This is the start of a series of posts looking at the four missing weeks of UK album charts from the 1960’s. this first edition will look at two missing from 1960 and whether they will ever be located.
Record Retailer April and May 1960
I need to set the scene before showing exactly which album charts are missing from the selection that otherwise provides an unbroken run from 1956 through to today.
The year is 1960 and Record Retailer has just gone weekly, after launching in 1959 as a monthly magazine. They begin, on 10th March, to publish a Top 50 singles chart, a Top 10 albums chart and a Top 10 EP chart, although these quickly expand to 20 places each. However, almost immediately, the magazine misses two weeks of publication almost one after the other. These are 30 April and 14 May and, the 8th and 10th weekly publications respectively.
Avid followers of the charts will find no mention of these missing weeks in any Guinness publication or any later work with two notable exceptions. These are the first Guinness Hit Albums Book from 1980 and the later Complete Books Of British Charts. And yet these weeks are missing as they where never published.
But they were compiled.
7 May and 21 May both feature charts with last week positions included, so these charts must exist. Indeed when the first book to publish the Singles charts was issued in 1991 by Guinness, they included the missing Singles charts as full Top 40’s (The Book only printed Top 40’s). Recently Graham Betts has been publishing the full weekly album charts in his series The Official Charts and he has likewise been unable to locate the full charts for these weeks exactly as printed.
The Singles charts exist. They have been compiled and published by Guinness so the missing 8 positions from 30 April and 10 from 14 May have been printed. Are they accurate? Well, all publications that follow Guinness used the same source – Guinness – so if they got it wrong, then no, but let’s assume they are correct. If Singles exist, why not Albums?
In the introduction to the first albums book, the Guinness authors make it clear that they don’t have those two missing album charts. 6 missing positions from 30 April and 5 from 14 May still remain missing.
Will these ever be found, without guesswork? Unlikely as, in 1980 the team at Guinness would have done their best to locate them and 40 years will only have diminished the chances rather than improved them.
So what charts have been published by Graham Betts then? He has the definitive and now accepted set of charts for this week based on, it must be said, guesswork, but informed guesswork about the nature of the charts and including looking at other album charts such as Melody Maker at help determine the positions.
While the originals are lost, we do indeed have something to help us work out roughly what was selling for those two weeks.
Readers may be interested in buying Graham’s book.