The U.K. #1s

The U.K. No. 1s

Based on sheet music, the charts began in 1948 in the U.K. But it was nothing more than what each music store was selling, so each store had is own chart so to speak. The music charts known as 'Billboard' in the United States had already started to include the sale of gramophone records into its chart and it went national in 1950. In the U.K. it was on 14th November 1952 that the first music chart based completely on the national sale of gramophone records was compiled by 'New Musical Express' (NME) which was just 12 records with 'Al Martino' singing 'Here In My Heart' (The Only U.K. Number One of 1952).


Looking Back (although before my time) It's hard to imagine all the records being made of heavy breakable, snapable and shatterable shellec, 10" in size and at the time cost by todays standards the price of a new Blu-ray movie release (about £18 today). At the time, most record buyers played these 78 rpm singles on 'wind-up' gramophones - that were non-electric record players that had to be wound by a crank handle to get the platter to spin. These winds would last for about 4 minutes per wind which was also how often you had to change the needle. These needles came in tiny tins containing 200 per pack. Oh boy how the world has changed.

The 78 rpm gramophone record which replaced the original wax cylinder in 1912 was to see itself replaced in the 1950s with a new unbreakable type of record pressed in VINYL. Vinyl was softer and so needed a whole new needle, now called a stylus to play them and a whole new electric run player that would be backward compatable with the 78 speed. New mono record players had 4 speeds, 16 rpm, 33 rpm, 45 rpm and 78 rpm. The 16, 33 and 45 would play with the new stylus which would flick over to a more corse needle stylus to play the old 78. To this day it is very hard to find really good original vinyl in mint or excellent condition from the 50s and 60s because it taken a while for society to drop the 78 and many people would unintentionaly play the vinyl speeds with the 78 side which totally destroyed the grooves of the vinyl records. A 78 rpm vinyl record was produced in 1958 and 1959 to get people to use the vinyl only side of the stylus but failed (these records are now extremely rare in any good condition).

The U.K. and the U.S. stopped manufacture of the 78 rpm shellec single in 1960 to prevent this but it wasn't until the 70s the the 78 rpm and 16 rpm speeds were dropped from the majority of record player and music center sales. The 16 rpm record was never really used for record sales and only used for speech so there was no need to include it on retail record players. Once the 78 was gone from sale and no longer inlcuded in the new mono and stereo record players in the late 1960s Vinyl started to last longer.


Since the 45 rpm vinyl single we have seen the rise and fall of the compact cassette single and the CD single. Although vinyl may be history for the masses it still remains the best sound quality to this day (as long as its clean and played on high end Hi-Fi). For this reason it was replaced in the 80s with CD. CD is very cheap to mass produce and has great versatility and soon became the mainstream music format (that was until the 21st century of corse). Today while the minority prefer the quality of digitally remastered and uncompressed sound of vinyl and prefer to invest in hi-end Hi-Fi to enjoy it, iPods, mobile phones and computers are the music players of choice for the mainstream and as hard as it maybe to comprehend these will all seem as obsolete as the shellec gramophone record by the end of this century


American entertainer Elvis Presley, who has topped the chart 21 times – Presley's second number one, "Jailhouse Rock" was the first single ever to debut at the top of the chart. The most successful band are The Beatles, who have achieved 17 number ones on the chart. The Beatles' first chart-topper, "From Me to You", reached number one in May 1963. .


In the 1970s the required number of sales needed to top the chart was roughly 150,000.

During 1992, when few releases were reaching number one, sales of CD singles and the 45rpm singles were low: songs needed to sell only 60-70,000 each week to remain at the top.



This collection contains every U.K. Number One hit from the U.K. and will be added annually every January.

These collections includes ALL double A (AA) sided singles and are available from here in both printed CD or any digital file format and bitrate of your choice.

Check out the contents and track listing by clicking on the image below.


1950s 1960s

1970s 1980s


47 Volumes


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