The music charts were an obsession for me. I started writing the Radio 1 chart out in my Chart Book in 1972. I only stopped in 2017 when Ed Sheeran flooded the chart by releasing all the tracks from Divide at the same time. The magic of the singles chart was broken.
There was a time when you could ask anyone what the current No1 single was, and the majority would know. Nowadays I doubt anyone outside of the Industry would have a clue.
Of course, back in the day we had Top of The Pops which fuelled my chart interest. The UK charts were incredibly eclectic, meaning that every genre and novelty record had a chance to be in the charts, and consequently on Top of The Pops a few days later.
Inevitably that led to much argument and discussion about how rubbish/wonderful singles were – I can’t ever forgive Joe Dolce for preventing Ultravox from getting to No1 – but that was all part and parcel of the excitement of hearing the new chart on a Tuesday (as it was in those days)
I used to record the chart run down on my cassette player and then transcribe the whole thing out into the chart book.
Further than that, I would appoint scores to every track – No1 = 40 down to No40 =1pt
That enabled me to keep a running score and compile an end of year Top 60! It was a serious business 😊
But the Radio 1 charts were not enough for me! Every Tuesday night I used to go to bed early and listen to the live chart countdown from Radio Luxembourg! The reception was pretty dodgy and I was listening on a cheap transistor with the sound down, as my brother was asleep in the bed across the room.
As with Radio 1, I’d write the charts up and adopt the same scoring system 😊
I don’t suppose it was any real surprise that I ended up having the career that I did, eventually being appointed Head of Singles releases at Pinnacle Records.
Having listened to the charts for all those years, it was the greatest thrill of my life when I was finally directly involved with a single that went to No1 🙏
Run DMC vs Jason Nevins It’s Like That started life as a 10” independent single release. But everyone that heard it, thought it was a special record.
Thanks to the MD at Pinnacle, Tony Powell, the label was persuaded to release it as a multi formatted release. But even then, our ambitions for it were relatively limited. But over the weeks leading to release, the promotion gathered pace – especially at Radio.
By the time it was released it was obvious it would be a hit. But we were up against the all conquering Spice Girls who were on a run of No1 singles, so if we could get to No2 – that would be amazing.
When the midweeks were released to us, we were so far ahead of The Spice Girls, the No1 was guaranteed.
It’s Like That went straight in at No1 and stayed there for 6 weeks. One of the biggest singles of the year.
At the end of the week I was able to write Run DMC at No1 in the chart book. ❤️
Sometimes, dreams do come true 🙏
It was the start of an amazing period for me at Pinnacle 🤘
In 2003, I was able to fulfil the ambition of a lifetime. From following the charts, to putting singles into the Charts, I was finally able to achieve the ultimate – and be in the charts!
The National Accounts Team I headed at Pinnacle at the time, was incredibly talented. Paul Kearney ran his own Label, Guided Missile, which put out a number of “Alternative” singles and built up a good reputation and decent sales to boot. So a plan was hatched by Paul to release an EP of reinterpretations of tracks by the Darkness – and for the National Accounts Team to record one of those tracks. Our track, Get Your Hands Off My Woman, was put together in a studio in Chelmsford one Sunday.
The recording session was great fun. Steve Mortimer, Dave Blizzard, Bobby Montague, Paul Kearney and myself all took part. My contribution was a spoken outro- which took me ages to perfect! 😊
The EP by The Diff’rent Darkness, entitled Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Darkness was released in Christmas week 2003.
It charted at No 66!
From The Charts to The Chart. Ambition fulfilled.