Prior to 1952 there was no such thing as the charts. Once the idea was accepted by NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, a weekly breakdown of best- selling songs began to appear. Initially the songs were largely sentimental, with Guy Mitchell and Doris Day high among the featured artistes. But by the late Fifties rock 'n roll had taken over.
There followed a largely predictable narrative of changing tastes within the charts, proceeding through The Beatles into the Flower Power era, the Glam Rock period, punk rock and the decline of chart material in the Nineties. There were some interesting pieces of information, to be sure - despite The Beatles' popularity, the most popular chart band of the late Sixties was Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich; when Ultravox's "Vienna" was on release, it was prevented from occupying the No. 1 spot by Joe Dolce's "Shaddap You Face." The quality of certain recordings did not always guarantee them top spot.
In general, however, the program seemed rather uncertain about what to do with its material. The chronological approach led to a considerable degree of repetition, together with some uneasy moments such as having an aging Tony Blackburn reading chart countdowns over the years.
In the end the program argued that the charts were now as popular as ever, even if the main mode of selling was through downloads rather than physical disks or CDs. This conclusion, it must be said, was pretty self-explanatory to anyone who has bought recordings over the past decade or so.
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