In August 2023, the Billboard Hot 100 celebrates 65 years since it began, in August 1958. The Hot 100, though, was spawned by a previous chart called the Top 100, which was a mix of 100 sides of records, and that was an amalgamation, in 1955, of three charts – Juke Box, Disc Jockey and Sales.
Billboard began the very first sales chart on 27 July 1940, entitled ‘National and Regional List of Best Selling Retail Records’. A selection of retail stores had been contacted to provide their Top 10 sales charts which were combined into one National, and 4 regional (East, West Coast, Midwest and South) Top 10’s. This was listed in a page entitled ‘The Billboard Music Popularity Chart’. And so began the first, continuous chart measuring over the counter sales in America. Cashbox (1944) and Record World (1954) followed, but Billboard was the first.
Eighty three years later, Billboard still counts down sales in stores, but, as all charts are, augmented by sales digitally as well as streaming points and airplay.
To follow the hugely successful 70 Years Of The UK Charts series, I am now launching an 85 volume series focusing on the Billboard sales charts, from 1940 through to 2025 (which is when the series will come to an end).
The series will cover all the main Pop charts Billboard printed from 1940 through to 2025, meaning that it will have:-
- Billboard Best Sellers In Stores
- Billboard Juke Box Charts
- Billboard Disk Jockey Charts
- Billboard Top 100 (1955-1958)
- Billboard EP Chart
- Billboard Hot 100
- Billboard Hot 100 – Bubbling Under
- Billboard Adult Contemporary
as well as other surprises along the way. The aim is to create a repository for the chart data by calendar year.
Each volume covers a full calendar year, with one each from 1940 through to 2024, with the final volume covering part of 2025 (as it is issued mid way through the year).
Ether the entire series can be subscribed to, or specific decades, for a discount, can be purchased. Equally, single volumes can be bought – though this of course is the more expensive option.
Each issue will include a full chart history for that year, but will also include a wealth of other information derived from the database. Each book includes some brand new information, never before calculated in this level of detail.
- As appropriate, chart rule changes are highlighted. It’s not always easy to know what was and was not allowed and sometimes odd records appear and then vanish, so this section will bring together as much information as possible about how the charts were compiled at the time.
- These are a listing of the important chart changes, such as frozen weeks, chart size changes, etc.
- A new metric, looking at the average age of each week’s chart. This is found by adding up the weeks on chart column and dividing by how many records are present. This has been calculated to answer the question ‘What is the age of this week’s chart?’ and ‘Is this the youngest/oldest chart?’ Only the Top 130 and Bottom 130 chart weeks are shown as we have about 4460 chart weeks from 1940 to 2025, and this of course will only show for each individual chart.
- Number 1 lists are always shown in books about the charts, but this listing is different as it will showcase an image of the record cover for the first time.
The Top 500 Artists
- One of the things I enjoyed twenty years ago was buying the new Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles and looking at where my favourite artists had moved to in the list of Top artists. Each issue will present a list of the artists and their ranking to date, with where the artist was on the previous years’ listing. Equally, from 1950 decade listings will be presented showing where the artists line up per decade. Again, this is specific to each chart and so will ‘reset’ with the advent of the Billboard Hot 100.
Full Chart History
- As usual, the full chart history will be presented in alphabetical order by artist showing entry date, weeks on chart, peak position, title, composers, b-side, label, catalogue number and duration. Full listings showcase all re-entries, even if the record only dropped off the chart for one week.
- This is a listing of the records by peak position within the year, and shows all records that charted during the calendar year. This listing type has been created for the USA before, by the excellent and much missed Joel Whitburn and his Record Research company, but this listing is based on records in a calendar year, as opposed to the peak position in his annual book.
- The full weekly charts are presented here, so that readers can see in full the accurate and complete charts for each week.
The Hit Log
- This is also something never before published – a listing of all records to chart but in the order in which they first entered the charts, together with a picture of the entry.
New statistics for this series
Highest New Entries / Highest Re-Entries
- This listing is the highest new or re-entry that occurred in the chart to date, ignoring the first chart as that would all be new entries. This listing is designed to showcase record statistics which have stood the test of time – very few records enter high, or re-enter high.
Biggest Fall/Climb within the chart / Fall from the chart
- These three listings aim to show the largest movements within the chart. Most often, records will have small movements – relatively speaking to the size of the chart. This listing is designed to show those with the larger movements over time.
Artists With The Most Hits
- From the first chart to the current date, this will showcase the artists with the most hit records to chart, together with when they first charted. In 1940 Glenn Miller led the field with the most entries – who will be the most for the entire chart span of the Best Sellers In Stores Chart?
Longest Runner By Record / Chart Run
- This listing is a showcase of the most weeks on chart in a single run (consecutively) or by a single recording in total, as the chart progresses. The aim is to present those records of longevity which have stood the test of time on the charts, particularly as Billboard’s current Hot 100 rules require many records to vacate after 20 weeks.
Overall, the format has been tightened up a little as well from the UK series, to allow a little more per page (the first issue is still over 250 pages for only 5 and a bit months charts!)
Below are some example pages, taken from the 1940 issue, and also some from a later volume or two. Please note that data represented within these pages are a preview and may be subject to change.
Please also note that this is a digital only subscription and no printed offering is made. Joel Whitburn’s Record Research has some excellent printed chart books if you’re interested in a printed volume, which is not something I can supply, I am afraid.
To purchase, you can either buy a subscription for £10 a month running for 20 months (this will be edited as the series progresses so that subscriptions end around the same sort of time as the series itself.) This is the cheapest option as the series total cost is £200.
The subscription provides all 85 weekly issues, together with free decade volumes at the end of each decade. Issues are released weekly from 8 August 2023, with a gap of a week at the end of each decade and a further weeks gap at Christmas 2024 (as detailed in the date table below).
Single Decade Purchase
Alternatively, you can purchase a single decade using the buttons below. If you purchase all decades by this option, over a subscription, then you spend an extra £15.
The 1940’s (Covering 1940-1949) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 8 August 2023
The 1950’s (Covering 1950-1959) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 24 October 2023
The 1960’s (Covering 1960-1969) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 9 January 2024
The 1970’s (Covering 1970-1979) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 26 March 2024
The 1980’s (Covering 1980-1989) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 11 June 2024
The 1990’s (Covering 1990-1999) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 27 August 2024
The 2000’s (Covering 2000-2009) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 12 November 2024
The 2010’s (Covering 2010-2019) (Costs £25 and consists of 10 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 4 February 2025
The 2020’s (Covering 2020-2025) (Costs £15 and consists of 6 issues and free gift of the Decade Series volume for this decade.) Released weekly from 22 April 2025
Purchasing Single Issues
Alternatively, you can purchase a single year – each year costs £4 – using the links in the table below. Please note that purchasing a decade saves you £15 off the price of buying 10 single issues.
I reserve the right to amend the dates above so that issues may be released later than the dates given. Notice will endeavour to be given of any delay, but sometimes issues arise outside my control that may mean notice is not possible.
In the event of significant delay (i.e. more than one calendar month) options will be discussed with individuals affected.
If purchasing a single issue in advance, notice will be provided via email to acknowledge that the payment has been made and the issue will be delivered on the date listed above. Please note that the issue will be provided in line with the caveat above in relation to delays.
Those wishing to cancel their subscription can do so, but no refunds will given for issues provided.
It is the customers responsibility to ensure they provide an email address that can receive email attachments as issues are provided as email attachments. Whilst every attempt will be made to contact, no refunds will be made for incorrect email addresses. However, subscriptions will be cancelled so further payments will not be taken beyond the initial payment.
All issues are supplied manually by myself, and so may be subject to delay. Issues will be supplied as quickly as possible, usually within an hour, but please to note that it may not be immediately possible and so issues may only be supplied within 3 days of payment.