Just last year the Official Charts Company celebrated 60 glorious years of the UK's Official Singles Chart, but what tunes were us Brits buying BEFORE the Official Charts began, we hear you ponder? Well, wonder no longer.
A brand new book - The British Hit Singles – January 1940 – October 1952, for the first time offers a curious glimpse at what the charts might have looked like before the concept of an official chart was even born. Compiled by music historian Colin Brown (who sadly passed away last year) and completed by Steve Waters from logs created by the biggest record companies of the day, this book is a reliable a guide to the sales of popular records in this bygone era as we are ever likely to see.
Over the 60 plus years since the UK’s very first singles chart was created by New Musical Express publisher Percy Dickens in 1952, The British Hit Singles… is what the movie business would call a ‘prequel’.
At the time Dickens created the very first rundown by calling round a few of his record retailer contacts, a singles chart was a brand new concept for the UK. Over the following decades his NME invention was superseded by the Record Retailer Chart in 1960 and then the BBC/BMRB Chart in 1969 – various charts which became recognised as the UK’s Official Singles Chart.
These charts have become historical documents, cataloguing the evolving popular tastes of the Great British public, spanning generations of grandparents, parents, kids and grandchildren. Now, many years after the event, ‘The Missing Charts’ book, published with the support of the Official Charts Company, represents the first meaningful attempt to provide an insight into the records which British consumers were buying before the birth of the first chart in 1952. Spanning the 12 years from 1940 to 1952, this book highlights many of the great artists of that wartime and post-war era – from Vera Lynn and Alma Cogan, to Jimmy Young and Johnny Ray.
You can puchase The British Hit Singles – January 1940 – October 1952 from Amazon, here, or the accompanying CD box set here.
To celebrate the release of book, we’ve got three copies to give away.To be in with a chance of winning, tell us:
a. Al Martino’s Here In My Heart
b. Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel
c. The Beatles’ Love Me Do