About the UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart, formally called the Official Singles Chart is a list of top selling singles in the UK that is compiled by the Official Charts Company. In its current form (albeit modified over time), the UK Singles Chart tracks the best selling singles since 1969. After the emergence of online music vendors in 2004, the singles chart is compiled on the basis of both physical single sales and downloads via the Internet.
The Official Charts Company also compiles singles charts according to genre. Thus we also have Indie, Rock, R&B, Classical, etc. singles charts. However, these don’t have as much value as the Official Singles Chart.
The UK Singles Chart Before 1969
The Official Singles Chart dates only to 1969. According to the Official Charts Company, two pre-1969 charts can be considered as official British singles charts:
- New Musical Express (NME) singles chart. The weekly music publication was the first to publish best selling singles in Britain. The first chart was published in 1952 and the NME is thus one of the main sources for history of singles in the UK before 1969. The Official Charts Company, however, recognises the NME as the official singles chart only until 1960.
- Record Retailer singles chart. The latter is according to the Official Charts Company official singles chart between 1960 and 1969. As a result, it is the most commonly used source for the UK singles history in the 1960s.
Other (Not Recognised) Singles Charts in the UK Before 1969
Besides the NME and Record Retailer, singles charts were also compiled:
- Record Mirror. It began to publish top selling singles in 1955. While being the second singles chart compiler in Britain, Record Mirror was the first to compile and publish the UK best selling albums chart in 1962.
- Melody Maker. The NME and Record Mirror got a rival 1956 when Melody Maker began to compile its own chart.
- Disc. The third notable chart compiler before the foundation of the Official Singles Chart in 1969 issued its own singles chart from 1958 to 1967 when it began to use the Melody Maker’s chart instead.
These singles charts in the UK are no longer issued. In 1975, Disc merged with the Record Mirror which, however, ceased to publish in 1991, while the last edition of Melody Maker was issued in December 2000.
Where and When Top 200 Best Selling Singles in the UK Are Revealed
The Official Charts Company weekly compiles Top 200 best selling singles in the UK. The Chart is first released by BBC Radio 1 on Sunday, while the Official Charts Company publishes the Chart later during Sunday afternoon. The readers of the Music Week magazine can see the new Chart every Monday. But neither reveals all Top 200 singles. BBC Radio 1 reveals only Top 40, the Official Charts Company website publishes Top 100, while the Music Week issues Top 75. All Top 200 singles are published only by the independent weekly newsletter UKChartsPlus.