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British Hit Singles & Albums (originally known as The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums) was a music reference book originally published in the United Kingdom by the publishing arm of the Guinness breweries, Guinness Superlatives. Later editions were published by Guinness World Records and HiT Entertainment. It listed all the singles and albums featured in the Top 75 pop charts in the UK. In 2004 the book became an amalgamation of two earlier Guinness publications, originally known as British Hit Singles and British Hit Albums. The publication of this amalgamation ceased in 2006. A new version of the book published by Virgin and entitled The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles , first published in November 2008.
The first ten editions were compiled by Paul Gambaccini, Mike Read and brothers Tim Rice and Jonathan (Jo) Rice. Read left the team in the mid-1980s and the other editors resigned in 1996. Chart editor for many editions was David Roberts.
British Hit Singles & Albums was generally considered to be the authoritative reference (and only) source for both the UK Singles Chart (since its inception in 1952) and the UK Albums Chart. It listed all the singles and albums ever to have been in the UK charts since 1952 (albums since 1958), listing them in alphabetical order and by both artist and song title. The entries also included the date of chart entry, highest position, catalogue number and number of weeks in the chart. Short biographical notes accompanied many of the artists' chart details.
The book's sources are the New Musical Express ( NME ) chart from November 1952 to March 1960, and the Record Retailer (later Music Week ) chart thereafter. It could be said that this division is misleading, since the Record Retailer chart was little known until it was adopted by the BBC in 1969 and that by adopting this chart as its standard, the editors had a non-consensual view. An example often given is the case of The Beatles' second single "Please Please Me" which was recognised as a number one hit by every other publicly available chart of the time, but not by Record Retailer and therefore not by British Hit Singles. Other records to which this applies include "19th Nervous Breakdown" by The Rolling Stones, "Stranger on the Shore" by Acker Bilk and the Eurovision Song Contest entry "Are You Sure?" by The Allisons.
Co-founder Jo Rice has defended the book's choice of source material on the grounds that Record Retailer was the only chart to consistently publish a Top 50 from 1960 onwards. This can be substantiated by the fact that charts published in the NME were of a shorter format and other chart listings such as those in Melody Maker , became less and less informative although they were probably more accurate. Subsequent research has shown that during the "disputed" period of the 1960s, the samples sizes of the Record Retailer chart were considerably inferior to those of the other charts: around 30 shops in 1963 in comparison to more than 100 used by Melody Maker, and later around 80 in comparison to NME's 150 and Melody Maker's 200. As a result, the placings in that chart were more open to error and manipulation – a situation further worsened by the larger number of records listed in the chart.
The first edition was published as The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles in November1977. It wasn't the first Guinness music reference publication, as the previous year a book called The Guinness Book of Music Facts & Feats had been published. It also contained feats from the world of classical music.
The first edition was issued to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first UK singles sales chart, which was published in November 1952, by the New Musical Express . Subsequently, a new edition was published every two years, adding a few hundred titles to each edition.
Keeping in line with the book's parent publication The Guinness Book of Records, each edition of British Hit Singles also contained a 'facts and feats' section, which included various lists of remarkable chart feats such as 'Most hits', 'Most no. 1 hits', 'Most weeks on chart' or 'Least successful chart artist'. Also included in the books were photographs (often with captions) and introductions written by the four authors. They also wrote a bi-annual lookback on the major developments in the UK charts in the two preceding years.
The series was soon regarded as the number one source for music and chart reference, thanks to the commercial success of the books and its various sister publications (see below).
The series' 10th edition, published in June 1995, was the last to feature its original authors Rice, Rice and Gambaccini. From the 11th edition onwards, the book was compiled by in-house editors at Guinness Publishing and, later, by David Roberts who had already been a chart editor and designer for the original team.
From the 12th edition onwards (published in 1999), the book was published every year rather than bi-annually. In 2004, the book merged with The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums to form The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums. The eighteenth edition of the book (2005) was billed as a "Special Collector's Edition" as it featured detailed information on the 1,000 Number Ones in the UK Singles Chart from Al Martino's "Here in My Heart" on 14 November 1952 to Elvis Presley's "One Night / I Got Stung" (Limited Edition Collector's re-issue), 22 January 2005. The 19th edition (2006) was the last in the series. A supposed 20th edition was due to be published in 2007, but apparently the original publishers lost interest in chart reference books after their contract with The Official Charts Company expired, which saw that organisation sell the contract to Virgin.
|Edition||Publication date||Publisher and ISBN||Extra features||Editor|
|1||1977||Guinness Superlatives - 0-900424-83-4||Short history of the UK charts. Contains a short tribute to Elvis Presley at the end of the book, added immediately after his death shortly before the book went to press.||Unknown|
|2||1979||Guinness Superlatives - 0-900424-99-0||British Hit Singles |
Part 1 Alphabetical by Artist
Part 2 Alphabetical by Title................................- Act, (position) & year of chart entry
Part 3 Facts and Feats ............. (headings shown on front index sheet - not listed *)
..The first ever chart ...........................................- 14 November 1952 NMExpress
..Most weeks on chart ........................................ - rank, Act, weeks.
..Most hits .......................................................... - qty, Act, any supporting artist(s).
..Most Top Ten hits ............................................ - qty, Act, any supporting artist(s).
..The Number One hits ...................................... - by year, by month, title, Act.
..Most hits in one year ...................................... - Act, qty.
..Most Number One hits ..................................... - qty, Act.
..Number One hat-tricks ..................................... - Act, qty, title thro' to title.
..One-hit Wonders ............................................. - Act, weeks.
..Least successful chart acts ............................. - (1 week @ 50) Act, title, year.
..Most hits without a Number One hit ................. - qty, Act.
.* Most Top Ten hits without a Number One hit .. - qty, Act.
..Most consecutive years on the charts ............. - qty, Act, period.
..Most weeks at Number One (for one disc) ...... - weeks, title, Act, year.
.......................................................(by Act)....... - weeks, Act, year.
.......................(by Act in one calendar year)...... - weeks, Act, year.
..Most weeks on charts - recordings (by title)..... - weeks, Act.
..Most popular songs (by title) ..... - times recorded, Act, chart place.
|3||1981||Guinness Superlatives - 0-85112-224-8||Front cover montage of artists with most weeks on chart in each calendar year. Dedicated to John Lennon. Feature on the three-hour temporary stay at number 1 in 1976 by Manuel and the Music of the Mountains' "Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto d'Aranjuez". Top 100 chart hits of all time, calculated on a points system. Winners and British entries in Eurovision Song Contest each year. List of favourite singles of various chart artists.||Alex Reid, Melanie Georgi & Peter Matthews|
|4||1983||Guinness Superlatives - 0-85112-259-0||Cover painting (by Robert Heesom) featuring 50 song titles. Chart analysis of 1981 and 1982.||Alex E. Reid|
|5||1985||Guinness Superlatives - 0-85112-429-1||New lay out and typeset. Launch of the GRRR Golden Hitline (telephone line featuring music). Dedicated to Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and all artists featured in Band Aid. Chart analysis of 1983 and 1984.||Alex E. Reid|
|6||1987||Guinness Superlatives - 0-85112-823-8||First edition without Mike Read. First edition to sport the new British Hit Singles logo (and also used in all subsequent editions). Chart analysis of 1985 and 1986.||Honor Head (Editorial Associates: Nick Todd and Alan Golub)|
|7||1989||Guinness Publishing - 0-85112-339-2||Chart analysis of 1987 and 1988.||Honor Head (Editorial Associate: Tony Brown)|
|8||1991||Guinness Publishing - 0-85112-941-2||Chart analysis of 1989 and 1990.||David Roberts (Editorial Associate: Tony Brown)|
|9||1993||GRR Publications - 0-85112-526-3||Tagline "Now a million seller" added. For the first time, all hits by the same artist were combined (previously, solo hits and collaborations such as duets were listed separately). Chart analysis of 1991 and 1992.||David Roberts (Editorial Associate: Tony Brown)|
|10||1995||GRR Publications - 0-85112-633-2||New typeset. Chart analysis of 1993 and 1994.||David Roberts (Editorial Associate: Tony Brown)|
|11||1997||Guinness Publishing - 0-85112-027-X||First edition not made by the Gambaccini/Rice/Rice team. From now on, book was compiled and edited by in-house staff at Guinness, with Helen Weller listed as editor. Introduction written by Mark Lamarr.||Helen Weller|
|12||1999||Guinness Publishing - 0-85112-092-X||From now on, book was published annually. New typeset and lay out. More news and reviews stories with introduction written by Dave McAleer. Revamped 'facts and feats' section with many new records.||Jane Bolton (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|13||2000||Guinness Publishing - 0-85112-111-X||News and reviews from the year 1999.||David Roberts|
|14||2001||Guinness World Records - 0-85112-156-X||News and reviews from 2000. 'Facts and feats' section reduced to one page ("Top 10 Record-Breaking Facts"), but trivia added to list of every Number One since 1952.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|15||2002||Guinness World Records - 0-85112-187-X||Special 'gold' edition celebrating 50 years of UK singles charts and 25 years of British Hit Singles. Review of 2001.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|16||2003||Hit Entertainment/Guinness World Records - 0-85112-190-X||Pop review of the year 2002.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|17||2004||Hit Entertainment/Guinness World Records - 0-85112-199-3||For the first time, singles and albums were combined in one volume. Singles were listed in black typeface, albums in red. Review of the year 2003.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|18||2005||Hit Entertainment/Guinness World Records - 1-904994-00-8||Special edition celebrating 1,000 UK Number One hits (1952-2005). Review of the year 2004.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
|19||2006||Hit Entertainment/Guinness World Records - 1-904994-10-5||A "Number One Timeline" running throughout the book, listing every number one single and album since 1952. Final book in the series.||David Roberts (Chief Consultant: Dave McAleer)|
Following the success of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles series, the original authors and Guinness quickly turned to other charts-related books and projects. The following books were written by them:
In the late 1990s and 2000s several other merchandise was produced, such as karaoke CDs, a calendar, a DVD quiz (British Hit Albums and Singles No. 1 Music Quiz) and a series of themed compilation CDs with original hits from the book.
Michael Stock is an English songwriter, record producer and musician, best known for being a member of the songwriting and production team Stock Aitken and Waterman that achieved success in the 1980s and 1990s. He has written and/or produced numerous worldwide hits including 18 No. 1 records in America and the UK, and over a hundred top-40 hits. Stock is one of the most successful songwriters of all time as recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. As part of Stock Aitken and Waterman, he is acknowledged as the most successful producer-songwriter in British chart history and holds the record for the most No. 1 records with different acts, with 11. In the UK Singles Chart he has written 54 top-ten hits including 7 number ones.
Paul Matthew Gambaccini is an American-British radio and television presenter and author in the United Kingdom. He has dual United States and British nationality, having become a British citizen in 2005.
Dhar Braxton, is a female house music singer. In 1986, she had a #1 hit single on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with the song, "Jump Back ." Braxton is not related to, nor a member of, The Braxtons singing group. She is the younger daughter of singer Byrdie Green. Braxton also recorded another single for Sleeping Bag Records titled "Illusions." She contributed on Chocolette's "E Street Beat" prior to starting her solo career. Braxton's recordings were licensed to 4th & B'way Records in the UK.
"You Belong to Me" is a romantic popular music ballad from the 1950s.
Birdland were an English rock band, active between 1988 and 1993.
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.
David James "Dave" McAleer is the main contributor for the Virgin Book of British Hit Singles, The Virgin Book of British Hit Albums and the Virgin Book of Top 40 Charts and was the sole Music Consultant for the Guinness World Records between 1998 and 2011. Is currently the OCC to the Official Charts Company. He was the Chief Consultant/Contributor for the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums for nine years, and has written or co-written over forty published music books.
Dave and Ansell Collins are a Jamaican vocal/instrumental duo.
"The Next Time" backed with "Bachelor Boy" was the first of three number one hit singles from the Cliff Richard musical, Summer Holiday. Both sides were marketed as songs with chart potential, and the release is viewed retrospectively as a double A-side single. However, technically double A sides were not regarded as such until 1965, so "The Next Time" was pressed as the A-side, with "Bachelor Boy" the B-side. The song was succeeded at number one by The Shadows' "Dance On!".
"The Garden of Eden" is a song written and composed by Dennise Haas Norwood, and first recorded by Joe Valino, which reached Number 12 on the Billboard chart in October 1956. Valino recorded the song at his second session with Vik, a subsidiary of RCA Records. "I knew it would be a hit, even as I was recording it," he told Wayne Jancik in The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders.
Colin Larkin is a British writer and entrepreneur. He founded, and was the editor in chief of, the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, described by The Times as "the standard against which all others must be judged".
The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles is a charts reference book published in October 2008. It replaces the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, after the Guinness company withdrew interest in chart reference books at the same time their contract was due to expire. The last edition was published in 2006 covering all chart hits between 1952-2005. Two years later Virgin took over the contract from The Official Charts Company to publish the re-branded version of the book as The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles without the album charts information.
"Dial My Heart" is the 1988 debut single by The Boys. The single on the Motown label was a crossover hit for the group, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988-1990. It was the group's only entry on the Dance chart, peaking at number 18.
Bas Noir was an American female vocal house music group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The duo was composed of Morie Bivens and Mary Ridley. Its only UK chart success was called "My Love is Magic," which was released on the 10 Records label. It entered the UK Singles Chart on February 11, 1989, and reached number 73; it was only in the chart for 1 week. In the United States, the group's best-known single was a top 20 Hot Dance Club hit, "Superficial Love," in 1992.
"Love X Love" is a song written by Heatwave's keyboard player Rod Temperton and recorded by American R&B/smooth jazz singer George Benson. Featured on Benson's Give Me the Night album, it was also released as a single. In Britain, it entered the UK Singles Chart on 26 July 1980 and reached a peak position of number 10, remaining in the chart for eight weeks. In the US "Love X Love" made the Hot 100 and was a Top 10 soul hit.
"Never Give Up On A Good Thing" was a single by American R&B singer George Benson, which entered the UK Singles Chart on 23 January 1982. It reached a peak position of number 14, and remained in the chart for 10 weeks.
Blue Rondo à la Turk was an early 1980s British musical ensemble, whose music featured elements of salsa, pop and cool jazz. The group placed two songs on the UK Singles Chart, but is perhaps better known in retrospect for launching the careers of several players who went on to form the sophisticated jazz/Latin/samba/pop group Matt Bianco.
All Time Top 1000 Albums is a book by Colin Larkin, creator and editor of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. The book was first published by Guinness Publishing in 1994. The list presented is the result of over 200,000 votes cast by the public in record shops, universities, schools and the French music trade show MIDEM - and ranked in order. Each album's entry is accompanied by an annotation with a 100 word review, details of its creation and notes about the band or artist who recorded it.