Classic Real Charts

Retro Real Charts From The Past

I thought I would bring back the Classic Charts page since Blogger now allows more pages to be added.
Also check out the 60's chart page for charts from the 1960's including the very first top 100 from 1960. It was on here but has been moved to there!   I'm sorry to inform readers that due to circumstances beyond my control I have not been able to complete the 1978 and 1979 pages as promised. So all the charts for 1978 have been removed from this section (If you want a PDF of the incomplete 1978 Real Charts, use the link to download it).     I can now bring you the 1981 charts!
At the end of the 1981 charts are two charts from 1977. The first is when the banned Sex Pistols record failed to get to Number One in the chart, plus the story of why it didn't get to the top!
After that is the chart following on after the King of Rock, Elvis Presley died.

Real Chart 1978 to Sept 3 (incomplete year) PDF

Top 100's from 1981

Below are ALL the top 100 charts for 1981. As always the orange colour indicates a record falling out.  At the end of the 1981 lists is the top 100 best sellers for 1981.
The full set of charts for 1981 is available now in PDF format. This includes ALL sales figures. Plus the full list of best selling records that sold over 250K that year. Well over 200 records! 
  The 1980 charts have all been removed except the last chart of the year which shows which records have fallen out, not indicated before or in the PDF file below. I would have liked to keep them all up, but it does slow the loading of the page down, having all the charts on! The top 100 best sellers for 1980 follows afterwards. Below also is the PDF file for the year 1980. It includes all the charts with full sales figures (except those left over from 1979). Plus the top 200 best selling singles and the few left over. Unlike the more recent files for the year charts both the 1980 and 1981 PDF files do not include a list of what dropped out and what they reached in the charts. 

The Real Chart 1980 PDF  
The Real Chart 1981 PDF  New

21 December 1980 (last chart of the year)




January 1981

The top 100 charts for 1981 start with a combined sales chart of two weeks. Hence why there are no yellow sales symbols on the records that have increased sales, since all the records have increased sales! The sales figures for the two weeks are shown in this chart, future charts will not feature this column. But as the weeks pass I can say for certain that the bottom end of the chart adopts a more typical figure of the top 100's of today, unlike the 1980 charts which were very low.
These early 1980's charts seem to suffer from the dealers not knowing when records come out, for record companies were still using the Friday release day, as well as the new Monday day. This sometimes makes the Real Chart a bit slower than the OCC charts, which are adjusted to correct for dealer problems, as well as containing none existent sales! Though if the Real Charts had been broadcast the same time as those by the BBC, the BBC chart would have been a week behind, only catching up (or overtaking) our chart the following Tuesday after our Sunday chart.    
In the first chart of the year the OCC however, never picked up the Randy Crawford track at number ten at all!
The colour change to the title of these charts shows that these charts were already written down by me earlier than when I started this blog site (partly completed in some cases).    




February 1981

Lennon still holds to the top for most of the first half of the month, even though both of the tracks that will end his reign are in the chart at the very start of the month. His sales are not what you would expect, hanging around the 100K mark, not getting higher than 110K while at the top. The record that does sneak in a week to put an end to John's top spot, is the record everyone thinks should have been number one on the Official Chart, but of course it wasn't. I speak of course of Ultravox. So yes it should have been Number One and it was!
Lennon wasn't the only act clogging up the chart with his records, Adam Ant was having a fair good go at it. Even Dog Eat Dog hung around the Real Chart long after it had left the BMRB top 75.
If you compare a Real Chart top 100 and the BMRB chart of the same date period, you can see that the 1981 BMRB charts were being hyped a lot. One week I spotted at least 6 new entries on the top 75, which were not there on our chart. Though some did come in the following weeks, the object of hyping was to get the record into the charts. Then appearances on TOTP and radio airplay would encourage people to buy the records then hence, chart entry on BMRB chart, following week chart entry with genuine sales on the Real Chart. You don't have to take my word for it. Just get the BMRB from the OCC website for week ending 7 February and compare it with the Real Chart of 1 February. 
So who missed out due to the hypes? Start with Nash The Slash at 35, Joe Jackson at 42, Suzi at 54, then the records at 56, 57, 63, 66, 74, 75. I could list the others, but as the BMRB was only a 75, though of course it was bigger than that, it wouldn't be fair.     

March 1981

After Joe Dolce managed finally to get to the top he doesn't stay there long, for an exclusive Real Chart topper takes it from him, for a week. Motorhead and Girlschool never reached the top on the BBC chart, only making number five there. Often called Headgirl, even though the original single never uses that name, they are one of quite a few records that got to number one this year that didn't make the other chart top spot. Before the month is out Kim Wilde current hit will also reach the top. Later in the year more of her singles make the top on our chart. But she never made number one on the Official BBC chart - ever!

But if records make the top on our chart, but not on the other, it means that somewhere along somebody has to miss out. And for this month it is Shakin' Stevens with This Ole House. None of the 3 weeks on the BBC chart made an impact here.  


 April 1981

Spending the entire month top after winning the Eurovision Song Contest, Bucks Fizz immediately got the hate factor from the hard-core music press just like Abba had done. However the band continued to enjoy top ten success in the years to come. For the teenage lads, Jay Aston of the band became the one they were interested in as this Record Mirror shoot she did in May 1983 shows:
They managed to stop the theme to the top rated BBC TV series about David Lloyd George getting to the top and a collection of snippets by a cover band of the Beatles, from an act calling themselves Star Sound. I think they used a drum machine, that in the years to come would be used to death on many hit records. But it had it's critics. Surprisingly Star Sound went on to have more hits using the same method, by which time everyone had caught on to the fact that you could put bits of records together over a funky beat to have a hit!
Sales on these charts ran from a max of 144K for the 19th Chart to the bottom which has been at 20K for some time now. The 144K being the highest for the year so far, since the first chart of the year. But that record doesn't last long....


May 1981

Straight in at number one with the highest sales so far this year of 160,000 copies, Adam And The Ants get their second number one. Despite a clever video for the track, he doesn't keep it long and is replaced by Toyah and then Kim Wilde's second number one. There are plenty of none BMRB hits that make the charts this month. Starting already with the Dooleys in the first chart at 42.  Watch out for the Spurs record never getting higher than 48 in the Real Chart, but making the top ten on the BMRB chart! Also Depeche Mode's first record will not go away, perhaps due to the Independent Shops? Shakin's Stevens fails again to get to the top, but rest assured he will get there with one of his singles this year. Lastly Ultravox drop out to become the biggest selling single of the year so far, knocking John Lennon off. With a total of 805K, only to be replaced when Kim drops out selling just 1,000 more! But how long will she stay top?

June 1981

Once again variations in the Real Chart and the Official Chart in the number one position occur, though the first topper for June follows the other chart. But while Smokey Robinson hung on to the top on the other chart, he quickly lost it on ours. For when Kate Robbins, who is related to Paul McCartney, was at number 7 on our chart, she had snatched the number two position on the OCC chart. The following week she did not however follow the upward trend on the other chart, but she made up for the lost ground on our chart by going one place higher than two. Smokey's declining sales was also detected by the other chart, allowing Michael Jackson's solo effort to get the poll position. But the sampling system of the same chart, sampled out who was gaining more ground. And Jackson stalls at number two on our chart, which just used all the sales figures. Because a showing of the video of the Specials Ghost Town on Top of The Pops, did exactly what it did 35 years, later when a much smaller population of England watched the same video on the repeat of TOTP. That was to send a bigger slice of the population into record shops to get it. 35 years later a new bunch of people would download the same track in the same response to the showing. After that the track stayed top till July. But it was their last number one hit. For on the very last time at number one, they performed it in the studio of TOTP. Afterwards Terry Hall and others, argued with the other members of the group and said they were splitting from the group. The remaining members did keep the group going, but they never really managed to make a decent record that would capture the public's attention again. However a record about Nelson Mandela, gave a top ten hit to a variation of the group in 1984. Sales at the top end of the charts in June are not great, with under 130K for the top sellers. The bottom end does not drop below 20K, so much higher than today.     

July 1981

Shakin' Stevens will finally get his first number one at the end of July the same time as the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. Though many records were made in celebration of the event it seems that the public were not interested in buying any. Instead the record companies had cottoned on to the Star Sound record and the cover versions featuring short samples of clips from records, some re-made some original would flood the charts in the months to come. Duran Duran's third hit had a very controversial video made for Girls On Film which was very sexy and so banned. Several well known acts have exclusive hits on the Real Chart. Elton John and Kikki Dee to name a couple. Barry Biggs, who had a big hit in 1976/7 with Side Show wasn't having a great deal of success with his latest hit. It had entered the Official Chart at 53. But it made no appearance on our chart the same week. However due to the strange nature of the producers of Top of The Pops, despite the record not fitting in with the current type of records in the chart. Probably one of the reasons it hadn't entered the Real Chart, it was picked to appear on TOTP. The record to get as high as 53 was clearly not selling at all, but after the TOTP showing it was and it enters at the very low position of 92 on our first chart of the month.  Overall sales for the month were nothing out of the order with Shaky managing the highest sale of the month with just 137K. The Specials were in a slow decline all month. Sales at the bottom end are still 20K and most of the records are on 40K, typically starting around 15 and dropping as low as 60. Though on the 12 July they start at four!  The current best selling record is the big number one from Bucks Fizz, selling just over 900,000 copies.     

August 1981

We start the month by saying that if you haven't already spotted in the July charts, that Adam And The Ants have  now passed the million mark and become the first record to do so and of course the current best seller of the year. It is just 28K over it on the first chart of the month. Shaky will loose the top spot to Kim Wilde by just 6,000 copies. I have recently read that at this time the BMRB system still include diaries sent by post. Now the postal service was never that good and still isn't. In fact the BMRB chart for the 8 May 1976, was sampling 270. But only 158 shops managed to get the sales information in on time. It follows on that the fact these charts only sampled a small portion of the total shops and sales, that 6,000 copies could easily be missed. Apparently you would think that the computerisation of the system would mean that missing information would either not happen or be very small. But it seems that even the current charts have large gaps in data in them at times. So the problem is still there. It seems also the BMRB chart also over estimated the sales of Aneka's Japanese Boy as it fails to get the top spot on our chart. Marc Almond's Soft Cell having made up for it's poor start and taking the top spot earlier than Aneka. Soft Cell's song came out of the Northern Soul scene as did Dexy's Midnight Runners. The band being named from the drug that clubbers used to take to keep awake all night while dancing! I'm not certain why the BMRB chart had an Orchestra as high as number 2 with a medley of classical music, but the real public couldn't be bothered to even put in the top ten on our chart. In fact chart buyers were already building up Duran Duran into big stars with Girls On Film reaching number two.     

September 1981

Soft Cell where on so high a sale that new Adam Ant record was held off for another week on the Real Chart, while he topped the BMRB chart that week. Even a great video couldn't give Adam all but a week on the top of our chart, as the Police with their controversial record which wasn't deemed suitable for the BBC to play, pushed them out of the way. Dave Stewart and Barbra Gaskin with the old 60's hit will also enter high in the top 20, but still take a few weeks to get to the top. Keep a look out for the minor first hit for girl group Bananarama. And it was the rise of the Sheffield Groups with Heaven 17 and the Human League. The medleys and samples also reach a new high in the charts, but they all fail to reach the top.


October 1981

We start the month with an obsession with birds and ducks! Triggered by the Tweets record and nothing to do with the text service that wasn't even around then! One of them the Howard Burnett track must be vary rare these days as it isn't even on 45 Cat! It's odd that though Adam Ant stays at the top till the middle of the month on the BBC chart he clearly must have been badly distributed as he quickly lost the top on our chart. Once the affect of the Police ban dies off, the Human League's new record blasts its way to the top. They hold off the slow climber from Dave Stewart and Barbra Gaskin, which takes the BBC chart top spot a week earlier than ours. Sales for top spot never get higher during the month than124K. And the old 60's remake takes the top on less than 100K. Speaking of badly distributed records Laurie Anderson's O Superman could have reached the top, but due to the fact the insufficient records were pressed, stalls at two. Christopher Cross Arthur's Theme also enters the chart this month. But on it's first outing doesn't do well. But in 1982 it will become much bigger.      




















































November 1981

We have a new best seller of the year as Soft Cell top the million mark and past the dropping out figure set by Adam & The Ants. Only the second record to past the million mark so far this year. But having said that more than 200 records have already fallen out of the 100 selling over 250,000! Number one sales for the month remain high and the Police record looses the number one spot selling more than it did at any of it's number one positions. With Queen and the late David Bowie scoring a high of 170K, only to beaten by the second number one from the Human League straight into the top shifting 10K higher than that. One of the most interesting events is the continual attempts that Billy Idol has in staying in the charts with an EP which the main track is an old sixties cover of Mony Mony. It won't actually become a big hit till 1987.  


December 1981

As we reach the chart for the Christmas Number One spot, the Thursday before Top Of The Pops told it was the Human League at the top. A strange thing then happened 5,000 more people bought the new ABBA single and the Sheffield band lost the top spot. It didn't go either to the many new Christmas records out there, such as Tony Capstick, or The Snowmen who despite sounding like it WAS sung by Ian Dury, wasn't actually sung by him! One thing was for certain the Human League kept Julio Iglesias off the top spot at the start of December, a feat that he managed on the TOTP chart. His son however would get to the top of the chart many years later! There are some veteran acts in the December charts: Status Quo, Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Lulu, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Four Tops and the Barron Knights. All had hits in the sixties. Elton John and Kiki Dee also finally escape the One Hit Wonder tag they got in 1976. They would also get a second number one hit in the Real Chart in the years to come. 
The sales for the top spot peak at the start of the month with 250K. But what is more interesting is that the bottom end of the chart reaches 30K at the end of the year. For most of the year a more typical 100 position would achieve 20K. Watch the sales arrow multiply on the 13 December chart, all over it. Showing increased sales just before Christmas. The seasonal records from Slade and Wizzard also make the charts again. But these would have to be re-released by the record companies to give them an appearance in the charts. Of course these can now be downloaded any time in the year. How things have changed.
There was of course no chart for the 27 December and the sales from that week were carried into the first chart of 1982.
The full PDF of the charts and the best sellers will be posted very soon...    


Selected Charts from 1977


I thought you might like to see the most controversial chart of all time, the week the Sex Pistols failed to get to number one....
Gold coloured tracks will fall out next chart!
If you don't know the story then here's a quick recap for you. It was of course the Silver Jubilee year of the Queen, but a lot of young people were suffering badly as a result of the bad economic conditions. The band the Sex Pistols had picked up on this a written a song called "No Future". After an incident on TV which involved the band swearing at the presenter, media interest had picked up on the band and they wanted blood! At that time the band had signed a deal with EMI. However that company didn't just make records. They were trying to flog a new piece of medical equipment called a body scanner in the American market. However the USA had adopted import restrictions on products from outside the USA and so EMI was having big problems trying to sell the scanners. Then when the thing blew up over the Sex Pistols, the Americans were even more reluctant to buy from a company who had acts who swore like that and had low moral standards. So the man in charge of EMI ordered the Pistols out of EMI. But one person watching the TV and not thinking the band were the Antichrist, was Richard Branson. Now he was as dodgy as they come. He had already been caught fiddling his taxes, but his record company, largely set up to get Mike Oldfield, was out for new acts to sign. So he was on the phone straight away to the band. However Richard was seen as hippy rock king by the band, so they went to A&M Records, which turned into another disaster for the band. So they had no choice but to sign with Branson and Virgin. 
With the Silver Jubilee coming up it was decided to release "no future" under the title which is featured at the start of the record "God Save The Queen" and to put the record in a picture bag featuring the safety pin in the picture of the Queen.
The record of course was quickly banned from record stores and radio stations around the country. It was only ever played by John Peel on late night radio and sometimes on Capital Radio.
In the charts of some record shops the name was left blank! And when the chart made by the British Market Research Bureau came out it was only number two. Not number one. Which meant that TOTP did not have to play it! So it quickly went around that the chart had been fiddled by the chart makers. One story is that Branson's chain of shops - Virgin - had been removed by the company as a directive was issued connected with record stores connected with record labels having too much control of the chart. Another record company person said that as far as distribution was concerned the Sex Pistols were shipping more copies that the BMRB number one from Rod Stewart. But no-one can really tell what the real position was till now. 
As you can see the Sex Pistols were NOT top!!! But neither was Rod!! So it looks like the chap from the record company was right. However the BMRB chart was made up on less than 250 shops to represent many thousands of shops. And when you put them all together you get Country act Kenny Rogers going to the top a bit earlier than the BMRB chart has him. Not to say there wasn't some fiddling going on in the BMRB chart. Has it has Alessi Oh Lori in the chart! A record that is there because some record company people has gone around the chart shops buying up and getting staff to enter the record in the log books of the BMRB. It was hyped!! In fact it was revealed the following year to have happened. But as you can see the track is not in the Real Chart!
The truth is that if the other stores had stocked the Sex Pistols then even if they had not sold a lot it would have sold the others by a big margin.

The Elvis Chart
Following the death of Elvis Presley on the 16 of August 1977 fans went mad for his records. His latest single was in the Real Chart on the 14 of August at number 50, where it was turning into a bit of a flop having moved up just two places!  It sold just 11,000 copies at number 50, the following week 220,000 had been snatched of the shelf. Sometime in May of that year RCA had issued a lot of his back catalogue, so these records were also found in various record shops and also two singles that had been hits earlier in the year.  Making a total of 11 records in the chart from Elvis. Top of The Pops also created a demand for Loving You, which wasn't part of the re-release of May, but nevertheless some stores and people managed to find 6,000 copies of it! The British Market Research Bureau Chart used by TOTP was clearly not showing true sales figures because they failed to have Elvis going to the top the week after his death. Instead they had the Floaters Float On top, something that never happened on the Real Chart. Meanwhile the next number one after Elvis comes in at number 15 for David Soul.  And landing at number 36 is the first single from Bob Geldof's band The Boomtown Rats. It's worth noting the low sales compared with the charts from today. With just 5K at 100. There's no sales symbols with this chart, though I can tell you that Brotherhood of Man was past the million mark in this chart. Other records of interest include 10cc which was the last single from their big album Deceptive Bends, which will fail to make the BMRB top 50. The Rubinoos hit at 63 will become a number one for Tiffany in the 1980's. And Linda Lewis track at 72 will become a big hit for Gladys Knight and The Pips. Two films had produced two hits and James Bond lands at 12 for Carly Simon, while her ex husband is a 62! The other film "The Deep" would see Donna Summer on a different record label to her other chart topper, she's at 13 with the soundtrack song. 
Elvis fans in Sheffield in 1977

Sorry there are two errors on this chart, both my fault. The Elvis track at 95 is actually Devil In Disguise and not the stated track which is at 89. Also The Jam's record at number 39, the highest position should be 15 not 25.


  1. keep going graham these are great. are you aware record retailer compiled a top 100 since inception. also do the real charts extend below 100 ? tony

  2. I was aware that R.R. did compile a top 100, however many have tried to see these and not been able to.
    The Real Chart does indeed extend pass 100, but the Compilers will not let me use this information or tell me it. Sometimes they do tell me that this or that record just failed to make the 100 at such and such positions and I do report these on the chart news of the current charts. They also have said in general that the higher sales figures drop down very quick pass about 150.

  3. hi graham I know someone who has seen one or two of the r.r top 100s also that the breakers were always in these 100s are we likely to see more 70s ones or 60s soon .im assuming that every record must have had a position down to whatever there was a 200 in 1978 I believe.

  4. mike.will we ever see a complete list of top 100s from 1960 to present day. That would be fantastic.

    1. It depends on two things. How fast I can sort the charts out. Plus record release information. You will see elsewhere on the blog that I am building up a database of tracks that were released each year, plus down to the weekly issues, crucial for the sorting out each chart. Though there are other charts from the period detailing what records were being sold, they are not very accurate and though it's certain that the public, after seeing one of these charts, went out to buy a record in them, they just cannot be trusted as a source of if a record WAS available to purchase that week.
      When I have enough data and time to do the 60's charts they will be posted on a separate page to this. That also applies to the 50's charts, which will start when the 1949 charts are finished.

  5. Big thanks for the 1980 charts. Sadly I'm old enough to remember most of these songs!!

  6. always wondered about the odd movemnets of specials 'stereotype' in the brmb chart, remember it hanging around in the twenties then jumping to #6 then back to twenties again. the chart run here is nearly the same: 39-20-26-6-17-36-53-73-91. is there some back story i missed at the time to make it syddenly jump to #6?!

    1. The most likely reason was that side of the record was banned by the BBC, due to the fact they sing "He comes home p***ed at night". Certainly on the TOTP only a clip was played of the other side of the record. It wasn't banned by ILR stations and my local station (Radio Hallam) played it on the Sunday afternoon top 50.

  7. Really Enjoying the 1980 charts that you are producing. I know at the top of the page you said that the 78\79 can't be completed for whatever reason, I was just wondering if you had any of the 1979 chart info, that you would be be willing to share, it's not for any other site or to sell, just for my own reading and completion. I can let you have my email address off post.

  8. You can send your e-mail via the post system. ALL Comments are moderated by me and don't get automatically posted. Mark the comment "NOT FOR POSTING" and it will be deleted. I can help on the 79 charts partially, the few remaining 1978 charts what I have of them wouldn't be helpful at all. But the 1977 charts are much more complete, with only the left over records from 1976 missing from the first few weeks of January, so you can have a PDF of that.

  9. Very informative information about the Real Chart. I'm surprised that a single in the top 20 can often go silver level of sales and most of them are not in the BPI certification database. Yesterday I noticed the November 30, 1980 is missing but I thought I saw it a week before. Also are you planning to post all the classic Real Charts? Is 1981 next? Or can you provide PDF of all the years to me? If so, please send attachment files to

    1. Thanks for noticing that November 30 was missing Kevin. It's back now. As you may have noticed when this page first loads it takes ages to get all the pages to load up correctly. It's due to it being so big. I have the same problem when adding new charts. When I was adding the December comment and trying to get the text under the November chart I must have accidently deleted that chart. Sorry about that!
      Yes the 1981 charts will be next, posted in time with BBC Four running TOTP. I should be able to keep up with them, even though 17 shows will be missing next year. Thanks to the fact that I have hand written charts from 1981 to 1984, with only a few gaps that can now be sorted out.
      The final 1980 charts will be posted later this week. And on December 27 the full 100 best sellers for 1980. There will also be a PDF of the 1980 charts and the full list of all records sold over 250K in 1980.

  10. Sorry guys but as BBC FOUR are running two episodes a week plus several are missing, including one that should have been, but had a sound fault on it, they are way ahead and I can't catch up posting even two charts each week. The BBC apparently want to show 1982 TOTP this year too!
    Sorry but even I can't do more than two full sales charts a week!
    In the next few months there will be a change to the oldies page, as a new page will come about. Yes I will be making a start on the 1960's charts!

  11. Hey Graham, is there going to be any 1982 charts in the near future?

    1. Somebody is sorting some new release information for a few charts with missing records for 1982. The charts for 1982 are nearly complete as far as titles are concerned, but like 1983 and 1984 charts they are nearly all handwritten on A4. I'm not as yet going to computerise them. But I am considering putting a PDF(s) of those years on the site, handwritten type of course! So keep checking this page.

  12. I don't know exactly where you are getting the information regarding BMRB but I can let you know that BMRB chart return diaries were not sent my post to their headquarters in Ealing, London. Chart panel members has a 'dead letter box' over the door of their shops that they placed the sealed diaries in and couriers would collect them with their own key late on a Saturday night. With regards to chart hyping I never really saw much of it going on in a way that affected the charts in any big way. Yes WEA were certainly over the top around 1980 but overall the charts were an accurate reflection of what sold. I was panel number 483 of 750. BMRB used 250 each week to compile the charts.

  13. Looks like BBC 4 is already showm June of 1983 rerun of TOTP. So therefore there is no update on all of 1982 and 1983 charts? Wouldn't it be easier just to list all the bestsellers for each of the years?

    1. It would if I had them! But the sales lists are done by adding up each of the completed charts, generally as they drop out. It can take over 6 hours of work to complete one top 100 chart. When the BBC where doing a TOTP once a week, I could just about manage to keep up, even with the missing episodes. But twice a week and missing ones too is just too much!