Happy 60th birthday, the UK Singles Chart! Yes, today (November 14, 2012) marks six decades since music publication the NME published the first ever chart of the biggest selling tracks in the country. In 2012 the relevancy of such a chart is becoming increasingly moot, with the advent of iTunes and subsequent integration of digital track sales with physical meaning that any track off an album can feasibly rise to the top of the pile, whilst music piracy and streaming has severely impacted the standalone commercial quality of just one single. Many singles are now used mere promotional tools for the subsequent album, or given a video to boost an act’s profile. Yet with Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ currently the biggest selling single in the UK this year, with over 1.14 million downloads alone, it’s clear that the chart isn’t done as a force just yet.
As the Official Charts site itself writes, one of the founders of the New Musical Express, Percy Dickins, constructed the first chart by phoning 20 record shops up and down the country and tallying up their best-selling singles, the first ever chart seeing American crooner Al Martino going to the head of the pile with his hit ‘Here In My Heart’. The debut single for Martino, it was also to prove as good as it got for him on UK shores, and after 1955’s ‘The Man From Laramie’ he had to wait another five years for another top 50 hit there.
The Official UK Single Chart, Noveber 14, 1952
Continue reading: Official UK Singles Charts Celebrates 60 Years: Who Was No.1 In 1952?