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Thread: Record Mirror archive on the internet

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    by 04-07-18, 23:49

    The website American Radio History is building an online archive for Record Mirror, the weekly UK music paper that ran from 1954 to 1991. It started the 2nd UK singles chart in 1955 after NME began theirs in 1952. Though they ceased running their own chart in 1962, instead starting carrying the Record Retailer chart. Living music history awaits every reader !!

    Up so far are 70 issues of the 60s, 35 issues of the early 70s, all issues of 1974-1978 and 1980:

    https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Record_Mirror.htm

    Also be sure to hover over the menu button Music Magazines to the Music Industry button to see 21 other UK and US music mags begin procured and archived, including all the big UK and US chart mags/papers.

    If anyone has any missing issues of any of the mags/papers listed, I'm sure they'd like to hear from you. I contacted them once before, they will work with you, either accepting your scans, or paying for shipping and return postage for you to send your mags over for them to scan and return.

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    by 05-07-18, 00:20

    Yeah, I'd noticed this a few months ago. I think someone here at ukmix had posted about the website and the Record Mirror issues that had been posted up to that point back then. The website is an excellent resource and it's good to see all the old Record Mirror issues that David has made available. I keep hoping that he'll add 1979 and 1981 sometime soon but he currently seems to be concentrating on adding issues from the 1960s and early 1970s.

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    by 06-07-18, 15:06

    This is so fantastic. There's many of the major titles on here including some Music Weeks.
    This will be excellent for pinning down when records were released, especially the early 60's and 50's material as the precise release dates for records are hard to come by.

    I was reading a few of the Music Weeks and I didn't know that in 1988 many of the big stores including Woolies were going to remove Gallup's chart machines due to a new chart rule. It was settled at the last minute after a heated exchange of letters between the boss of Woolworth's and Gallup.
    Apparently Gallup were concerned about some stores being unfair to some labels and acts. But the stores took it as Gallup nosing into their trade figures.
    Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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    by 18-07-18, 19:11

    I was looking for something else & found Althia & Donna uptown top ranking sold 400,000 (RM 13/5/78) not bad for a one hit wonder!

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    by 19-07-18, 16:30

    Just had a rather lean period this afternoon at work and took a more extended delve into this archive - you're right guys; absolutely fascinating stuff in there! Especially-so for those of us who were not necessarily subscribers/readers of these publications at the time or weren't even born when some were first issued! Shame there is still such a paucity of MWs on there, but the RM section is already quite well-stocked, albeit clustered in certain years. Actually it's just as well there isn't more material yet, as I'd be constantly reading it and never doing any work!

    Thanks for the heads-up here; even if I'd come across this site, I never would've guessed from its title ('American Radio History') that it would've contained any UK publications.

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    by 12-08-18, 14:27

    8th March 1975 there is an article about BMRB & the charts

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    by 12-08-18, 15:18

    Quote Originally Posted by fiesta
    8th March 1975 there is an article about BMRB & the charts
    Yes, it's an interesting article which highlights the limitations of the chart compilation process that existed at the time. Chart manager Alisa Walker also contributed to a Music Week article which explained the compilation process in further depth. The Music Week article was reprinted in Rock File 4 which was published in 1976. That article, along with an explanation of how the Billboard charts were compiled back then (in an article written by Eliot Tiegel of Billboard) can be read by clicking on https://1drv.ms/b/s!ApaBhZNIN2ZmgatTCsj8QvAT1fI74g (PDF file). If there's a problem accessing the file then click on https://goo.gl/ZFaUDe (thanks to, if I recall, Graham for providing the Rock File 4 scan).

    Alisa Walker made an appearance on Dave Lee Travis' Drivetime show on Radio 1 on Tuesday 17 February 1976. That was the day the BMRB had to rerun the chart after a major computer error led to an erroneous chart being compiled (and 'Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez' by Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains being placed at number 1 for all of three hours). DLT invited Alisa on to his programme to explain what had gone wrong and as well as revealing the correct chart (number 1: 'December 1963 (Oh What A Night)' by The Four Seasons) Alisa also ran down numbers 31-50 for the benefit of record dealers who would not be getting the correct chart that week in their weekly copy of Music Week. I was listening to the programme and remember thinking that this was possibly / probably the only time to that point the BBC had counted down a chart bigger than the then top 30. I don't think the fuller chart was ever revealed at any point after that, other than the broadcast part of the chart expanding to a top 40 two years later.

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    by 14-08-18, 10:14

    The article is indeed a fascinating insight into how things were back then, and what the BMRB were up against in order to get anything like a reasonably-trusted weekly chart out there.

    I'd always wondered what the problem was with those chain stores not supplying sales information to the compilers - apparently it seems that they simply didn't want their staff to be bothered with it. I always suspected it was more to do with having their own competing charts that they wanted to focus on, but maybe it really was that they couldn't be arsed. The part of this article that struck me most though was the revelation (well, it is to me at any rate) that BMRB started compiling sales information for labels well-before the established the 'official chart' in February 1969, before they were in cahoots with the other partners to render that a financially-viable prospect. That implies that there was BMRB-compiled music sales data available ahead of the arrival of the improved industry-sponsored chart, possibly dating back to some time in 1968 or even '67? Of course, it's almost certain that none of that info would survive now, given that I read somewhere recently (forget where but on UKMix) that the BMRB were on record as having destroyed all their chart data from the period they were responsible for compiling it, and it feels unlikely that labels would've retained anything from 50-plus years ago. But it's interesting to contemplate that - depending on how widely they surveyed the market - there could've been potentially-better sales data supplied to the industry release-by-release than that which was being gathered by the music papers in order to compile their charts.

    I wonder whether Mrs Ailsa Walker is still with us, enjoying retirement?! It'd be very interesting to hear more from her. Allan Smith is the sort of chap who might've tracked her down for an interview about the charts, but then he is more 1960s-focused rather than '70s so maybe it wasn't on his radar.

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    by 14-08-18, 13:43

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambo
    The article is indeed a fascinating insight into how things were back then, and what the BMRB were up against in order to get anything like a reasonably-trusted weekly chart out there.

    I'd always wondered what the problem was with those chain stores not supplying sales information to the compilers - apparently it seems that they simply didn't want their staff to be bothered with it. I always suspected it was more to do with having their own competing charts that they wanted to focus on, but maybe it really was that they couldn't be arsed. The part of this article that struck me most though was the revelation (well, it is to me at any rate) that BMRB started compiling sales information for labels well-before the established the 'official chart' in February 1969, before they were in cahoots with the other partners to render that a financially-viable prospect. That implies that there was BMRB-compiled music sales data available ahead of the arrival of the improved industry-sponsored chart, possibly dating back to some time in 1968 or even '67? Of course, it's almost certain that none of that info would survive now, given that I read somewhere recently (forget where but on UKMix) that the BMRB were on record as having destroyed all their chart data from the period they were responsible for compiling it, and it feels unlikely that labels would've retained anything from 50-plus years ago. But it's interesting to contemplate that - depending on how widely they surveyed the market - there could've been potentially-better sales data supplied to the industry release-by-release than that which was being gathered by the music papers in order to compile their charts.

    I wonder whether Mrs Ailsa Walker is still with us, enjoying retirement?! It'd be very interesting to hear more from her. Allan Smith is the sort of chap who might've tracked her down for an interview about the charts, but then he is more 1960s-focused rather than '70s so maybe it wasn't on his radar.
    Adding a correction to my previous post. I had originally posted her name as Ailsa (which is the name given in the Record Mirror article and is the one I actually recalled from back in 1976) but changed it to Alisa Walker which is the name given in the Rock File 4 article. The correct name is Ailsa Walker. As for whether she is still with us - the last trace I can find of her is when she left the BMRB in January 1977 when according to Billboard she moved to Yorkshire as her husband was starting a new job there.

    Ailsa's boss, and the chief executive at BMRB who first pitched the idea of BMRB compiling the national charts back in the 1960s, Peter Meneer, left at the same time. Peter Menneer is definitely still with us. He also left BMRB in January 1977 to take up a senior appointment at JICTAR which was the commercial radio audience research unit. He later moved to work as a audience research statistician at the BBC and in 1992 set up RAJAR, the radio audience research unit which survives to this day and which amalgamated JICTAR with the BBC's own audience research unit. He also helped set up BARB, the organisation that measures TV audiences.

    As for any pre-1969 charts. BMRB did pitch the idea of a partnership of organisations to compile a national chart which would be based on actual sales rather than a points system. An article in Billboard from the issue dated 16 August 1968 (almost 50 years to the day!) outlines what progress had been made to that point

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xAo ... 68&f=false

    In the Billboard issue dated 19 October 1968 it was nearly all systems go with only EMI not yet behind the plan (interestingly EMI were compiling their own Singles chart at the time though that is not mentioned in the article)

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MEU ... 68&f=false

    Presumably for the BMRB to have confidence in what they were proposing they must have carried out some market research involving collating sales information but to what extent isn't clear. I would imagine that in the run up to the launch of the BMRB compiled chart in February 1969 the BMRB would have had to compile test charts simply to make sure the system worked. Presumably Gallup and later Millward Brown must have done so too? I can't imagine "go live day" would be the first day each organistion would start to collect sales data for the first time. It would be leaving too much to chance for something to go wrong.

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    by 15-08-18, 14:29

    Yet-more interesting material in the lead-in to the BMRB chart Robbie; thanks. As you say, test listings must've been made in the few months preceding it going live, though as I said, the chances of ever seeing any content like that are somewhere between zero and none.

    This Peter Menneer sounds like a crucial character in the creation of so many entertainment consumption measurement services we now all take for granted - the national music charts, radio airplay, television ratings and so on. That the same chap should've been involved with so many staple research and data analysis outfits over 25 years surely puts him up there as one of our unsung heroes?! Having done a quick online search on his name - like you were with Ailsa Walker the spelling of the name differs according to source, but I think it is with a double 'n' - and it seems that after 14 years' good service, the Beeb booted him out rather unceremoniously in October 1992: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/b ... 58414.html. How sad, especially as it looks like it was largely for political not practical reasons (although ultimately his conclusion on lack of demand for rolling news services was proven wrong!). Let's hope he's enjoying that retirement still after more than 25 years.

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    by 16-08-18, 10:27

    Thanks for the links to rock file. The interesting thing for me mentioned in the rm article is that they don't gross up the sample sales to try and achieve a national figure. I suppose without Smiths & Boots then any attempt to gross up would not be accurate as they have none in their sample of stores they can't begin to estimate what sales are going on in them type of stores.

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    by 20-11-18, 21:06

    interesting to see record mirror did a top 90 disco chart and a top 20 r and b singles anyone have them all ?

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    by 20-11-18, 21:27

    The Record Mirror Disco charts are slowly being added to this excellent blog https://jameshamiltonsdiscopage.com/ which is posting up all of James Hamilton's columns and the Disco chart in full from Record Mirror. The owner of the site used to upload a new column about once a week but in recent months there haven't been that many updates though that could be because the disco page became disco pages around the end of the 70s / start of the 80s. I'm sure the guy is actually typing up each column so I can imagine it being very time consuming.

    The top 20 RnB Singles can be obtained from the Record Mirror full newspaper scans that are being posted at the link in the first post. The archive is missing all of 1979 and 1981 onwards but the site owner does have the scans, he is adding what he has (apparently he has a backlog of 3,000 newspapers and magazines to add) at the rate of a handful each week.

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    by 23-11-18, 19:37

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyiow
    interesting to see record mirror did a top 90 disco chart and a top 20 r and b singles anyone have them all ?
    I have all the Disco charts upto the last posted. If you send me a PM with your email address I will happily pass it on. The site is now upto October 1981 and is posting at a rate of about 3 a week. They are doing a great job and bringing back loads of memories!

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    by 24-11-18, 21:46

    will do I also see there were breakers for the disco charts listed on another page.

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    by 20-12-18, 12:37

    Many more additions of music papers are being added, including NME, Melody Maker and Disc. Some of the years are now complete. All FREE to download!
    You have to keep checking them every other week.
    Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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    by 08-02-19, 00:40

    Have been looking at the 1967 Melody Maker's and I didn't know that it was so devoted to Jazz even as late as that.
    There's some early New Musical Express from the late 1940's to 1950 too. But you be hard press to find any mention of records in them.
    Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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