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It is a shame that this book has not brought out a new edition for years, meaning that any information you want about new music or chart positions has to be done by roaming aimlessly around the Internet, which can be a right nuisance. What is the book then: The book is an a-z of British hit singles since the time UK charts began, which I understand is 1956. Several editions of the book have been published and each one brings it closer up to date, inducting new artists and chart positions into the pages. How is it set out: Vey easy to use, it starts with the letter A and works through to Z. So you will see all the hits ABC have had at the front of the book and all the hits ZZ Top have achieved at the back of the book. Very easy to navigate if you're literate. What information is there: In newer editions of the book, you will get every artist who charted inside the top 75 singles chart listed. You will see their highest chart position, the number of weeks the song spent on the chart and will also see what record label they are on. Some artists are given mini biographies. Albums? There are editions of the book where albums are listed too, this information is still presented in an A-Z format. Bad points: There have been errors in the books, obviously with so much information there were bound to be slight slip-ups. Value for money: You can pick them up second hand for a few pounds, a new book could cost about £20. Artwork: Minimal, it is not needed really. Overall: Music enthusiasts should see this as a Bible. It is about as definitive as you can get and makes for very interesting and educational reading
I was recommended, Three Singing Pigs by Kaye Umansky, by a friend when I first began to teach music and singing to a group of 5-7 year olds. The book features 13 stories with musical elements; these range from simple rhymes to well known tunes to activities and games. Stories include: Little Red Hen, Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Hairy Scarey Castle. The stories cover musical elements such as pulse and rhythm, and explains how to present these concepts to young children. It also provides instructions on how to make simple instruments to produce sounds which accompany the stories. At the back of the book melody lines are also provided for each story. I have used most of these stories in class to encourage children to be creative in how they make and use sound. I think the most popular has been the Hairy Scarey Castle which they were singing for about six weeks after! I know there are other books in the series: Three Tapping Teddys, which is for the under fives and explores rhythm; Bobby Shaftoe Clap Your Hands, which uses everyday nursery rhyme tunes to explore colours and everyday actions. These all provide a doorway into the National Curriculum for music and are also FUN! A&C Black are the publishers
Released in early 2001, the 14th edition of "British Hit Singles" covers all Official chart positions from when it started in the early 50's. So, if you were wondering what position Madonna's "Holiday" single got to (in the official UK top 40, you would search for Madonna (the book's in alphabetical order so it's very simple) and then there would be a list of all her singles. The list simply is set out like this: 14 Jan 84- Holiday- Sire- 6- 11 In order this is Date of release Name of track Company Highest Chart Position Weeks spent on chart Above the list, there is a brief biography on the singer(s) and how many weeks they've spent in total on the charts. To face downwards for a minute, the book doesn't contain any info. on albums or movies, but it would have to be fairly big to contain all this additional information! Turning back to the beginning of the book, there is some statistics on record sales and a review of the year. As you venture a little further, you will find a very useful list of number 1's, with a lot of additional information. Moving on yet again, there is piles of really useful chart facts (this will keep you entertained for hours). Throughout the book, celebrities reveal their favourite and worst singles, plus the single which was at the top spot when they were born. Another low point (which can't really be helped) is that the book only covers upto the end of 2000. But, a revised edition will be released soon- so my advice would be to wait for the next book.
DID YOU KNOW? The first edition of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles was published in 1977. The 13th edition includes singles up to 1999 and is an essential party tool. We have spent many a drunken evening asking music trivia questions. You can even make it into a party game! It is equally great if you want a quiet evening in, as it is quite compulsive reading (or maybe I am an anorak!) This edition has a whopping 544 pages and retails for £13, but is usually available cheaper if you hunt around. It is easy to read and has lots of interesting pictures. The book is split up into lots of fascinating chapters and has something for everyone. INTRODUCTION DID YOU KNOW? The first ever chart (top 12) was compiled on 14 November 1952 by New Musical Express, and CDs were launched in 1983 to be marketed only to music buffs as a luxury item. The introduction explains about the ever changing charts, gives some chart milestones, and has a very interesting article about how technology is affecting the charts, for example, how the internet is affecting the purchase of music. 1999 DID YOU KNOW? In 1999 Jennifer Lopez insured her body for $1 billion and Steps were the best selling singles band in terms of numbers of weeks in the chart (63), selling 1,490,000 singles! This chapter gives a month by month summary of the music news of 1999, details the top 20 acts and singles of the year, documents some stage highlights of 1999, reviews the US chart, the DJs and the awards of the year. CHART CHAMPIONS DID YOU KNOW? The top single of all time is ‘I believe’ by Frankie Lane with 18 weeks at number 1, followed by ‘(Everything I do) I do it for you’ by Bryan Adams (16 weeks) and ‘Love is all Around’ by Wet Wet Wet (15 weeks). This section details the top 100 singles and acts of all times, and then breaks down the top singles by decade. There is al so a sheet music top 20 from the 50’s (bless!). NUMBER 1 HITS DID YOU KNOW? ‘Tired of waiting for you’ by the Kinks was number 1 when I was born (now, I am showing my age!), and little Jimmy Osmond is the youngest chart topper ever at 9 years and 251 days old. This section details the number 1 hits in chronological order and also includes some very interesting facts and figures about number 1 hits. RECORDS DID YOU KNOW? Anthony Hopkins had a hit at number 75 for 1 week in 1986, and there have only ever been 5 million selling singles (so far). Any guesses at what they are? This is a trivia section including details on the Eurovision song contest, and best sellers. A-Z BY ARTIST DID YOU KNOW? Barry Manilow has had 20 hits, but only 1 entered the top 10, and Bryan Adams has had more UK hits than any other Canadian. This is the main part of the book. It details the artists in alphabetical order and includes a mini-biography for the top 500 artists, the names of each single, the label and catalogue number the total weeks on the chart, the date of chart entry, the peak position, the highest position reached and any cross referencing. This is the chapter to turn to to answer those irritating questions….. what was that record called in the advert?…… when did that record get to number 1?…….. what was their last hit? There is also a new feature in this section, which is the single of the 20th century where 30 chart stars and DJs chose their favourite hits (personally I don’t agree with many of them). A-Z BY SONG TITLE DID YOU KNOW? There have been 16 hits titled ‘Crazy’ and ‘I believe’. This section details the hits in alphabetical order and can be used to answer the frequent question of who sung that record? It includes the song title, the artist, the year of entry and the highest ch art position. CONCLUSION Buy it, it’s brilliant for anoraks, parties, presents, relieving boredom, drunkeness, trivia fanatics, music buffs, saddoes, loners..........
576 pages charting the history and current trends in music. All the information gathered from 25,000 hits, 7,000 pop stars and 886 chart-toppers. All the detail any self-respecting pop fan could want plus new for 2001: New two colour look for faster fact searching; No.1 Hits - Background info and all the writers listed for every one of the 886 hits that made the top, and much more.