The Queen may be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee today, but there is another later this year, when the official UK Singles Chart reaches its glorious sixtieth.
Musical Express was last published February 22, 1952. THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS (NEW SERIES) appeared March 7, and issue No, 305, NOVEMBER 14, 1952 carried the headline Announcing the first RECORD HIT PARADE.
Other charts followed, including the official BBC chart, in 1969, although the original NME version is now regarded as the official UK chart up until then. There is now a plethora of charts, but the virtual disappearance of vinyl and CDs with the universal practice of downloading has made most charts more or less redundant as far as gauging sales and popularity go. The Official UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company; the charts compiled here are far more extensive than those put out by the BBC.
Here are a few things you may not have known about the UK singles chart by courtesy of the man from SongFacts:
The first ever UK number one was Here In My Heart by Al Martino.
In 2004, a song with an unmentionable title became the first record to top the new official ringtone chart.
Although unlike the previous number it contains no profanity, in 1972, a Paul McCartney song was banned by the BBC, even though it made the top 20.
Another McCartney song was banned for entirely different reasons, even though it made the top 10.
The first black artist to top the UK singles chart was classically trained popular pianist Winifred Atwell, in 1954.
The godfather of rock 'n' roll, Chuck Berry, has only ever had one UK number one, a novelty song that also topped the US singles chart.
Novelty songs are no stranger to the UK singles chart, others that did well were Loving You Has Made Me Bananas, Bowie's The Laughing Gnome, and She Wears Red Feathers (And A Huly-Huly Skirt), which was penned by the same bloke who wrote (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window?
The leading TV chart programme until the plug was pulled on it was Top Of The Pops; the first and last episodes of its 42 year run were presented by Jimmy Saville. The format of this programme has been exported all over the world.
Only a handful of foreign language songs have ever made the UK chart. Je t'aime... moi non plus reached the top spot, and was banned; Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encoreby Celine Dion also reached the top ten.
To date, only Elvis Presley has had more than 20 number ones; the Beatles - as a band - have had seventeen.
The Sun Goes Down by Thin Lizzy runs to over 6 minutes, co-written by Phil Lynott and Darren Wharton, it was the band's last ever single.
Finally, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen topped the chart for 9 weeks, and was nearly as long as The Sun Goes Down. It was also at one point the best selling UK single of all time.
Queen have been around as a band since 1971, which means they lag some way behind the real Queen in the longevity stakes.