Guinness Book of British Hit Singles

As a singles collector this book has always been a bit of a bible to me.

For those who don’t know the Guinness book of British Hit Singles is a reference book.
It lists all the Singles ever to reach the top 75 in the UK, with highest chart positions, weeks on the chart, year of release etc . As well as a list of every Number one single since they began compiling charts in 1952

There is also an album version as well and other spin off book on a same theme, but I was only ever interested in this book.
It used the “Official” UK top 75 as used by the BBC, Top of the Pops, Radio One and most Record Shops I know.

Over the years I have avidly bought each updated edition as it was printed every couple of years.
But to be honest during the past few years I lost interest.
Not in the music, I will never lose interesting that.
But who cares anymore what was number one in June of this year?, in fact who remembers?.

Chart positions seem irrelevant nowadays , artist come from no-where and disappear as quick, forgotten forever because even though it got to number 13 for a week, hardly anyone bought it, so unless you were amongst the half dozen people who bought a hard copy or downloaded the mp3, you wouldn’t have a clue.
Looking back through a book like this for hit singles during the last 5 years I’m sure would be like looking at a list of unknown artists.
I know I sound like an old fart here but it’s fact, even if you don’t like old music from the past 50 years, nine times out of ten you will have heard them, or at least of them.
But back to the book.

I decided to Update my copy anyway, but couldn’t find anyone stocking an updated edition.
When asking at Waterstones the guy behind the counter said he was asked quite a lot for this book but he wasn’t sure whether they were still publishing an updated version, he had no idea when or if they would be stocking it anymore, and the website just said “If you have an enquiry regarding the Book of BRITISH HIT SINGLES & ALBUMS please email or write to:- “
He also said that the internet has killed off quite a lot of reference books like this, as there are plenty of sites where you can get the info for free and it’s updated daily.
True, but that’s not the point of a book like this. It’s there to flick through. A trip down memory lane, to remind me of things I had forgotten about.

Maybe I’m getting old but I left the shop with the same feeling I had when Woolworths announced they would no longer be stocking Vinyl.

Do you remember Woolworths ?


Kippers said...

I think the most recent copy of the GBoHS I bought would be about eleven years out of date now. As you say, chart positions (and most of the acts who occupy them) are pretty meaningless nowadays anyway. Can't see me ever updating, though, even if anywhere actually still stocked it!

Mark said...

It was taken over by Virgin. Here's the latest, but judging by the reviews, I don;t think I'll bother....

David Taylor said...

I've still got a copy which is numbered 19.
Its a shame there isn't a downloadable version.

Anonymous said...

I used to buy it ever few years (not every two) but the last one I have is up to the end of 2001. Mind you, I am getting on a bit as I remember some of the oldest entries

Gary Burgess said...

I keep an ongoing record of certain information such as 'total weeks on singles & albums charts, longest number ones, biggest sellers' and some discographies etc etc and have done ever since my last copy in 2004. Perhaps we should all amalgamate and bring out our own version. The Virgin version is in my opinion useless for what I'm interested in.
A fully updated downloadable version would be a great idea or even perhaps a website where all folk like us can contribute the information.
I have some terrific well kept lists which could do with publishing but I don't have the knowledge to put up a website.

Michael said...

Did you know that the official chart website now allows you to look up old charts on a weekly basis?
Just pick a date and you can print off the entire top 100 going back as far as 1952.
It's not the same, but useful information

em6 said...

It's a shame. Particularly as I have just found a mistake in the 2004 17th edition! Short of buying a copy of every year published since, I have no way of knowing if it was ever corrected, nor how to get it corrected! There is an email address in the book, but it no longer exists. :-(


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