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50 Years Of The UK Singles Chart:

Top 100 Acts compiled by Goldfinger

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As a %99 of music has charted at one time or another we thought it may be of interest to show how the points system worked before the advent of internet downloading of music took over from the vinyl charts.

The points system for the charts in its first 50 years is as follows.

Each week that an act spends at #1, they are awarded 100 points, a week at #2 gets 90 points, a week at #3 gets 80 points, and so on down to 10 points for a week at #10.

The music industry was less competitive in the early days, and the charts moved much more slowly, so in the era before The Beatles scored their first #1 with ‘From Me To You’ in 1963, only 80 points are awarded for a week at #1, 72 for a week at #2, and so on down to 8 for a week at #10. Charts before rock ‘n’ roll were even slower, so before Bill Haley and His Comets had the first rock ‘n’ roll #1 with ‘Rock Around The Clock’ in 1955, the points are scaled down further, 60 points for a week at #1 down to 6 points for a week at #10.

Finally, a further 8 points are added for every week each act spends in the chart, whether at #1 or #75, regardless of the era. Where a tie occurs, it is broken by referring to how many #1s each act has had, followed by how many #2s they’ve had, and so on.

The charts used are the NME chart from November 1952 to March 1960 (including the week ending 5 March 1960, erroneously omitted from the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles), and the Record Retailer/Music Week chart from March 1960 to November 2002.

The first chart was published on 14 November 1952 and the last chart used is the chart published on 3 November 2002 and dated 9 November 2002, which may look as though I’ve stopped one week short of 50 years, but this is due to the first chart being published on a Friday instead of a Sunday, as it took longer to add the figures up in those pre-computer days. In 2609 weeks, there have been 938 #1s and 6147 Top 10 hits.
Drawing the boundaries between one act and another isn’t always easy. I’ve departed from Guinness on a few issues, notably in the case of 60s backing groups such as The Shadows, whose hits backing Cliff Richard are not included in their points total (the same principle applies with The Tremeloes’ hits backing Brian Poole and after much head-scratching, The Beatles’ hit backing Tony Sheridan), and solo acts who have been given top billing on hits with groups they were in, such as Diana Ross, whose hits with The Supremes are not included in her total (the same applies to Rod Stewart’s hits with The Faces). Additionally, I consider Manfred Mann and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band to be two different bands, with only one member in common. Another odd case is Paul McCartney/Wings, considered one act for the purposes of this chart.

In the case of collaborations, the total points go to all the acts concerned providing the acts concerned have had 3 hits or less together. 4 or more and they are considered an act in their own right. The most difficult issue in this respect was the partnership between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Their original 2 hits were incorporated into 2 additional hit mega mixes, which meant that they had to be considered an act in their own right.

The chart is dedicated to the memory of Lonnie Donegan, who died while it was being compiled.




Here are the acts who didn’t make the Top 100, but would have if their points totals from different acts they were part of had been combined (with apologies to artists such as Sarah Dallin and Keren Woodward of Bananarama, who appeared on both Band Aid records, charity conglomerations don’t count because of the obvious logistical impracticalities of ascertaining who was on them all, unless, as in the case of the Hillsborough record, all the artists are named in the artist credit itself);

Donny Osmond (6902 points for his solo hits, plus hits with The Osmonds, and with his sister Marie)

Olivia Newton-John (5812 points in total, but I made the controversial decision that her partnership with


John Travolta counted as an act in its own right, because they appeared together on more than 3 hits)


Eric Stewart (5768 points for his hits as a member of The Mindbenders, Hotlegs and 10cc

Roy Wood (5522 points for his solo hits and his hits with The Move and Wizzard, not forgetting his brief membership of ELO)

Annie Lennox (5518 points for her solo hits plus her hits with The Tourists and Eurythmics)

The Tremeloes (5296 points for their hits in their own right plus their hits backing Brian Poole)

Lionel Richie (4962 points for his solo hits plus his hits as a member of The Commodores)

Bryan Ferry (4804 points for his solo hits plus his hits with Roxy Music)

Adam Ant (4782 points for his solo hits plus his hits as leader of Adam And The Ants)

Buddy Holly (4662 points for his solo hits plus his hits with The Crickets)

Dusty Springfield (4490 points for her solo hits plus her hits with The Springfields)

Dave Stewart (4346 points for his solo hits plus his hits with The Tourists and Eurythmics)

Marc Almond (4312 points for his solo hits plus his hits with Soft Cell)

Siobhan Fahey (4116 points for her hits with Bananarama and Shakespear’s Sister)

Gerry Marsden (4038 points for his hits as leader of Gerry And The Pacemakers plus his charity hit with The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney and Stock Aitken Waterman)

Tina Turner (3994 points for her solo hits plus her hits with her former husband Ike)

Will Smith (3882 points for his solo hits plus his hits with Jazzy Jeff as The Fresh Prince)

Some of the more legendary and/or ubiquitous artists who surprisingly failed to make the magic 3830 points include Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane, Ron Wood and Ian McLagan (the latter four would almost certainly have made the list had The Faces been credited on Rod Stewart’s early “solo” hits).


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