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  • Splodj
    replied
    The BBC website now has 'Radio 2's Ultimate Beatles Quiz'.

    Naturally there are some chart related questions. Q6 asks at what position 'Love Me Do' peaked; there is no mention of 'official chart', but unsurprisingly the outlier 17 position of RR is the answer.

    Next the question I was dreading, asking what was their first number one - and this time specifying the official chart. When you click on 'From Me To You' the commentary includes: "Their previous single 'Please Please Me' had topped other unofficial versions of the UK singles chart."

    This demonstrates how making the RR charts of 1963 'official' is rewriting history, as no-one at the time regarded them as such - including the BBC.

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    A major reason why the show was 'pick' of the pops, rather than a straightforward chart rundown, was so that it could contain a section on new releases - which were exempt from Needle Time.
    Last edited by Splodj; Mon October 14th, 2019, 20:33.

    Leave a comment:


  • Graham76man
    replied
    I think you have to remember that in the early 60's the BBC did not take Pop Music seriously. Top of the Pops was broadcast in a old church in Manchester, far away from Broadcasting House. They didn't want the long haired lots hanging around TV centre! They didn't really care who was involved with pop music (hence Saville) nor the process that were needed to put it on. The arty types just had to get on with it and the limited resources they had. The BBC's main interest was having something in the pop music style to compete with ITV. The BBC didn't like playing pop music on the radio, but was being pressured into doing so by the public and the new pirate radio stations. Pick of the Pops was a way to broadcast a prepared playlist of songs that were improved by the censor at the BBC. Hence the word "Pick". Fluff could bypass a sex related or banned record by saying the title and going on to the next approved record. With every word he said spoken from the script in front of him. The people in charge of the BBC were more interested in the news, or old forms of culture such as opera and classical music. They would have never considered any form of pop music to be seen in Radio Times weekly as it was for those "Stupid boy" and girls and a fad at that. Charts were also the American style top 40. And there's no-way any old hat at the BBC would tolerate that. Nor for that matter the establishment would have at that time. As American popular culture was being blamed for the social evil spreading around the UK.
    So it's not surprising really that the charts were cobbled together. By the end of the sixties it was clear that pop music was no fad and the BBC needed proper charts, as they had already invested in Radio One, a proper chart was needed for that station and TOTP to broadcast.

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  • MrTibbs
    replied
    I think its a retrospective shame that the BBC didn't take their chart compilation much more seriously. Their basic idea was sound, that by averaging out all charts this excluded rogue positions out of sync with the majority of others and gave a sound average position.

    However their methodology was not robust and too simplistic to do justice to the averaging process. To start with they should have used a definitive method for splitting ties from the start, such as breaking ties by using which paper polled most shops, NME till July 1960 and then Melody Maker.
    To make matters worse they then kept changing the rules on how ties were split depending on who compiled the chart, Chinnery or Jones later, it was also riddled with basic arithmetical miscalculations on many occasions when a simple double check would have corrected these. They moved the goal posts in 1964 as to how a number one was determined over the previous years. For a period between 1960 and 1962 Record Mirror's chart was excluded because of their later compilation date, and so on.

    All these inconsistencies effectively diminished it's accuracy, credibility and consistency. All the more surprising when you consider this chart was broadcast seen and heard by millions on both Top Of The Pops and Pick Of The Pops and taken as gospel by those watching and listening. I believe it should also have been publicised much better like perhaps weekly in the Radio Times which could only have improved its profile as perhaps the leading chart of the time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    As an indication of how more important the charts were regarded then, I recall a headline in the top-selling Daily Mirror about how the Tottenham boys had ousted the Beatles when 'Glad All Over' reached number one. I do not subscribe to the Mirror archive, but guess this was on 7-Jan-64 when the chart they published would have shown that. Their readers would then have been confused by the Beatles still being tied at number one with the DC5 in the subsequent TOTP and POTP chart.

    Leave a comment:


  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Originally posted by Splodj View Post
    When it is said that Chinnery ignored the RR entry position for a Beatles single when the other charts entered it at number one, this implies that there was a special rule for the Beatles. But as this started with Can't Buy Me Love, and his heirarchy method for determining number ones started in 1964 and was operable in time for House Of The Rising Sun, it seems to me that he was just applying the new no. 1 heirarchy method across the board rather than anything special for the Beatles.
    Right, this '#1 rule' applied to every artist after it was put into effect, not just The Beatles. The Animals "House OTRS" and The Rolling Stones "The Last Time" both benefited. There could be more, could be a lot more. I don't recall seeing a Dave Taylor/Trevor Ager list for every time this happened, I reckon we'll just have to run the numbers ourselves, ha...

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    When it is said that Chinnery ignored the RR entry position for a Beatles single when the other charts entered it at number one, this implies that there was a special rule for the Beatles. But as this started with Can't Buy Me Love, and his heirarchy method for determining number ones started in 1964 and was operable in time for House Of The Rising Sun, it seems to me that he was just applying the new no. 1 heirarchy method across the board rather than anything special for the Beatles.

    Leave a comment:


  • zeus555
    replied
    RokinRobinOflocksley - Thanks for the information in your reply Post, to me. I've now re-written
    part of my own Post, to incorporate the New Facts, that you gave to me.

    My name is Colin, by the way. Yours may, or may not, be Robin...

    The Official UK Charts Company Site gives The Beatles 65 Weeks, at No.1, in the UK Singles Chart.

    It should be 69 Weeks at No.1. The Site credits 'Get Back' with just 2 No.1 Weeks, when it was
    on Top for 6 Weeks. That is where The OCC's 'missing' 4 Beatles No.1 Singles Weeks have gone.
    I - and others - have told The OCC about their mistakes, on more than one occasion. The OCC
    pay no attention to us, and carry on giving The Beatles 65 No.1 Singles Weeks, instead of 69
    and 'Get Back' 2 No.1 Weeks, instead of 6...


    Zeus555
    Last edited by zeus555; Sun September 15th, 2019, 03:32.

    Leave a comment:


  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Sorry, I couldn't resist posting this quote that I just saw on facebook:

    "A lie doesn't become truth,
    wrong doesn't become right,
    and evil doesn't become good,
    just because it's accepted by a majority."

    --Booker T. Washington

    Leave a comment:


  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Zeus555, you need to read Alan Smith's article, "Beatles chart positions in ALL UK charts":

    https://www.ukmix.org/showthread.php?87371

    As to the Melody Maker singles chart, The Beatles had 19 #1's, 8 debuts at #1, but different from NME. The first debut at #1 was "I Want to Hold Your Hand"; the last debut at #1 was "Hey Jude". All is revealed in the above link.

    Just to clarify, "Get Back" debuted at #1 on the BMRB chart which was carried in Record Retailer; it did not debut at #1 on the Record Retailer chart, as that ended in Feb 1969.

    Leave a comment:


  • zeus555
    replied
    Regarding The Beatles UK No.1 Singles...

    I've just checked and their only No.1 Entry in the 'Official' UK Chart was 'Get Back'. That
    entered at No.1, in April 1969. It was their 16th 'Official' UK No.1 Single, out of 17. They
    had 15 No.1 Singles in the Record Retailer Chart, and 2 No.1's in the 'Official' BMRB Chart.
    They took over compiling the 'Official' UK Charts, in February 1969, when the Record Retailer
    Charts ended.

    However, in the 'New Musical Express' Chart, The Beatles had 18 No.1 Singles and 8 of them entered
    at No.1. Their 1st No.1 Entry was 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', in December 1963. It Entered at No.10
    in the Record Retailer Chart. Their 8th & final 'NME' No.1 Entry was 'All You Need Is Love', in July 1967.
    That Entered at No.2 in the Record Retailer Chart.

    Ironically, 'Get Back', their only 'Official' No.1 Entry, was not one of their 8 No.1 Entries in the 'NME'
    Chart. It Entered at No.3 in that Chart...

    I've no idea how many No.1 Entries The Beatles had in the 'Melody Maker' Singles Chart. Assuming that
    they had any at all...I now see that they had 19 No.1 Singles in the 'Melody Maker' Charts. 8 of them
    Entered at No.1. Their 1st No.1 Entry, was 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', in December 1963. Their 8th &
    final No.1 Entry, was 'Hey Jude', in September 1968. 'Get Back' Entered at No.2, in 'Melody Maker'.


    Zeus555
    Last edited by zeus555; Sun September 15th, 2019, 03:26.

    Leave a comment:


  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Alan Smith's articles here on UKMix say the BMRB's early record shop returns barely got past 20% of their 300 target. So during that early period, they had fewer returns than the RR chart they were replacing! By May 1976, only 159 out of 299 returns were getting in on time, and they never got close to 300 during their compiling run. Alan is quoting from the Michael Cable book "The Pop Industry Inside and Out".

    Alan also states here on UKMix that NME downsized their number of sampled record shops from 150 to 100 in 1972, where they stayed at until 1988 when they switched over to the MRIB chart. And MM cut back from over 250 sampled record shops down to 200 in the early 70s. I think I read somewhere that MM eventually cut down to 100 as well, before they too switched over to MRIB in 1988, but I can't find that info at the moment...

    Leave a comment:


  • Graham76man
    replied
    Woolworth's didn't take part in any survey till the middle 70's. If you ask me this is why less "rock" tracks made the chart in 1976 then the previous years. The Woolies effect if you like.
    The reason why big stores such as Woolies and Boots would not come on board was for the reason of giving away market research to their competitors. Something they revealed to Record Mirror. When the big supermarkets sold records, they tended to brand such items as "none food" and therefore could not give precise information.
    However I did read that in relation to other product that used charts - books - that one supermarket told a person that they could not do the charts due to the problem of them being classed as a none food. But unlike the music charts, the book charts did say the amount of sales. When told that the number one book in the country had sold a certain amount. The Supermarket person said, well we sold more than double that alone. I rather suspect the same was true of records too.

    Woolworths had their own label, up to around 1965, called Embassy. These were cover versions of the current hits. Many were reported to have outsold the original versions by miles, yet not one chart recorded them.
    By the way if you have some of them, especially the Beatles covers, they are worth a decent amount.

    Leave a comment:


  • MrTibbs
    replied
    If I remember correctly, I read somewhere at the time that the 250 shop sample used was just meant to be 'representative' of the whole country as sample shops were spread throughout the UK to sample the length and breadth of the UK.
    It was never communicated whether these were major stores, small local shops, or a mix of both.

    Remember too that for many years BMRB didn't get information from Woolworths who reputedly sold most records, especially on a Saturday, and didn't sample Northern Ireland either. Like i said in my post above the planning and implementation process for this be all and end all chart was obviously seriously flawed.

    It actually managed in the early years to be less credible then even it's predecessor the RR chart.

    I do think, and it's just my opinion, that BMRB sampled 'mainstream shops' by and large, while the likes of NME i think sampled lots of Independent shops so the rock and alternative records did much better there.

    What I don't know though, but maybe someone here does know, is after the inauguration of the BMRB chart, how soon did the NME and Melody Maker reduce their sample of shops and by how much ?

    Leave a comment:


  • Robbie
    replied
    Originally posted by Graham76man View Post
    I understand that although they claimed to use a lot of shops in the sample, BMRB actually used around 50 from the sample of 250 for chart compilation. So as you were saying rotating the 50 amongst the 250, would lead to some shops not actually selling the records. One of the reasons for this could be distribution problems, either due to the record company problems, or factors such as weather, industrial disputes. Shops had to also purchase the stock of any records. So they had to be convinced it would sell. Some local area sales could put a cog in the works, such as an artist selling well in their area, Tom Jones in Wales for instance. If you had five shops from Wales in the sample one week, then only two next week, that would see a fall for Tom Jones!
    Apparently in order to produce a "National Chart" many local selling records could be excluded from the charts. For instance very high sales of say a football team in one area, would have been excluded on the grounds it wasn't a "National" record. Even if it had sales enough to put it in the top ten!
    The BMRB had to do some calculations to get the sample to represent those stores that they couldn't include. So one branch of HMV could represent 30 or more of the same store.
    I have always argued that this system was flawed. For one branch might have a sunny day, with plenty of trade, whilst another branch had less than 10 customers all day due to say heavy snowfalls!
    I think it would have been more honest for them to simply use all the shops that managed to get the returns in on time and mention that the charts was based on say 190 shops out of 4,000 (depending on how many the UK had) on the published chart.
    The idea was to use the diaries from 250 shops which were chosen from a larger pool of 300 shops. The larger pool of shops grew slowly over the years and was still a lowly 450 by the end of 1979. However the amount of diaries actually used, while never really at 250 in the early years, will have been a lot more than 50. At some point (possibly from day 1? I don't know) BMRB would use "weighted sales" to compile sales as if they had taken place in 250 shops. When fewer than 250 diaries were used this would mean upweighting sales. The chart report that was produced each week contained information on how many diaries were received on time. Or at least it did by the mid 1970s (the two I have had sight of: week 31, 1974 - 210 diaries, week 31, 1975 - 225 diaries).

    In the very early days BMRB used to compile regional charts as well as a national chart. Records which were selling almost exclusively in one region would often be excluded from the national chart unless the record label could provide compelling evidence that a record was breaking out on a national basis. The records would be eligible for the regional charts though. Many years ago a poster on a music forum explained how this worked in practice: when 'There's A Ghost In My House' by R.Dean Taylor was re-issued in 1974 its early sales were largely concentrated in an area bordering Lancashire and Yorkshire. The record label managed to persuade BMRB to allow the record to chart because the label also showed that the record was also attracting attention in East Sussex - Brighton in particular. Regional charts were dropped in 1972 and presumably BMRB later revised their policy on barring "region only" hits.

    I'm still curious why the chart panel was set at 250 stores. Was it meant to represent a certain % of all record shops in the country? If so was this pure record stores only? Many shops, even local electrical and hardware shops, had a record department in the late 60s and into the 1970s. Were these included in the overall total of record shops in the UK? In the 1970s my local village centre had two shops that sold records. One was a small branch of Woolworths but the other was the shop where you would normally buy sinks, baths, taps, nuts and bolts! But it had a great little record department and unlike the local Woolies, in the mid 1970s it stocked the top 50 singles and not just the top 20.

    Leave a comment:


  • MrTibbs
    replied
    It just beggars belief that the BMRB had all these problems once the chart was up and running. The planning beforehand that went into the methodology it would use was obviously flawed, proven by the difficulty they had in getting chart returns 'diaries from shops' back in on time. Surely this would have been considered as a potential problem at the time.
    Similarly who thought it would be a good idea to rotate between large scale shops week on week. I can understand that the thinking here was to prevent chart return shops being identified but surely someone had the foresight to see that the negative effect of this would directly influence the week on week consistency of the chart.
    You would have thought all this would have been carefully thought through much more extensively prior to the chart launch. Yes they did a few dry runs beforehand but obviously this was insufficiently robust. The teething problems went on throughout the whole of 1969 in particular.
    Records shooting up the chart , falling back down , shooting back up. There was just no consistency.
    This was supposed to be the all singing all dancing 'official' chart to end all doubt but its birth and early years were surely an embarrassment to the record industry. There is just no way this chart at this time was an accurate reflection of record sales.
    It was intended to end all the inconsistencies between charts before its inception and definitively reflect accurate sales without argument for once and for all.
    It failed dismally.

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    I wonder how much of the analysis at the back of the Guinness book ('Biggest falls from number 1' etc.) is distorted by using only one chart.

    Leave a comment:


  • Graham76man
    replied
    I understand that although they claimed to use a lot of shops in the sample, BMRB actually used around 50 from the sample of 250 for chart compilation. So as you were saying rotating the 50 amongst the 250, would lead to some shops not actually selling the records. One of the reasons for this could be distribution problems, either due to the record company problems, or factors such as weather, industrial disputes. Shops had to also purchase the stock of any records. So they had to be convinced it would sell. Some local area sales could put a cog in the works, such as an artist selling well in their area, Tom Jones in Wales for instance. If you had five shops from Wales in the sample one week, then only two next week, that would see a fall for Tom Jones!
    Apparently in order to produce a "National Chart" many local selling records could be excluded from the charts. For instance very high sales of say a football team in one area, would have been excluded on the grounds it wasn't a "National" record. Even if it had sales enough to put it in the top ten!
    The BMRB had to do some calculations to get the sample to represent those stores that they couldn't include. So one branch of HMV could represent 30 or more of the same store.
    I have always argued that this system was flawed. For one branch might have a sunny day, with plenty of trade, whilst another branch had less than 10 customers all day due to say heavy snowfalls!
    I think it would have been more honest for them to simply use all the shops that managed to get the returns in on time and mention that the charts was based on say 190 shops out of 4,000 (depending on how many the UK had) on the published chart.

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    As the pirates have been mentioned ...

    The first offshore station to have a chart was Radio Atlanta, with a 'Hit Parade' on Saturdays 2 - 3 pm from June 1964. Compiled and presented by an Australian dj Tony Withers who had presented chart shows in Sydney, it was effectively a prediction of what the conventional Top 20 would be the following week.

    In December he became Tony Windsor and, as Head DJ on Radio London, was responsible for compiling their 'Fab 40' broadcast on Sunday afternoons before POTP went out. The first few are missing, but all the charts from February 1965 are on the web and there is a list of number ones on Wikipedia. It was a faster moving prediction chart.

    At first he was determined to resist payola directly or via other djs. Upon seeing the draft of one chart Kenny Everett asked him to simply listen again to 'Concrete and Clay' which then entered the chart at 31 on 14-Feb-65. The station's output was based on heavy rotation of the 40 so they were then more likely to enter the real charts. Eventually the station succumbed to payola and it became riddled with paid for entries, including 2 obviously bought number ones.

    The 'Fab 40 Show' was voted best radio show by MM readers, and it's Top 10 appeared in Disc beside its own chart. In February 1967 compilation of it was taken over by Alan Keen, who later went on to become General Manager at Radio Luxembourg where the NME chart was replaced by their own in-house prediction Top 30.

    A prediction or faster moving chart was not adopted by any IBA stations. In any case when research became more sophisticated a lot of radio chiefs were surprised to find that people wanted to listen to records for longer than they had previously assumed.

    Anyway, sorry for the detour!

    Leave a comment:


  • MrTibbs
    replied
    Yeah the BBC contributed to the cost of the BMRB chart so it was technically their own product in a manner of speaking. Having said that though , the BMRB itself was riddled with problems in its infancy. Using actual physical sales for the first time should have been nigh impossible to get tied positions, yet it achieved this all the way through 1969. Also there were many strange chart movements in this first year. Donald Peers's Please Don't Go dropping from 3 to 10, then climbing back up to 4, then plummeting all the way to 20, Max Romeo's Wet Dream, going from 21 36 15 30 10, to name but two examples.

    Apparently only a fraction of the diaries were coming back on time but also because the BMRB rotated to different shops week to week the returns were inconsistent causing chart hiccups like the above to occur.

    I believe at least through 1969 Melody Maker and NME charts had to be more accurate than BMRB.

    Leave a comment:


  • Graham76man
    replied
    Originally posted by Splodj View Post
    I don't think so as MM and NME were invited to the party but declined.
    That's correct they didn't want to contribute to the funding the new chart. They thought their charts were good enough for the purpose they needed them for.

    The BBC were not doing anything different than what they had been doing, making a chart from various sources. The BBC presumably were paying some kind of fee to use the various charts, simply on the grounds of copyright, I suspect. They were not like some chart fanatic, who I dare say in the 60's got the various charts and made up their own chart from them. Or the Pirate Radio stations who would also do something similar. The BEEB had to do it the proper way!

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    I don't think so as MM and NME were invited to the party but declined.

    Leave a comment:


  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    Good point, Splodj. The BBC chart could have been delegated as 'official' by the OCC after 2001 for pre-1969, as that too would have kept the continuity going into the BMRB chart. And as the BBC was an average of the other charts, it would have thus agreed a lot more so with the other charts than did Record Retailer. Someone could have gone back and just calculated the lower missing BBC positions to bring it up to a Top 50. And that can still be done now.

    I'll throw out a piece of info Alan Smith told me. After Alan compiled his chart history info in the early 2000's, after having worked on it for years, and publishing an article in Record Collector magazine, he then took his info to a former higher-up of the OCC, who was astonished at Alan's research. This OCC person and others at the OCC did not know the 'imperfections' of RR at the time the decision was made to declare RR 'official' for the 60s, and he told Alan they most likely would have chosen a different chart for the 60s had they known about his data. Thus apparently the OCC did not do any research of their own to determine a 'best' chart for the 60s, rather it appears they did the easiest thing (as KoS suggests above), and went with the Guinness choice.

    But I should re-emphasize, prior to the OCC declaring (after 2001) RR as 'official' for the 60s, as far as I can tell Guinness never claimed their choice of RR for the 60s was 'correct' or 'the best' or 'official', they only stated which charts they were using 'for the purposes of this book.' Even though the implication may have been there, or readers 'osmosis-ed' into the idea.

    While I'm here, lemme throw out this thought: did the BBC violate it's own anti-commercial policy by endorsing and following the new BMRB charts in Feb 1969? NME, MM, and Top Pops/Music Now were still out there producing charts, and the BBC chose to go with BMRB, favoring one chart over another. One could argue the new BMRB charts were better, but did the BBC nonetheless violate its own policy?

    Leave a comment:


  • Splodj
    replied
    That method makes a lot of sense to me. If I could wave a magic wand something like the result of that exercise, extended to a Top 50, would be the official chart up to 1969.

    You can argue that the BBC were right in not doing that final tie-breaking step for number ones but (putting aside any contractual or moral obligations of non-preference they may have had) I do think there is something odd about a chart representing the sales of records in their thousands (tens of thousands probably at number 1) having tied positions. I thought this at the time, when the charts described themselves simply as reflecting sales, and the knowledge now that it was down to a points system does not make it any better - but I do see merit in the other point of view.

    I see less merit in the argument that using RR pre-1969 can be justified on publishing continuity grounds - if claiming that extends beyond the cost and convenience advantage of the compilers. Most people associated the BMRB chart from 1969 with the BBC so I see their chart as the more rightful antecedent.
    Last edited by Splodj; Thu September 12th, 2019, 15:21.

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  • RokinRobinOfLocksley
    replied
    It sounds like what you're advocating for, Mr. Tibbs, is determining a 'median' (middle) chart position from among the various charts, and a ranking based on that. Which would throw out the outliers. I did look into that, and it is a valid idea. It also produces a large number of ties, which could be kept as is or you could go to a well thought out tiebreaker. So, a valid option, and doable...

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