A HISTORICAL RECORD OF THE UK SINGLES CHARTS IN THE 20TH CENTURY

YOUR INVITATION TO THE LAST CENTURY

The Chart Time Machine is an archive of the UK singles music charts in the 20th century. The UK charts saw incredible growth and diversity in its first 47 years, from the birth rock and roll in the 1950s, to Beatlemania and psychedelia in the 1960s, glam rock, disco and punk in the 70s, rap and house music in the 80s, and finally the grunge, Britpop and dance music of the 1990s. Truly the best century for music!

On this website you can search for artists or song titles by keyword and date range, search by highest chart position, view an artist's entire catalogue, and view a song's chart history; it's a comprehensive database just a few clicks away. We also offer quizzes and a playlist generator that actually plays music!

This website is for all music fans, whether you are a casual listener or a UK singles charts aficionado. Browse casually or use our powerful search tools to find the artists and songs you are looking for. Many songs can also be played by clicking the icon next to their titles (and we continue to add more playable songs every week).

Happy searching... and listening!

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ABOUT THE UK SINGLES CHARTS

The UK singles charts can be traced back to November 1952, when newspaper New Musical Express (NME) began collecting sales data from no more than a few dozen record stores which were initially aggregated into a list of the top 12 best-selling songs. This was expanded into a top 20 list in October 1954. Rival publication Record Mirror were quick to follow, compiling their own charts from January 1955. This was initially a top 10 and then a top 20 from October 1956, giving parity with NME. Both would later expand with Record Mirror becoming a top 20 in October 1955 and NME a top 30 in April 1956.

More rivals would soon arrive on the scene. Melody Maker started compiling its own top 20 from April 1956 and was soon joined by Disc in February 1958 and Record Retailer in March 1960. It's Record Retailer that is used as the source for all chart data between 1960 and early 1969, with data from NME being used for the 1950s.

Until 1969, there was no unified single chart. It was, as indicated, a fragmented situation with multiple newspapers and magazines publishing their own charts from differnet sources. That all changed in February of that year when the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) was tasked by the BBC to compile the first official chart listing, culled from a sampling of 250 record shops, chosen at random from approximately 6,000. The BMRB then sent the information over to the BBC every Tuesday.

This arrangement continued until 1983 when Gallup took over, and it was at this time the chart was expanded into a top 100. In 1990, the Chart Information Network was formed, a joint venture comprised of the BBC, Spotlight Publications (who published Music Week), the British Association of Record Dealers (BARD), and shortly thereafter the BPI. It was BARD - courtesy of member retailers including HMV, Virgin, WH Smith and Woolworths - who provided sales data to the Chart Information Network. In February 1994, Millward Brown started compiling the charts and has continued ever since.

The Chart Information Network changed its name to The Official UK Charts Company in November 2001, a name that remains to this day.

ON September 30, 1984...

On this day in 1984, the top 10 looked like this:

PosArtistTitle
1
Stevie Wonder I Just Called To Say I Love You   
2
Ray Parker Jr Ghostbusters   
3
Culture Club The War Song   
4
U2 Pride (In The Name Of Love)   
5
Sister Sledge Lost In Music (Edwards & Rodgers Remix)   
6
Bronski Beat Why?   
7
David Bowie Blue Jean   
8
Prince And The Revolution Purple Rain   
9
UB40 If It Happens Again   
10
Freddie Mercury Love Kills