were almost certainly never compiled so what we both have is accurate.

    I too would like to know where the information came from on versions supplied. Almost certainly these could not be confirmed as the the most popular at the time and most likely just available versions known to the author. Also the list is heavily biased in favour of British artists with just a sprinkling of American versions. I do find this strange as many American versions were also popular throughout this era.

    I say this with a degree of certainty because many years ago I had a lengthy discussion on the telephone with Colin Morgan one of the authors of 'First Hits' the book on the sheet music charts. Colin advised me that when researching 'First Hits' they had hoped to establish the most popular version of songs for inclusion in the book but information of this nature just wasn't available in any shape or form from all sources they tried including the MPA and its predecessor who compiled the chart. So in the end they had to settle for just detailing all available versions.

    That excellent site therefore has all the information and more that I was going to post anyway so no point in reinventing the wheel, so let's use that as the resource for the chart rather than duplication here.

    Brian
    Good idea, as it will save you having to post everything up. Thanks for starting the thread though. Hopefully Metalweb can still post the later Sheet Music charts that he was going to do after you had finished posting the ones you have.

    Thanks to Robin and trebor for the links. I remember downloading the PDFs a number of years ago. I'll probably still have them somewhere but I'll download them again to make sure I have everything.

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Thanks Trebor. Another excellent site using the same charts but expanded to 1965

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Now that is really a most interesting site. I never knew of its existence or I wouldn't have started this thread here when it already exists in more detail on another site.
    At first I thought it had weeks that were missed on my transcripts but on closer examination it has no extra weeks just repeats the previous weeks. I find this reassuring as it confirms from another source that these weeks were almost certainly never compiled so what we both have is accurate.

    I too would like to know where the information came from on versions supplied. Almost certainly these could not be confirmed as the the most popular at the time and most likely just available versions known to the author. Also the list is heavily biased in favour of British artists with just a sprinkling of American versions. I do find this strange as many American versions were also popular throughout this era.

    I say this with a degree of certainty because many years ago I had a lengthy discussion on the telephone with Colin Morgan one of the authors of 'First Hits' the book on the sheet music charts. Colin advised me that when researching 'First Hits' they had hoped to establish the most popular version of songs for inclusion in the book but information of this nature just wasn't available in any shape or form from all sources they tried including the MPA and its predecessor who compiled the chart. So in the end they had to settle for just detailing all available versions.

    That excellent site therefore has all the information and more that I was going to post anyway so no point in reinventing the wheel, so let's use that as the resource for the chart rather than duplication here.

    Brian

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  • trebor
    replied
    Here is a live version of Pop Music History. Sheet Music Is HERE.

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  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Hey guys, if you recall the Tiscali UK Pop Music History website, now defunct, but most of it still accessible on the Wayback Machine: it also has the sheet music charts 30 Dec 1939 thru 1959. Interestingly, next to the song titles, the charts show recording artists along with record label + number. Including multiple artists when there are ties for a given song.

    I don't know who put this together, when, where the data came from, or how they ranked the artists for a given tied song position, but it is most intriguing. Take a look, click on a given year in the upper left:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170509...pmusichistory/

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