Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sixty Years Ago This Week

November 14 1952 was a red letter day in the history of popular music here in the U.K. It was on that day that the New Musical Express (NME) published its first singles chart. Al Martino singing 'Here In My Heart' was the first single to top the chart which in its first week was actually a Top Twelve, the original idea had come from an NME hack who phoned round local record shops to try and discover which song was selling the most. Al Martino was to stay at number one for the next eight weeks.

One of the stranger facts of that chart, and indeed an illustration of the time that people were living in, is that only one song was actually available in seven inch format that could be played at 45 rpm (by Mario Lanza somewhat ironically given the style of music he was famous for), all other records were released on 10 inch shellac discs which played at 78 rpm.

Us Brits have bought some 3.7 billion singles records since 1952 and there have been some 1,200 number ones. Of course the ultimate chart accolade, besides reaching number one,was to have a million selling single of which there have been 123 such singles ranging from the sublime 'Hey Jude' to the ridiculous 'Can We Fix It' by Bob The Builder, probably Neil Morrissey's finest work to date.

Listening to the charts on a Sunday afternoon/early evening was something that pretty much everybody I grew up with as a teenager did - football and concerts permitting. It was a ritual that only really ended with the emergence of the punk/new wave scene late in 1976 when charts seemed to be a little less vital. I had a friend who would sit and listen to the chart and write down each song of the Top Thirty in a notebook, complete with previous week position, weeks on chart etc.

What is interesting for music anoraks like myself is that since downloads became part of the process of collating music sales, in early 2004, nineteen songs originally released before 2000 have sold a million copies, these include Rod Stewarts 'Sailing' and Abba's 'Dancing Queen' . The most recent song to reach a million was Goyte's 'Somebody that I used to know' - which I happen to know has featured as a centre piece in the TV series Glee which no doubt help boost sales of the original - and to be honest it is one of the most original songs of recent years.

The days when the fade out of the Number One would give way to the seven o'clock 'pips', the end of Radio One's weekend broadcast and the start of 'Sing Something Simple' are as much of my DNA as West Ham and fish and chips and it was obviously something I passed down through my genes because until fairly recently the Sunday night Top 40 rundown was part of Nathalie's weekend 'ritual'.

9 comments:

A Northern Bloke said...

I was thinking, the other day, about whether or not football chants are the same as they used to be. Today I read your post that mentions "Sing Something Simple" : can you recall the football chant based on that song title?

As for the charts... ...it's a shame, I think, that they don't seem to have the role they used to have but things have changed so much in the course of our lifetimes I can't imagine they're the only "casualty".

A Northern Bloke said...

Everyone, I think, would have their own choice for both sublime and ridiculous No. 1's.

My "sublime" choice would be Bohemian Rhapsody and the "ridiculous" would be Shaddap ya Face. (or whatever it was called) This latter choice is down to how awful it is and the fact that it kept a fine song from the No.1 spot.

Paul said...

I can't remember the football chant based on 'Sing Something Simple' although I do know that there is a campaign to have Sloop John B banned as the base for chants as it has become so overused.

Ah Vienna - brings back so many memories of seeing Ultravox on tour when they first played that song the year before it got to number two.

Span Ows said...

Yes, number 2 for months! Or weeks at least all down to twat Joe Docci (or however you spell it to sound like Dolchy). Funny how ALL people of a certain age have the same opinions about some things!

The charts used to be so good and as you say was a ritual for most youths in the country, what interest me now if how often you hear a FANTASTIC record from the 70s/80s and afterwards they say "which got to number 36 (and higher!) in the charts, or sometimes higher, one last week was number 54 (!!) but now can't remember which tune it was!

Paul said...

You're right Span, the thing is we all have selective memories, I was listening to the Top 40 rundown from October 1976 the other week and most of it was dire.

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, nike air max, polo outlet, nike air max, kate spade, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade outlet, chanel handbags, tiffany and co, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet, burberry handbags, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, replica watches, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, longchamp outlet, coach outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin, gucci handbags, coach purses, prada handbags, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet store, polo ralph lauren outlet online, prada outlet, nike free, jordan shoes

oakleyses said...

lululemon canada, jordan pas cher, nike tn, hollister uk, nike free uk, air max, louboutin pas cher, new balance, longchamp pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max uk, north face, hollister pas cher, ray ban uk, converse pas cher, guess pas cher, michael kors outlet, polo lacoste, ralph lauren uk, nike air max uk, hogan outlet, timberland pas cher, mulberry uk, true religion jeans, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, nike roshe, nike free run, sac hermes, burberry pas cher, michael kors pas cher, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, true religion outlet, nike blazer pas cher, north face uk, true religion outlet, nike air force, sac longchamp pas cher, polo ralph lauren, vans pas cher

oakleyses said...

giuseppe zanotti outlet, herve leger, soccer jerseys, asics running shoes, ghd hair, lululemon, insanity workout, vans outlet, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, hollister, p90x workout, timberland boots, reebok outlet, hermes belt, north face outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mac cosmetics, iphone 6 cases, valentino shoes, oakley, chi flat iron, nike roshe run uk, nike air max, babyliss, nike roshe run, instyler, mcm handbags, nike trainers uk, nike huaraches, soccer shoes, beats by dre, bottega veneta, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, north face outlet, hollister clothing, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk, celine handbags, wedding dresses, mont blanc pens

oakleyses said...

ugg boots, pandora charms, thomas sabo, ralph lauren, toms shoes, lancel, nike air max, ugg uk, ugg boots, ugg, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, hollister, karen millen uk, louboutin, uggs on sale, juicy couture outlet, converse outlet, swarovski crystal, uggs outlet, links of london, montre pas cher, ray ban, ugg pas cher, gucci, wedding dresses, supra shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, replica watches, coach outlet, converse, swarovski, vans, marc jacobs, pandora jewelry, pandora uk, juicy couture outlet, uggs outlet