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‘It was part of the fabric of life’: readers over 70 years of UK singles chart | Music

Shami Scholes, Oxford, 54

Shami Scholes

I grew up listening to Radio 1 – especially the Sunday night charts, the results of which were discussed with friends at school the next day. My earliest memory is of listening to the charts with my mother in the early 70s, when I fell in love with the music of the Bay City Rollers, the Osmonds, David Cassidy and Motown music in its entirety. Now, as a Radio 2 listener, I don’t always know what’s top of the charts, or I always care, but I still love music and I can’t go a day without it. to listen.

Without fail, I was listening to the Top 20 charts on a Sunday evening, with my radio-cassette player ready to record the songs I liked or liked, ready to listen to them again on my Sony Walkman during my bike ride. back to school and back next week. I remember the countdown to Christmas No 1 was so big. Sadly, shows like The X Factor killed that. These artists and many more formed the soundtrack of my life, and I now love sharing it with my 13 year old son.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco36 years old, London

Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Growing up in Brazil, I’ve always admired the UK singles chart. I always thought it was more interesting than American. I loved the one-hit wonders, the appreciation the Brits had for novelty hits and of course, the Spice Girls. Now I’m a bit older and live in London, still obsessed with the charts, I even have my own podcast about it – The Global Countdown. I used to follow the Spice Girls charts very closely, and it pissed me off if a favorite hit didn’t make the Top 10. I used to buy CD singles every week now I buy on iTunes. I’d rather buy a song than stream it.

Harvey Summers, 58, Southport, Merseyside

Harvey Summers

The UK Singles Chart charted my own developing tastes, independence and early forays into personal purchasing power. After toys (received as gifts, most of the time) but before clothes, 45 rpm singles were what I spent my (a little) money on, when I had saved enough. From 1972, I listened to the Top 20 on the radio at 6 p.m., and I noted the prize list. I would do this for the next decade, eventually moving on to its first Tuesday noon reveal. I actually came home from school for lunch so I could do this.

I remember the excitement of any single entering the No. 1 chart at that time – a rare occurrence at the time. Slade had three in one year – 1973 – was phenomenal. I also remember being disappointed for years that Stevie Wonder never had a No. 1 solo, and then being even more disappointed that he achieved it with his worst single ever. [I Just Called to Say I Love You]!

Philip, Scarborough

I don’t think the UK Singles Chart means anything to me anymore. But there was a time, like many others of my generation, when it was. While in the early 80s there might have been a bit of disdain for top 40 chart numbers, there was still interest. I was interested in the numbers and the controversy generated by the maps. How long would Frankie Goes to Hollywood spend at No. 1 with Relax? The singles chart was part of the fabric of life. Or, at least, part of the fabric of a teenager’s life. It was important even when it really wasn’t. It had a lot to say about British society at the time, and I realized it much more when my family emigrated to North America in the mid-1980s.

The main chart summaries of my life were the charts of the early to mid-80s. The battles between the new romantic bands that eventually took over the world: Culture Club, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet… Coupled with the growing influence of videos, I was interested in the novelties then I wanted to see how these novelties were doing compared to the previous ones. those.

Liz Mannion, North Yorkshire
When I was at school in the early 80s, the UK Singles Chart meant everything. Conversations were dominated by what was #1 and what singles were being bought. Tuesdays were the days we rushed to listen to the card lists on a transistor radio, in secret so as not to get confiscated. March 1980 stands out as an exciting chart run – when Jam’s Going Underground went straight to No. 1. The excitement was palpable and I’m sure we were unteachable that afternoon. We were 15 with everything ahead of us. Singles were commonplace for us, the biggest (besides the Jam) being Roxanne from the Police, Rat Trap from the Boomtown Rats and Space Oddity from Bowie.

Graeme Arthur, 55, Fontainebleau, France
Waiting for Jam’s Going Underground to be announced as “straight to number 1” on a Tuesday in March 1980 was a spectacular vindication of my emerging musical tastes. Strange to think that wanting the music I loved to top the charts was even remotely important to me considering what I listened to. I still have the 7 inch from Going Underground – I might play it later.

I was accompanying a group of 14 year olds on a rock climbing trip up Mount Elgon on the Uganda/Kenya border during the Blur v Oasis showdown. The children were quite a diverse mix, mostly Ugandans or children of South Asian descent – few had any connection to English, and yet they fought over the merits of the groups. Blur won, if I remember correctly, with choral performances of their songs offered to the mountain each day.

Cambridge Jones, London

Cambridge Jones

The UK singles chart meant everything to much of my early life – who was top, who was bottom, who was new and who was no more… and, of course, most importantly, who was No. 1 ! The official Top 40 was the only one that mattered because placement mattered – so you couldn’t have an unofficial No. 10 or No. 1 – what good would that do? Buying just one mattered – you were doing this for posterity. I still have them all, I still care!

Sandy Burnett, 45, Perth, Australia
Like many institutions, the UK Singles Chart has declined in importance over the years. Every Tuesday, the chart was released. Each record store pulled out the full Top 75 recap as the double-page spread spread from Record Mirror magazine and taped it to the counter. There you could see what was new, move up the leaderboards, or slide the other way. On Thursday, Top of the Pops showed you what needed to be big. Then on Sunday you had the full recap where every Top 40 song would be played. It was possible back then for non-traditional [acts] to cross over and achieve moderate chart success. As a kid, I would buy everything from the Top 20 in the early to mid-80s. As a teenager, I questioned the authenticity of some pop music. Then I started listening to more left-of-center music that rarely came close to the charts.


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