This month sixty years ago the New Musical Express published the first weekly 'Record Hit Parade' chart based on record sales – 78 r.p.m. discs at the time of course – with Al Martino’s Here in My Heart being the first chart-topper.
Chart shows based on sheet music sales had been broadcast on Radio Luxembourg since 1948. On the BBC Pick of the Pops was still three years off, and it didn’t feature the hit parade until 1958.
Celebrating all things chart-related is this BBC Radio 2 documentary, Carry On Up the Charts, presented by the king of the countdown Alan Freeman. It was broadcast on 19 August 2000 and also features Paul Gambaccini, Dr Fox, Pete Murray, Johnny Beerling, Andy Parfitt and David Roberts, the editor of the now defunct Guinness British Hit Singles book. (I've edited out most of the music).
This Saturday (10th) and next (17th) Tony Blackburn will be counting down the best-selling songs of each year from 1952 to 2012 on Pick of the Pops.
BBC Four is showing the documentary Pop Charts Britannia: 60 Years of the Top 10 on Friday 16 November. The following Friday you can see The Joy of the Single.