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UK charts 1956-1969 in the national press

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  • #51
    Originally posted by Splodj View Post
    I'm just wondering ... could the two newspapers who say NME used 70 stores be referring to the Monday chart? So they sample 70 by Monday, produce an interim chart, then sample more and produce a final chart.
    That's a valid point. There is no way NME were only sampling 70 stores by the mid sixties. Alan Smith's well researched evidence with insider information puts NME well above that figure. Newspaper evidence is always suspect.
    To The Definitive Music Paper Chart


    • #52
      Originally posted by Splodj View Post
      I'm just wondering ... could the two newspapers who say NME used 70 stores be referring to the Monday chart? So they sample 70 by Monday, produce an interim chart, then sample more and produce a final chart.
      Good point Splodj. I read something similar to this somewhere, can't remember where, could have been in another thread here on UKMix. I want to say it was something like one of the major charts, who wrote up a quickie chart for the newspapers (midweek or partial for the weekends), sampled a reduced number of shops (maybe 20) to produce a shorter Top 20 chart. Just to get some latest chart news out there for the newspaper readers. Don't remember what year this could have been, maybe mid-60s-ish, I don't know.

      If true, then both this and Alan Smith's research could be correct, one smaller set of samples for a quickie newspaper chart, one larger set of samples for their own published music paper full chart. Makes sense if true...


      • #53
        Agreed, 70 does sound very low, although I think we can be fairly confident the figure must have been used by NME in its comment to the press, as it was used in separate reports by respected music-scene specialists - Maureen Cleave in the Standard and Pat Doncaster in the Mirror. Whatever the actual number of shops contributing to the final NME chart, worth remembering that the "Monday" chart was incredibly close in its details to the later magazine version.. just the odd place tended to be different in the lower reaches. See the examples earlier in the thread. The chart compiled on Saturday for the Sunday Mirror was clearly assembled much more quickly and will be less robust.


        • #54
          PART THREE: The Daily Mail

          Charts used: Jan 1963 – October 1964: Melody Maker (Fridays, later Thursdays)

          October 1964 – March 1966: NME (Thursdays)

          Consistently Britain’s third biggest-selling daily paper through the fifties and sixties (behind the Mirror and Express), the Daily Mail carried full weekly charts for only a short period, but certainly had some of the more eye-catching and comprehensive coverage of the pop scene.

          Its first regular chart appeared on Friday, January 11 1963, courtesy of Melody Maker. This was a Top 20, exactly the same as the chart published in the corresponding edition of the magazine. The Mail was joining the Daily Mirror in taking the MM chart, while the Daily Express carried the NME chart.


          jan 63.jpg

          Daily Mail, January 11, 1963

          The Mail’s chart was extended to 30 places in 1964, and published on Thursdays. On occasions, reference was made in news reports to significant entries in the bottom 20 of the MM 50 – eg Ella Fitzgerald at No 44, reported by the Mail on Tuesday, April 28, 1964. That gives further confirmation that the full MM chart was made available to the national press for news reporting purposes during Mondays.

          The MM chart continued in the Mail until October 1964, when – with no explanation in the paper - it moved to the NME listing, used as part of a really comprehensive guide to the whole entertainment scene, including LPs, with an albums Top Ten, also supplied by NME.


          Daily Mail, October 22, 1964

          In September, 1965, the Mail was quick off the mark to investigate the surprise No 1 status of Ken Dodd’s Tears, with a revealing piece on its first week as NME chart-topper. More than three months later, the Sunday People ran a similar story, but the Mail had some really useful contemporary quotes from record shops, and from the other music papers, including Disc and Record Retailer, each getting a rare mention in the national press.

          DAILY MAIL, Saturday, September 25, 1965.jpg
          Daily Mail, September 25, 1965

          The Mail stopped running a regular chart in March 1966, though it did report regularly in news stories on what was happening in the MM and NME listings.

          Some of this coverage was outstanding. We have the Mail to thank for what I believe to be a significant and hitherto unrecognized piece of research in November 1966, when the paper ran a one-off chart survey of its own, tabulating sales figures from 73 record shops not connected with the music papers’ own charts.

          mail investigation.jpg

          Clearly, this piece doesn't really cast any light on whether records were being bought into the charts; that would obviously be in the lower positions. But what is striking is just how similar the Mail’s one-off chart is to the corresponding listings from NME and MM. NME has no fewer than nine out of ten records in exactly the same position.

          We also have, thanks to the Mail, sales figures for the Top Ten from its survey of 73 shops, giving an interesting sense of the relativities between Number One and the lower places.

          The Mail would have had a better story if they found the NME and MM charts to be wildly out of kilter but instead we have a pretty striking piece of evidence that both NME and MM had a chart that stood up to very close scrutiny, certainly in the higher places.

          While regular news coverage of the charts remained in the Mail, it was not until October 1970 that a regular Top Ten, fron NME, reappeared in the paper. It continued to run an NME chart until 1985.

          Next installment – the Daily Herald.

          Attached Files


          • #55
            NME were just being ahead of the curve with 'Tears' that week, as next week it was number 1 in all the charts and stayed there for a solid 5 weeks.

            The Sun had done a sales survey as part of their Little Red Rooster investigation. In the week after it entered NME at number one they surveyed 250 shops, 71 of which provided sales figures. The Top 7 were the same for points and sales, with LRR the clear sales winner. As we know that MM at this time surveyed 180ish stores (from the Daily Mirror special report a week later) I believe that the Sun's chart for this week is the most accurate.

            Edit - The Mail confirms their Top 10 sales and points were the same.

            With regard to Good Vibrations and newspapers I have the following tale ...

            At that time Pick Of The Pops had a competition whereby they would ask listeners to predict which record would be at a particular position the following week. They would give a prize to someone with the correct answer. ​​​On 6-Nov they asked for listeners to write in and say what they thought would be number one next week. Many listeners must have looked at that day's issue of the Sunday Mirror, seen Good Vibrations at number one and thought it was a dead cert. (Again this is from memory, if you tell me the Sunday Mirror on 6-Nov did not have Good Vibrations at number one I will stand corrected.) However when the final NME chart came out the Four Tops had reverted back to number one and, as only MM had the Beach Boys climb to the top that week, 'Reach Out I'll Be There' remained the overall number one.
            Last edited by Splodj; Fri March 10, 2023, 22:13.


            • #56
              If LPs were selling in such large quantities, and NME included LPs in their singles chart, why were NME not including LPs in their singles chart every week?


              • #57
                I've always been a bit mystified by the LP entries in NME's chart during the sixties. In almost all cases, even the biggest albums seemed to peak lower than you'd expect ("Beatles For Sale" peaking at 22? Really?) I'm sure their placement didn't reflect actual sales, and maybe only a few panel shops reported them in their weekly listings. And maybe NME just felt the very biggest LPs should be represented on the chart. It's a weird anomaly and one of many reasons why I favour Melody Maker as primary mid-sixties chart.

                That's a great memory about Pick of the Pops and its competition. In fact, Good Vibrations was No 2 (up from No 18) in the Sunday Mirror's NME chart on Nov 6th. BUT: the Melody Maker chart with Good Vibrations on top was out there the following day, Monday, Nov 7th, reported in the Evening Standard and other evening papers. And listed as MM No 1 in the Daily Mirror on the Tuesday, so I'm sure many POTP competition entrants would have confidently predicted the Beach Boys' rise to the top of the BBC chart.

                By quite a coincidence, I recently unearthed a reel-to-reel from April 1967 of Alan Freeman doing the POTP chart rundown and announcing the competition result from the previous week. I got pretty lucky with this random old tape - turns out to be (I think) the last rundown with a two-way tie at No 1... Sinatras and Sandie. I'll pop it on Mixcloud and send a link later; great to hear Fluff in his sixties majesty...


                • #58
                  I've always thought it was simply a few dealers reporting the album and NME then not filtering those entries out of the singles chart.


                  • #59
                    Here's that short audio clip of the POTP chart rundown from April 23 1967... competition result and tied No 1 and all...


                    • #60
                      Sorry - I seem to hit a problem using the Post Link button. Try copying and pasting this:



                      • #61
                        This was the period when Freeman was not using 'Sign of the Swingin' Cymbal' for his chart rundown, but this instead ...


                        • #62
                          I much prefer 'At The Sign Of The Swingin' Cymbal'. The above sounds very disjointed, though in its defence, it is the first time I've heard it.


                          • #63
                            Time for the latest instalment of this potted history of pop charts in the UK national press during the fifties and sixties, aimed at building into a complete guide to the public profiles of the main magazine charts of the era. This is ...

                            PART FOUR - THE DAILY HERALD

                            Charts used:

                            Melody Maker May 3 1956 - October 1960 (charts typically published Thursdays; by 1959, more usually Wednesdays)

                            Melody Maker February 1963 - September 12, 1964 (typically Thursday, but occasionally as early as Tuesday, sometimes as late as Saturday )

                            For much of its history, the official newspaper of the Trades Union Congress, the Daily Herald was part of the Odham’s publishing empire from 1930. While in decline by the mid-fifties, it remained very popular with a loyal working-class readership, selling well over a million copies a day until its demise in 1964.

                            The paper was an early adopter of a weekly chart, and it was natural that this would be supplied by its Odham’s stablemate, Melody Maker, which had launched its first chart just a month earlier.

                            The first Daily Herald chart appeared on May 3, 1956, two weeks ahead of the Daily Mirror, but two months after the Daily Express, both of which used the NME's weekly listing. So this is the debut of MM chart in the national press, very quickly achieved so soon after it was launched by the magazine.


                            1956 Daily Herald 3 May 1956.jpeg

                            Daily Herald, Thursday, May 3, 1956

                            The chart had a regular slot on Thursdays, and was always as published in the corresponding issue of the magazine. Publication day varied a little, and by 1959, the chart was more usually published on Wednesdays.

                            Like the Daily Express, the Herald seemed to lose interest in the chart during the early 1960s, and it failed to appear from November 1960, until returning in January 1963, just in time for the Beatles to break big.

                            Thurs 7 Feb 1963.jpeg

                            Daily Herald, Thursday, February 7, 1963

                            The chart initially floated between Thursday, Friday and Saturday, always replicating the chart in the Melody Maker itself, and by the summer of 1964, it was occasionally appearing as early as Tuesday.

                            An interesting footnote in chart (and betting history): in August 1964, the paper reported on the launch of “pop pools” based on the Melody Maker chart.

                            Pop pools 10 Aug 1964.jpeg

                            Daily Herald, August 10, 1964

                            By now in its final days, the Herald to continue to publish a chart and in the last few weeks, a new look… a top ten with added chart climbers.

                            Sat Sep 12 1964.jpeg

                            Daily Herald, Saturday, September 12, 1964

                            Two days later, the Daily Herald published its final edition. The paper, along with other Odham’s assets including Melody Maker, had been bought by the Mirror group in 1961, and the Herald was not only losing sales but also competing in the same market at the Daily Mirror itself.

                            The Mirror Group, now known as IPC (International Publishing Corporation), replaced the Herald with a less political, more aspirational replacement - the first iteration of The Sun, a very different paper in those days before its relaunch under Rupert Murdoch in 1969.

                            Chart coverage in the early days of The Sun will be the next instalment of this history.

                            Thanks for reading, and as ever, comments, memories and additional information very welcome.


                            • #64
                              Fascinating read and really interesting. Thanks for sharing. I suppose it does make sense for them to share the chart, but part of me wonders what would have happened to the Top 50 if the Herald had continued after the hyping scan does forced MM to shrink in the later 60’s?
                     - for the latest are best chart book - By Decade!
                              Now including NME, Record Mirror and Melody Maker from the UK and some Billboard charts


                              • #65
                                Indeed, one of those fascinating hypotheticals. The Daily Herald's use of chart climbers from the 50 alongside the Top Ten was a very short-lived affair, so who knows how long they'd have carried on with it in that format. I do think it's one of the more imaginative ways a national paper used a chart, adding an extra sense of pace without having to allocate the extra space a full Top 50 would have taken. All this confirms that the existence of an MM Top 50 was well-known beyond the bounds of the magazine in a way that Record Retailer could never claim. As noted before, RR was barely mentioned in the papers. Thanks for the positive feedback - I'm unearthing more interesting stuff week by week, and hope to have the next instalment ready by next weekend.


                                • #66
                                  I can understand by RR wanted at the time to be seen as a national chart and of record. They were very much positioned as the Dealers paper - where NME, MM etc were all Fans papers. Even in 1969 RR was for the dealers and I think thats largely still how it is seen, and also explains the high price.

                                  I think many would overlook the RR shortcomings if they had - quickly - expanded their chart panel. The fact that they did not and the fact that newspapers where taking a mix of NME and MM shows that they where just lagging behind.

                                  I do wish the MM Top 50 had been able to continue longer… or rather we had more of them!
                         - for the latest are best chart book - By Decade!
                                  Now including NME, Record Mirror and Melody Maker from the UK and some Billboard charts


                                  • #67
                                    I've only had time to delve into this sporadically, but just to say that it is a really novel and fascinating thread, so thanks to dalanj for setting it up and doing the relevant research, which for most of us would just not be possible to do ourselves.


                                    • #68
                                      Interesting to see the comment on getting / pools based on the charts. I remember another company trying to launch a similar idea in early 1974. I wrote to them, asking for details but never got a reply.


                                      • #69
                                        When did bookmakers start offering odds on Eurovision and Xmas No. 1?


                                        • #70
                                          Was it a coincidence that the Herald brought back its chart just after the Mail started printing one?

                                          Was Feb 7 63 the first Herald chart of the new run?
                                          Last edited by Satchmo76; Thu March 16, 2023, 17:17.


                                          • #71
                                            Yes, that's it... Feb 7 1963 was the first in the returning run. I wrongly mentioned January for some reason. The Mail and the Herald weren't really competing for the same readers, but I think you might be on to something. Pure conjecture, but it could be that Melody Maker was actively touting its chart to the papers at this time. Or the Mail's decision to run an MM chart might have prompted Mirror Group - owners of the Herald AND Melody Maker - to get the Herald editor to do likewise.

                                            I've got you something on Eurovision and Christmas No 1 betting.... coming up shortly...


                                            • #72
                                              OK, this is not scientifically conducted research, but just a very quick trawl... it looks to me like Eurovision betting was around from the early seventies. Local Irish bookies were offering odds as far back as the 1971 Dublin contest.


                                              The first reference I can find to national bookies offering odds is 1974:


                                              They clearly hadn't heard "Waterloo".

                                              Very surprisingly, betting on Christmas No 1 doesn't seem to have started until well into the eighties. This is 1987 and the tone of the piece does suggest it's a new phenomenon.


                                              Not a specialist subject of mine, so great if anyone is able to help with any earlier dates. Maybe there's a "Betting on the charts" thread in this - epic bookies' fails etc - but I'll leave that to someone who knows more about it than me...


                                              • #73
                                                According to various papers, Dana was 20-1 in 1970 and Clodagh Rogers 3-1 in 1971. Vicky Leandros was 14-1 in 1972. But these were Edinburgh or Dublin bookmakers.


                                                • #74
                                                  I'll venture a tenner on Dana at those odds...


                                                  • #75
                                                    The Herald was competing with the Mail (and Express) for the middle-brow market and being badly squeezed. Its reincarnation as The Sun didn't work any better, until Murdoch took it downmarket to compete with The Mirror (in doing so breaking a promise to keep it left wing).

                                                    Presumably the bookmakers prohibited anyone working for Melody Maker placing a bet. There was still a danger of leakage, unlike Eurovision where the winner was decided by a live vote. I wonder how they deal with leakage in the famous Christmas number 1 betting; maybe they close the betting early.

                                                    Over and above the readership of any of these papers was the audience of TOTP and POTP. TOTP's quickly rose to 12.75m - a quarter of the population. But their composite chart could not be branded 'the BBC chart', and the Corporation were careful not to describe it as such, because they used the most obvious way to combine the charts. You can imagine how they would be laughed out of court had they tried to copyright the concept: "But you are just adding together the chart positions!". I suppose a paper could have printed it as 'the chart used by the BBC' but I imagine they would then have to pay all the contributory chart companies instead of just one (or two in the case of the Standard).