What was in the album charts 40 years ago? Music from 50 years ago

Hawkfall's picture

UK Albums Chart May 5th 1973

1. Aladdin Sane - David Bowie
2. Believe in Music - Various
3. 40 Fantastic Hits from the 50s and 60s - Various
4. Ooh la la - The Faces
5. The Beatles 1967 - 70 - The Beatles
6. The Beatles 1962 - 66 - The Beatles
7. 20 Flash Back Hits of the 60s - Various
8. Billion Dollar Babies - Alice Cooper
9. Back to Front - Gilbert O'Sullivan
10. Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin

Obviously the Beatles albums are distorting things, but it's a bit arresting that at a time when music was changing so much, 4 out of the 10 albums were of 60s music.

Or perhaps that actually was because music was changing so much? Not everybody in 1973 would have wanted jean genies or generation landslides, so in the midst of all the turbulence perhaps they were grateful for a bit of K-Tel-delivered nostalgia. After all, the writer Dominic Sandbrook is always making the point that James Last and Mantovani were as popular in the 60s and 70s as the Beatles and the Stones.

Full chart is below. Lot of good stuff there, I own 11 of the Top 40, albeit not all of them were new releases at the time.


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Ah! So, as one of them was the first album I bought, it must be about 40 years since I bought my first album!
As far as the K-Tel (and Ronco?) entries are concerned, I think it's a TV advertising distortion. If you wanted a 60's compilation and hadn't been in a record shop for ten years then you thought you had the choice of two. If you wanted a current rock or pop album you had loads to choose from. It was the 70's equivalent to buying an "Original Album Series" box. Middle aged people buying all the singles they used to have on an easy to digest format. If they were really popular they would have been numbers one and two.
I've now got 8 of that top 40.... including the K-Tel contemporary compilation at No2.

Arcade comp is great - I was given a copy by my uncle when I was 6 as he got two by mistake. Still have it, though it’s far from mint condition.

Tracklisting here: http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?release_id=1802571&ev=rb

Including Houses Of The Holy, which I don't play, obviously. ;-)

Two of the year's most iconic albums aren't there.

Tubular Bells hadn't yet been released (May 25)

DSOTM was released in March and was already out of the top 10...

I believe it kept both DSOTM and Houses of the Holy off of No. 1 when they were released. Way to go Alice!

'nuf sed

To the very same week, look who's still at number one.


And Pink Floyd still just outside the top ten.

I own 12 of the top 40 albums from 1983, which is a fairly large total really. What I want to own now, preferably in a form I can watch is this beautiful number from the bottom end of the top 40 of the time:


It was a series. I have no recollection of these at all. But as a teenage boy I was probably not the target audience.


to revive the recent Afterword 'Listsmania', I confess at and around that time I had 11 of those albums. For the benefit of the jury may I state quite categorically my list did not include 'Singalong with Max'. May I also add, with equal emphasis, said list did not include 'Singalong with Max vol 2'.

you do have Little Jimmy Osmond’s “Killer Joe” though, right?

I was always proud of my contemporary music sophistication. That particular piece of vinyl remains in pristine, nearly new condition. Do you know, none of my mates ever asked to borrow it! Some people, eh? No taste.

... the mighty Max Bygraves. Will we ever see his like again?

One of which is Bowie, one Simon & Garfunkel greatest hits, T-Rex and Roxy the others.

Quite unusually probably for the Afterword site, I don't even own The Beatles albums therein.

I own one more, the other Bowie.

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