Wednesday, April 20, 2005
On Sunday everyone* got all excited because the Top 40 decided to include legal downloads for the very first time. Before the event all sorts of nonsense was being spoken about how this would be a major sea change and would help the charts represent the taste of the nation far better than one that simply covers physical sales. This was mainly based around the fact that The Stereophonics' Dakota was the biggest selling download over the last 3 months, which would be the same Stereophonics who got to number one in the proper chart last month with the same track. Still, what did this exciting new dawn in chart history bring us? Tony Christie at number one and Elvis Presley at number 3. Man the barricades, truly the revolution starts here. Anyway, to celebrate this brave new age in music, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the Top 40:-
*Not actually everyone.
- The first top 40 was compiled in 1952, although rather than using sales figures to calculate the chart, the organisers based it on counting how often their local milkman would whistle certain tunes. The first number one was "Annoying Tuneless Mess at 5.30 in the Sodding Morning"
- Many people believe that The Sex Pistols were kept off the number one spot in 1977 as it would have been embarrassing for the Queen's Silver Jubilee if God Save The Queen had been at the top spot. This is nonsense, it simply didn't sell enough records. The only time the Queen has interfered in the charts was in 1981 when she officially decreed that Joe Dolce Music Club's Shaddap You Face should be at number one ahead of Ultravox's Vienna as it would "really piss that Midge Ure off".
- Record sales are now so low that only 5 sales can get you a number one. 3 if you offer sexual favours to JK and Joel.
- As all the interest these days is focused on the top 10, compilers simply make up the rest of the chart by drawing names out of a hat.
- When Bruno Brookes hosted the Top 40 on Radio 1, he would personally phone up each record shop to collect the sales figures. If anyone suggested that he could just read it off a bit a paper he would declare, "It's my fucking integrity that's on the line if I get it wrong, pal", before sacking the person involved, ritually beheading them and then using their skull as a drinking vessel.
- To stop Rachel Stevens thinking she was something of a pop failure, her management team convinced her that the number '1' didn't actually exist and that being number 2 was the best thing to be. They've recently paid to pay a mathematical professor a lot of money to come up with a new integer system that didn't include the numbers 2 to 9 either.
- In the future the charts are likely to include ringtone sales as well as actual music. This event will coincide with the death of civilisation as we know it.
- Elvis Presley is the artist who has had the most weeks on the charts, followed by Sash! at number 2 and 60Ft Dolls at number 3. Elton John is 4th.
- In 1973, the chart for the 19th May was delayed by a day when the compilers, distracted by a bee that had found it's way into the office, lost count and had to start all over again.
- No one really gives a toss about the Top 40 any more.
*Not actually everyone.