Updated "CHART HISTORY"

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Postby Gambo » Thu May 08, 2014 12:24 pm

Yeah but the point you were trying to make about the BMRB returns still stands - 159 of 299 in 1976 was still pretty rubbish!
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Thu May 08, 2014 12:37 pm

Robbie wrote:Hi Alan. Is the book "The Pop Music Industry Inside Out" worth buying? Amazon have a few sellers selling the book from £5 upwards and I'm wondering if it's worth buying? I notice the book was published in 1977 - does it analyse the charts from back then in depth or is the size of the BMRB sample just mentioned in passing?
I was just going to ask Alan the same thing!

Alan, after you answer Robbie's question, could you maybe give us the individual chapter titles? Thanks in advance!
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Postby Graham76man » Thu May 08, 2014 1:39 pm

Gambo
The "Peanuts" story is true! I remember the story being told on Radio One just after the charts show on Sunday at 7pm, can't remember when, but it would have been late 80's or early 90's. It was a radio documentary about how the charts were done. I listened in after the show, because it was promoted during the chart show. Radio One often did these documentaries about the charts themselves at that time slot. Generally it was when the charts were having an anniversary or something special. The Peanuts story was part of an interview with someone talking about how the charts were compiled.
I do have some tapes of some of these documentaries. I don't think I recorded that one though.
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Postby Graham76man » Thu May 08, 2014 1:49 pm

RokinRobinOfLocksley wrote:
Robbie wrote:Hi Alan. Is the book "The Pop Music Industry Inside Out" worth buying? Amazon have a few sellers selling the book from £5 upwards and I'm wondering if it's worth buying? I notice the book was published in 1977 - does it analyse the charts from back then in depth or is the size of the BMRB sample just mentioned in passing?
I was just going to ask Alan the same thing!

Alan, after you answer Robbie's question, could you maybe give us the individual chapter titles? Thanks in advance!
The book is available on Google books in the snippet view. You can search for it there by the title, but drop the word in red above. I did a search for BMRB and it came up with a reference saying a list of chart shops could be obtained for £50.
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Postby Gambo » Thu May 08, 2014 2:30 pm

Graham76man wrote:Gambo
The "Peanuts" story is true! I remember the story being told on Radio One just after the charts show on Sunday at 7pm, can't remember when, but it would have been late 80's or early 90's. It was a radio documentary about how the charts were done. I listened in after the show, because it was promoted during the chart show. Radio One often did these documentaries about the charts themselves at that time slot. Generally it was when the charts were having an anniversary or something special. The Peanuts story was part of an interview with someone talking about how the charts were compiled.
I do have some tapes of some of these documentaries. I don't think I recorded that one though.
Actually I do recall listening to some of those docs - most were very informative especially at a time when one couldn't just type keywords into the internet and find such info across various websites. They did indeed do one around September 1992, when the chart show (and of course Radio 1) were celebrating their 25th anniversary. It featured lots of interviews with several of the DJs who'd presented it down the years (all of them were still alive then which helped!), and they told their respective anecotes about doing the show, and what they did differently (e.g. Tony Blackburn pronouncing Duran Duran as "durran", Tommy Vance phoning up labels for snippets of info about each hit, Bruno Brookes remarking on how many more new entries there were compared to when he'd done it in the late '80s, Mark Goodier segueing songs together with no dialogue interrupting etc). I must say the peanut story doesn't stay in my memory but maybe I dismissed it as a spoof at the time, being very earnest even then about the solemnity and reverence due to The Charts.

I learned quite a few things from progs like that I hadn't known before. You're probably aware of those BBC archive clips of chart show presenters available on the web? I listened to those recently and some were definitely lifted from that 25th anniv doc.

There was another one which aired in early 1997 after the chart which was called 'Hyping The Hits' and dealt with the then-prevalent process of multiple stock deals labels had with big retailers (which you alighted upon in your earlier post about chart fiddling etc), 'two-for-one' deals allowing CD singles to be priced more attractively at 99p first/second week then ramped up to the full £3.99 thereafter and so on.

It's strange now to think that Radio 1 used to air something as 'adult' as documentaries - it's unimaginable nowadays given their general dumbed-down programming style aimed at boneheaded 12-year-olds. I suppose their home now is Radio 2.

Re this book - I think despite it's datedness it would probably be of some interest to all of us wouldn't it?
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Postby Graham76man » Thu May 08, 2014 5:03 pm

At one time Radio Stations had to deal with "needle time" whereby only a certain amount of recorded music could be played even though could have afford to play more! They got around this by having phone ins and chat, to pad the shows out. The BBC also wanted to make its shows "informative and educational". That's why these docs followed the charts shows.
Needle time has been done away with, so as you say the Radio Shows have also "dumb down". :wink:

By the way I have a K-Tel LP set from 1973. It's called Radio One Story of Pop. It features a pull out magazine that went along with the radio series. I only have part 6 though of 26! But I will digitise it and post it one my blog site shortly.
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Postby Gambo » Thu May 08, 2014 5:48 pm

Sounds interesting Graham - thanks for offering it up.

Needle time; another blast from the past. Went out with needles themselves I s'pose.
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Postby Graham76man » Thu May 15, 2014 9:17 pm

I now have a copy of the book The Pop Industry Inside Out.
He talks about both the NME and Melody Maker charts as being based on a points system. Each shop contacted gave a list of the 30 top selling records. Each record in it was assigned a point 30 for the number one and 1 for 30. Both papers used this system.
But he says that these charts were NOT to be taken as serious! Even by the papers themselves. By the middle 60's charts were being taken serious. It was this that lead to a full more accurate chart, based on sales not points.

On the BMRB chart, he states that both the NME and Maker wouldn't take part due to the fact they couldn't afford it.
On the compilation side that local sales were removed, this affected a lot of football songs!
But the Daily Mail in 1976 ran a story on How They're Fixing The Pop Charts. A team of 30 people going around buying records up in the chart.
Only a few braches of Woolworth's filled in the returns for the charts. At that time also the chart shops were not paid.
Since the chart shop filled in a diary and these were kept near the till, to fill them in when they were purchased, what a shop was supposed to do! It was easy for a record company rep to find out who was in the sample. The record companies would also phone up the shops claiming to be BMRB to confirm they are part of the sample. It was easy to do as the BMRB often did phone up shops saying "where's the diary".
The sales figures in the chart return shops were very low. It only needed a few people from the same family to buy the same record to get it to number 49 in the top 50!
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Thu May 15, 2014 9:43 pm

Thanks Graham! How many pages of this book are devoted to the charts? Is it worthwhile to get a copy of this book? Could you please list the individual chapter titles? Thanks much...
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Postby Graham76man » Fri May 16, 2014 12:49 am

RokinRobinOfLocksley wrote:Thanks Graham! How many pages of this book are devoted to the charts? Is it worthwhile to get a copy of this book? Could you please list the individual chapter titles? Thanks much...
As far as I can tell so far Chapter 8 pages 91-105 and chapter 9 106-120. are connected to the charts.
Chapter list if you want that I have a JPG file of it PM me for that.

If I have the time I might do a pdf of those two chapters. However if you are interested in pop music history the full book as far as I can tell looks very interesting.
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Postby Gambo » Fri May 16, 2014 2:43 pm

Graham: thanks for taking the trouble to give the gist of some salient points about the charts from this tome. Sadly all it does is cast yet further shadows on the veracity and reliability of even the well-established BMRB tabulations as late as the mid-'70s, but it's best that we know this kind of thing so we can set their data in context retrospectively.

I think you're right in suggesting that any of us with any interest in UK chart history would find this whole book interesting, regardless of how old it is. Indeed, its age is its appeal, giving probably the most thorough appraisal of the industry and its charts from that period that is still available. Rather than asking you to post protracted parts of it on here we should all consider buying our own copy (if we can obtain one)!
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Mon May 19, 2014 12:48 pm

Thanks for the info Graham, I just ordered a copy over the internet, there are multiple used copies out there. And thanks Alan for the original tip...
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Postby Graham76man » Mon May 19, 2014 7:27 pm

In the back pages of the book is an actual top 50 plus star breakers with the figures attached. Sadly all the artist and title and record information has been left out.
I was trying to work out which chart it covers. It can only be a limited range, first because the BMRB chart ran from only 1969 and the book was published in 1977. To limit it even further, it states it's week 17 and lists also info for the chart records in weeks, 14, 15 and 16.
Other clues include the previous chart positions for each week. For the week 17 number one it ran 2, 2, 2, 1. While the number 2 in week 17 had been number one for all the previous weeks.
Other clues are a record that came in at 27 in week 15 went to 16 and ended up at 6. Another at 40, 20, 14, also entering week 15.

The chart would seem to be around April time if the week system is right, but I couldn't see any chart from 1969 to 1977 that would match any of these positions. Mind you I was using the Tony Jasper book as a guide!!
If anyone can work out which chart it was can they let me know.
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Postby BrainDamageII » Mon May 19, 2014 7:35 pm

1976

8th May
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Postby Graham76man » Tue May 20, 2014 12:24 am

BrainDamageII wrote:1976

8th May
Thanks Brian your right! :D

For those interested to know it was Abba and Fernando just starting it's run at number one selling less that it did at number two. Nearly twice as less than two weeks ago. At number one it sold 3442.
Brotherhood of man at number two. 3128
Four seasons Silver Star. 139 (not in chart) 550 (27) 1186 (16) 1721 (6).
Stylistics Cant help falling... 387 (40) 891 (20) 1098 (14).
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Postby RokinRobinOfLocksley » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:46 pm

OK, finished reading The Pop Industry Inside Out by Michael Cable. It was very interesting, lots of stories about how the industry works / worked back in the day, about artists, managers, publishers, record companies, radio, etc. Good things, bad things, funny things. Can't say, though, that I learned anything new about the record charts that I hadn't already learned from Alan Smith's excellent historical articles.

QUESTION: for Alan and anyone else: back in the 50s / 60s, when the chart trade papers NME, MM, RM, Disc, RR polled the record shops for their weekly tabulations, did individual record shops report back weekly to only one chart trade paper, or did some shops report back to more than one chart trade paper? I've never heard of multiple reports per shop, but someone else raised this question on another blog somewhere, just curious... Thanks !!
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Postby beauregard » Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:06 pm

Does anyone have access to Melody Makers Juke Box Top 20 that was compiled between 1957 and 1961? It would be interesting to know if it was very different from the sales chart.
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Postby andrej » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:48 pm

beauregard wrote:Does anyone have access to Melody Makers Juke Box Top 20 that was compiled between 1957 and 1961? It would be interesting to know if it was very different from the sales chart.
I think i have some MM Juke Box charts. Should find my MM scans and then i will be able to answer you.
I'm looking for "TOP POPS/MUSIC NOW" and "MERSEYBEAT / MUSIC ECHO" Charts to complete my 60's singles charts collection.
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Postby rubcale » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:38 pm

What I find interesting is that despite the small sample numbrs in the 60s in the long run there wasn't that much difference in the peak positions nor even on a week-to-week basis (excepting Record Retailer and the compilation date could have accounted for this) among the various charts.

Unless there was collusion and that really seems unlikely it would tend to suggest that the charts were in fact reasonably accurate.
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Postby Gambo » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:32 am

Yes; I too have observed a surprising level of similarity when studying the various 1960s tabulations. We can only hope that this would seem to suggest that they were indeed of a reasonable level of accuracy, although theoretically it could also indicate that they were all consistently inaccurate to a similar degree! All this really attests to is that there seemed to be consistency, but given as you say the size of the samples and limitations on compilation methodology in general, we do still need to be careful about how confident we can be in the weekly rankings of that period, even though often they may appear to correlate across the different publications.
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Postby Topicel » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:37 pm

Hi Rubcale and Gambo - hope you are both well?

I can assure you that you should have every confidence in the UK charts, individually and as a whole, from the 60s and beyond. I have read many comments to the contrary and simply smiled to myself, so I'm glad that two seasoned chart and sales analysis watchers have concluded that consistency probably equals accuracy. Although, as you have observed tongue-in-cheek Gambo, the opposite could feasibly be true also...!

Off topic a little, but what did you guys think about those Radio 2 broadcast lists inspired by the meeting of Elvis and the Beatles, especially the former? Now whatever our stance on chart accuracy in those bygone days, someone at the OCC reckons they can make them 'talk' enough to come up with Top 50 rankings, especially when you consider number ones are practically impossible to assess.

Feel free to comment on the relevant thread(s) if you prefer.

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Postby Graham76man » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:41 pm

The 60's charts would of course tie in with each other simply because the charts were displayed in record stores around the country and so the public would therefore purchase the records that are in the charts.
The problem comes with the new entries in the charts. That's were the charts are not consistent with each other.

The 60's to middle 70's chart all of course lack Woolworth's data. They wouldn't supply data to any chart compiler. Until around 1965, they had their own label and didn't sell other people's records. The Label was called Embassy and it is known many were massive sellers. Though not one features in a chart book.
You can see a list of the Embassy singles that could have charted on the 45 Cat website.

When you think about how important Woolworth became to the chart compilation of later years, to have it excluded till 1976 must mean that the charts before that are not really all that good.
However getting hold of how much impact Woolworth's record sales had on the sales figures is a problem, because the records don't seem to be there.
Still as a child of the 60's and 70's, I only know that a great deal of people purchased records from Woolies. Certainly among my relations they appear to have done so. I can only say the same is probably true for others.
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Postby Robbie » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:57 pm

Graham76man wrote:The 60's charts would of course tie in with each other simply because the charts were displayed in record stores around the country and so the public would therefore purchase the records that are in the charts.
The problem comes with the new entries in the charts. That's were the charts are not consistent with each other.

The 60's to middle 70's chart all of course lack Woolworth's data. They wouldn't supply data to any chart compiler. Until around 1965, they had their own label and didn't sell other people's records. The Label was called Embassy and it is known many were massive sellers. Though not one features in a chart book.
You can see a list of the Embassy singles that could have charted on the 45 Cat website.

When you think about how important Woolworth became to the chart compilation of later years, to have it excluded till 1976 must mean that the charts before that are not really all that good.
However getting hold of how much impact Woolworth's record sales had on the sales figures is a problem, because the records don't seem to be there.
Still as a child of the 60's and 70's, I only know that a great deal of people purchased records from Woolies. Certainly among my relations they appear to have done so. I can only say the same is probably true for others.
I started to buy singles in March 1974 and I agree about a great deal of people purchasing record from Woolworths back then. Just about every record I bought in 1974 and 1975 was bought from my local branch of Woolies. That said, the branch was never a chart return shop and it closed in the late 1980s. But, on weekends especially, the record department was packed with children (including me) buying singles.

My town also had a Woolworths offshoot called Woolco which did at some point become a chart return shop - I can remember buying singles there in the very early 80s and the shop assistant writing down the catalogue numbers of what I was buying. That too closed in the late 80s when the Woolco part of Woolworths was sold to Gateway who later were themselves bought out by Asda. The shop continued to remain a chart return shop, as it still is to this day (trading as Asda) though the record department has shrunk so much in size over the years. It used to be massive, now it's little more than a few racks of albums and DVDs. Quite sad really.

The BMRB had tried to get Woolworths to come on board from day 1 of them compiling the chart but like Boots the company refused to allow the chart compilers access to what they saw as sensitive sales information. Eventually they agreed to provide sales information from a limited amount of stores from July 1975 (not 1976) but they always came across as reluctant chart panel members. Boots took even longer to talk into becoming chart panel members - it may have been the 1980s before they came on board. And then not too long after they stopped selling records in most of their bigger stores while the smaller shops never (as far as I can remember) sold records, only selling the types of things people tend to know Boots for - medicines, perfume, make-up etc. I think the main Boots in Newcastle stopped selling records about the turn of the 90s though I could be wrong on that.
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Postby Robbie » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:12 pm

Out of interest, this thread was started by Alan Smith (asm). Does anyone know what has become of him? He's not been to ukmix (at least while logged in) since 8 May 2014, which was the day he last posted. He has vanished before for lengthy periods of time, once for about two years before returning to make a number of posts and then vanishing again for well over a year before making another return.

This time I'm a bit worried about him as he's also been quiet in other places where I have seen his posts in the past. Also, he vanished at much the same time as Dave Taylor who we all suspect, whether Dave Taylor was his real name, has died. Also Alan was said to be in poor health in 2013 (as was Dave). Alan and Dave seemed to know each other so does anyone know if the two were possibly the same person and even if not has Alan also passed on? Sorry to ask such a morbid question but it's something I've been wondering about for over a year now. Has anyone been in any kind of contact with Alan since May 2014? Hopefully Alan will see this post and give us some reassurance he is OK.

I posted a question similar to this a couple or so months ago, perhaps longer, and read a reply which suggested that there might be a connection between them (that it was just friendship between the two and that they weren't the same person but the person who replied did also mention that Alan, like Dave Taylor, had been seriously ill) but can't remember if I posted it here at ukmix or somewhere else (possibly Haven)
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Postby andrej » Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:02 am

Personaly i don't think that Alan and Dave was the one person. In one of his posts, Alan said:
asm wrote:I have posted the full Top M.Maker 50s gleaned from "Music Businness Weekly" to Lonnie recently! The Colindale Library had some missing from Feb/March 71. But with help from Disc and M.Echo's brief run of the Top 50s (13 March to 24 April 71) Lonnie has all but two of the MM Top 50s Sept 69 to May 71. I posted a Lot of MM Charts circa 1970 to 77 to Davetaylor. Maybe Dave can post them here!
I've been in correspondence with both. And i have sense they were different persons.
Last time i wrote to Alan i received an answer: "Hello! I'm answering Alan's mail while he's ill. Unfortunately Alan will be indisposed for some time! Charlotte." It was in February 2013.
Last time i received a message from Dave was February 2014. Dave was an executive producer of Richard Todd's Retro Chart Countdown shows on Atlantic Oldies 2NG, but retired in the end of 2014. He was replaced by Mike Robinson, from whom i received a mail in May 2014, in which he noted "I'm now the fella in charge of Richard Todd's radio shows and the charts etc, since Dave Taylor retired back home to Australia to look after his old father and is not currently hooked up to internet access."
I'm looking for "TOP POPS/MUSIC NOW" and "MERSEYBEAT / MUSIC ECHO" Charts to complete my 60's singles charts collection.
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