I’m marking each of the singles out of 10. Marks will vary according to my mood and circumstances as well as by the quality of the record. No consistency is intended and none should be assumed – take them as seriously as you like. If you’re registered and logged in, you can give your OWN mark out of 10 to each record, and the aggregate shows up on the FT Readers Top 100 view.

Baby jumps:   1955   1960   1965   1970   1975   1980   1985   1990   1995


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  1. 51
    Rory on 12 Feb 2010 #

    Wow, that was quick! Ta very much. What an entertaining roll call of drivel.

  2. 52
    Conrad on 30 Sep 2010 #

    Donna still has quite a substantial lead on the competition at the top. Be interesting to see what, if anything, will overtake it.

  3. 53
    Alan not logged in on 30 Sep 2010 #

    I am this close ][ to doing little google graph charts of the vote distribution for each title.

  4. 54
    Billy Hicks on 27 Jan 2011 #

    Procul Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ has vanished for me on this list, for some reason…

  5. 55
    Erithian on 27 Jan 2011 #

    There is no reason and the truth is plain to see.

  6. 56
    swanstep on 27 Jan 2011 #

    So, seriously, what’s going on with the Whiter Shade entry? Its comment thread had some Doors discussion in it IIRC…

  7. 57
    DietMondrian on 27 Jan 2011 #

    By my reckoning the greatest difference in FT reader scores for number ones by any one artist is 7.4 for Kate Bush – 9.00 for Wuthering Heights and 1.6 for Let It Be (Ferry Aid).

    If appearances in charity conglomerations don’t count, it’s Mick Jagger with 6.07 – Paint It, Black (8.6) minus Dancing in the Street (2.53).

    If you discount all charity records it’s Paul McCartney with 6.01 – Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine (8.92) minus Ebony and Ivory (2.91).

    Does this tell us anything other than that charity records aren’t much cop and that McCartney’s quality control isn’t great, which we knew anyway?

  8. 58
    Mark M on 27 Jan 2011 #

    Re 56: It’s disappeared from the list, but the piece is still there – http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2006/05/procul-harum-a-whiter-shade-of-pale/

  9. 59
    swanstep on 28 Jan 2011 #

    @mark m, 58. Thanks for that.

  10. 60
    admin on 30 Jan 2011 #

    !! the procol article has lost its score is what’s happened.

    (there are many popular posts that aren’t actual #1 entries, so the list only shows those with valid score and dates)

    unless Tom can remember the score he gave (!) i will have to dig through the database archives to see what it was before whichever accidental data trickery lost us that :-(

  11. 61
    admin on 30 Jan 2011 #

    It was a 5 (and it had lost it’s date and order number too, weird.

    (possibly it never had them from the time I got Tom to put the data into special fields instead of in the article)

  12. 62
    a few quick links « echo&sway on 23 Mar 2011 #

    […]  Everyone already knows that Tom Ewing’s Popular, his rundown of the complete history of the UK #1 singles, is a must-read, but his latest post (the […]

  13. 63
    Brendan on 12 Sep 2012 #

    I’m new here and I’ve been trying to find Populist so I can add my vote but can’t find it.

  14. 64
    lonepilgrim on 12 Sep 2012 #

    @63 Hi Brendan – welcome aboard – someone else may be able to confirm but I suspect that you may need to be registered and logged on to the site first. Then when you select any of the Popular entries you should see a range of scores for you to award that song. You can sort the list above by score as I’m sure you’ve worked out.

    Things are a bit quiet here at the moment but I remain optimistic that Popular will be revived at some stage. Do feel free to add your comments to existing entries, as that is often the cue for revived discussion on a forgotten gem.

  15. 65
    Brendan on 13 Sep 2012 #

    Don’t I have to be registered and logged in in order to be able to have my name with my comment? In which case I still can’t see where the scores are when I look at the entries.

  16. 66
    Brendan on 13 Sep 2012 #

    Never mind. Sorry for being dumb. I found the login and hopefully when the password is sent I should be all set. Thank you for help lonepilgrim.

  17. 67
    malmo58 on 20 Jan 2013 #

    Date of God Save The Queen should be 11th June.

  18. 68
    Patrick Mexico on 28 Jun 2013 #

    The Outhere Brothers achieving the dreaded double here. That is quite a feat, though, as are Elvis, Wonder and McCartney playing the Rangers of last year/Leeds United of 2007/pre-sheikhs Man City of 1998 role.

  19. 69
    admin on 17 Aug 2013 #

    In the ave v std dev graphs, I’m intrigued by the outside edge in the top left and top right.

    top left is widely disliked, not-insignificant love
    both star trekkin and the chicken song here (quite close) which is perhaps about the appeal of comedy in general, not just comedy songs. (Slightly further in TWO stevie wonder tracks)

    top right is widely loved, not-insignificant dislike
    Wizzard “see my baby jive”, Hendrix “voodoo chile” dexy’s “come on eileen”, S&G “bridge over troubled water” and pistols “god save the queen”. The latter is a special case, the others is it too easy to ascribe overplayed/overfamilar? How about ‘can’t stop paying attention’ which is to say they have that quality you get when you love something so much you play it to yourself on repeat until you resent your own compulsion. (Slightly further inside is Total Eclipse of the Heart, which if I ruled the world would be clustered around the Donna Summer)

  20. 70
    Patrick Mexico on 1 Dec 2013 #

    How long does it take for votes on these polls to be recorded in the above statistics?

    Curious as I just marked 100th “best” entry so far, Beats International 1/10 (nothing personal, I’ll move it back to its natural 8, just an experiment!) but pushing the average mark down from 7.51 to 7.3 hasn’t made anything else emerge in its place yet.

    Thanks for this marvelous invention anyway – after all, I’m Daniel Sullivan, and standard deviation was my idea!

  21. 71
    Patrick Mexico on 4 Dec 2013 #

    Ah, it works. No worries. Just saved Dub Be Good To Me from being pushed off a cliff (though its author really should be for Slash Dot Dash Dot Dash Dot Com.)

  22. 72
    mapman132 on 17 Jan 2014 #

    Apologies if this has been discussed already, but I haven’t seen it, so here goes:

    At this writing, the highest ranked song from the 90’s is “Ready or Not” at the relatively modest position of #42. In contrast, I counted a whopping 14 records from the 90’s in the bottom 40. This seems rather….interesting.

    Possible theories:

    1) The number ones of the 90’s just collectively aren’t very good.

    2) The increasing number of participants in this forum, and increasing variety of opinions, means a regression to the mean of high-ranked songs. Of course, there should then be a corresponding regression to the mean of low-ranked songs, which clearly hasn’t happened.

    3) There is a greater agreement on what constitutes the pantheon of “great” songs the further back in time one goes, whereas one’s opinion of newer songs, which are more likely to be remembered as they were released in real time, is more likely to be affected by personal biases (ie: a song in a more recent genre I don’t care for is not likely to get a high score from me even if I can’t find any objective flaws in it).


  23. 73
    Brendan F on 18 Jan 2014 #

    I personally think it is theory 1). I made the point that Baby D was the best #1 since 1990 so I’m in full agreement that there were very few classic #1s in the time that’s been covered in that decade thus far. That said Sinead O’Connor would have been close to, if not in my all-time top 10 #1s and I’m amazed that it’s so low in the readers’ all-time list.

  24. 74
    Alan not logged in on 18 Jan 2014 #

    Looking for trends over time, i notice that clicking on 60s 70s 80s 90s on http://freakytrigger.co.uk/populist/8/ there does appear to be a shift in scoring. in the 60s nothing averages under 2.5, by the 80s the centre of gravity has shifted over and by the 90s little is over 7.5.

    I detect some consensus in the comments that there was a saggy bit of the 90s, post Sinead O’Connor (technically the highest scoring 90s), but we’re not out of it yet. [edit – ok sinead is TOM’s highest 90s, yr right fugees are higher with readers at the mo)

    re 3) looking at the distribution of std dev on the same graph – it looks to me like it spreads out and reaches higher in the 70s than in the 80s or 90s,

  25. 75
    hardtogethits on 18 Jan 2014 #

    #72. I’ll bite. I like theories 1 and 3 a lot. Delicious truisms. Mmmmm. Truisms.

    Theory 2 – I think you’re onto something, but don’t like the use of regression (it’s not that). I think you’ve highlighted that the communality and commonality of emotion towards old stuff tends towards fondness; in new stuff, we converge only in disapproval. Why? Dunno. Your thoughts?

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