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   2000


  1. 1
    Magnus on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I haven’t counted, but by eye you seem to mark on a sort of flattened, short-tailed bell curve.

  2. 2
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    Yes – there’s a kind of rough attempt at normal distribution being made (i.e. 10s should be rarer than 9s should be rarer than 8s – 5s and 6s should be the most common).

  3. 3
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    The average mark so far is 5.36.

    The stats suggest that I should have made a couple more things 10 so far.

  4. 4
    Steve Mannion on 31 Aug 2006 #

    Is ‘Everlasting Love’ missing from this list? Can’t see it.

  5. 5
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    It’s not been updated since “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde”. I’m going to update end of every month I think.

  6. 6
    steve m on 13 Jul 2007 #

    update please!

  7. 7
    Tom on 13 Jul 2007 #

    End of every Plutonian Space Month.

  8. 8
    Admin on 31 Jul 2007 #

    Tom, I’ve put in place the automatic index scheme i outlined to you. Let me know how you like it – and what you want to do with the ongoing Popular ‘meta data’. (I’ve got a copy of your old manual text, just in case)

  9. 9
    Tom on 31 Jul 2007 #

    Alan – sorry I didn’t reply – I wuv it!

    I will try and conform to the meta data – of course I need to write moar entries first.

  10. 10
    Tom on 31 Jul 2007 #

    OK, clearly I will have to work out how to do the meta data

  11. 11
    Alan on 31 Jul 2007 #

    Don’t worry – yr golden. You were fooled by the aggressive caching we do on FT. I’ll see if I can work out a way to ‘expire’ this page when you do a new popular post.

    (However, next time you want to do a ‘twofer’ – like dodd/stones – i might need to tweak the presentation of the post. though if you look at that post you can see how the metadata works for that.)

  12. 12
    admin on 22 Apr 2009 #

    Introducing: the FT Readers’ top 100

  13. 13
    AndyPandy on 24 Apr 2009 #

    Howe often is this updated as there are some with 5 votes or more and a higher than 5.8 average score and there not listed in this Top 100.

  14. 14
    admin on 24 Apr 2009 #

    It was updating twice a day, but i just changed it to 4 times a day, which is still a bit stingy as the calculation isn’t all that resource greedy. still the data won’t change that often, so seems not too bad.

  15. 15
    Tom on 30 Apr 2009 #

    Highest ranked 10: “Israelites” (#2) – I’m amazed at this! Tho not displeased.
    Highest ranked 9: “Good Vibration” (#1) – Fair enough
    Highest ranked 8: “Space Oddity” (#9) – Hmmm
    Highest ranked 7: “The Name Of The Game” (#17) – I can see why it’s loved so much.
    Highest ranked 6: “Geno” (#23) – still wildly overrated I reckon.
    Highest ranked 5: “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (#34) – Hands up, I was wrong about this.

    Not sure what the highest rated 4-3-2-1 are (not counting K Dodd obv!). I’m guessing “Imagine” and “Vincent” for the 2 and 1.

  16. 16
    Tom on 30 Apr 2009 #

    Highest ranked 4:”What A Wonderful World” (#100) – still too corny for me.
    Highest ranked 3:”She” (#190) – was wrong about this one too.
    Highest ranked 2:”Hold Me Close” (#305) – a bit harsh possibly.
    Highest ranked 1:”Vincent” (#224) – bah!

  17. 17
    Tom on 30 Apr 2009 #

    And going the other way:

    Lowest ranked 10:”Atomic” (#41) – would probably be my lowest too
    Lowest ranked 9: “Out Of Time” (#152) – OK, I’m not sure why I gave it 9 either
    Lowest ranked 8: “Lady Madonna” (#185) – surprised how relatively disliked this is
    Lowest ranked 7: “I’ve Never Been To Me” (#329) – nor have you lot
    Lowest ranked 6: “Summer Nights” (#342) – this is total fun hating
    Lowest ranked 5: “Amazing Grace” (#374) – only I appreciate its dronelike qualities
    Lowest ranked 4: “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” (#368) – not as bad as all that
    Lowest ranked 3: “Seven Tears” (#383) – harsh!
    Lowest ranked 2: “Figaro” (#384) – there are worse things
    Lowest ranked 1: “Long Haired Lover” and “No-One Quite Like Grandma” (equal #385 – after 385 we’re in the land of <5 votes)

  18. 18
    AndyPandy on 13 May 2009 #

    It’s not letting me vote on any songs at the moment or showing me what other people have averaged

  19. 19
    AndyPandy on 13 May 2009 #

    Problem solved – now I’ve gone back to “pink”

  20. 20
    admin on 14 May 2009 #

    oopsy. i will update the css with the new additions used by the voting feature

    (We changed it so that you can’t see averages until you have voted)

  21. 21
    Tom on 23 May 2009 #

    Jacko into the Top 20 I see!

  22. 22
    admin on 19 Jun 2009 #

    should the simple chronological list be reversed, so recent entries are at the top?

  23. 23
    Tom on 19 Jun 2009 #

    Let’s give it a go!

  24. 24
    rosie on 6 Jul 2009 #

    From the point of view of somebody trying to make a comment on the very first entry, this is inconvenient to say the least. Recent entries I can find easily, but I did think one of the points of this index was to be able to find older entries quickly…

  25. 25
    Tom on 6 Jul 2009 #

    Duly noted! Once we’ve had it this way for a month or so I’ll do some analytics fu and I can work out which is more effective for getting people to entries that have dropped off the front page.

    Ooh – how about a “random entry” function?

  26. 26
    Alan on 6 Jul 2009 #

    The ‘?’ random link on the banner goes to a random FT post

    it could be tied to a random popular post if clicked from a popular post or the /popular page.

  27. 27
    Erithian on 6 Jul 2009 #

    No strong feelings either way, but I would have thought people were more likely to want to comment on fairly recent entries than on the very earliest entries, and if they want to comment on something from the 60s or 70s it doesn’t take long to scroll down whichever way the chronological list is ordered, once you get used to it.

  28. 28
    Tom on 6 Jul 2009 #

    #26 – it could be but I’d prefer keeping the “?” as is and having a separate random entry link I could put in the text box.

  29. 29

    […] If you’d like to read about these records (and everything else that topped the UK charts from 1952 forward), prepare to kill hours and hours reading Popular. The complete list of records Tom has covered so far is here. […]

  30. 30
    Tom on 2 Sep 2009 #

    OMG go Doris Day!

  31. 31
    admin on 2 Sep 2009 #

    hope you don’t mind me disclosing the current votes for the 2 exact ‘9’s currently on populist
    secret love: 10 10 9 8 8
    dancing queen: 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 9 8 6

    they love to love, but our readers just equally love to dance

  32. 32
    ottersteve on 3 Sep 2009 #

    Hi Tom.
    Fun idea you have here with just one little criticism of the scoring methods. Ideally you would have just asked everyone to ONLY score those songs they would give a 10 to, and no other score.

    There are people out there who will truly love a great song and give it 10.

    Other people however will absolutely HATE the same song and score 1 just to try and get it off the top 100 list.

    An example will surely be “Bohemian Rhapsody” which, over the last 34 years has been shown to be loved and hated in equal measues! You will end up with a kind of tug-of-war going on over quite a few of the songs! Or maybe that was part of your intention – if so – tee hee.

  33. 33
    admin on 3 Sep 2009 #

    there are strengths and weaknesses in any scoring system, but

    “Ideally you would have just asked everyone to ONLY score those songs they would give a 10 to, and no other score”

    would give an average of 10 for everything! we could only count the number of votes

  34. 34
    ottersteve on 4 Sep 2009 #

    Fair point, but you would still have a top 100, with the record scoring most 10’s being top of the list.

  35. 35
    Tom on 4 Sep 2009 #

    Ottersteve – we kind of do have this, in that we do polls at the end of each (chart) year which are binary yes/no ones (though based on 6 or above, not 10). I’ve not actually bothered running a comparison yet though (rubs hands in statistical glee…)

  36. 36
    Tom on 25 Sep 2009 #

    Hello everyone, we’re in The Times today. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6847964.ece

    Very exciting, though the interview happened 2 weeks post-new-baby and I’m left wondering what I meant sometimes!

  37. 37
    Tom on 7 Oct 2009 #

    A few notes on comments – from the shiny new features Alan has installed:

    The most-commented Popular post is “No Charge” by JJ Barrie, with 272.

    Two other posts have got more than 200 comments – “Dancing Queen” and “Night Fever”.

    25 more posts are comment centurions – most recently The Crowd – so that’s 28 in all that have got into triple figures.

    At the other end of the scale, 8 posts have 0 comments, and 30 only have one (in some cases I know this to be a spambot that slipped through the net)

  38. 38
    ottersteve on 11 Oct 2009 #

    Re your comment at 35. Your end of each year chart is a great idea, but not all of the years seem to have this feature. I’d love to see all years accounted for as I enjoy putting my ten pen’th in.

    On the subject of the readers poll. I suspect that many of the voters have been swayed by your wise words on a few of the songs. It’s my guess that’s because many readers were simply too young or not even born when certain (high-ranked, on the above chart) tracks were at No.1

    I was fortunate to be around to fully enjoy the 60’s “pop boom” and I believe most Beatles fans would not put down Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby as the best of the Beatles No.1’s. For me, personally, “She Loves you” was the true trigger of the wave of musical euphoria that swept the country at that time (I was 9 years old). Hey Jude comes a close 2nd for me. If you had given a high score of your own to these tracks – I’m convinced they would have been in the readers top 10 too.

    Just an observation – not taking it all TOO seriously.

  39. 39
    admin on 12 Oct 2009 #

    i’ve just tagged up the 14 ‘year-poll’ posts with ‘popular year poll’ so they appear here:


  40. 40
    enitharmon on 12 Oct 2009 #

    So, are we ever going to be able to vote in the outstanding year polls?

  41. 41
    admin on 12 Oct 2009 #

    it won’t take a lot to set them up – but it’s Tom’s call. He was setting up the old ones as a way to take up comment crew slack when he’s busy.

  42. 42
    Tom on 12 Oct 2009 #

    Today would be a good day to put one up – though I’m too busy even to do a poll at the moment!

  43. 43
    admin on 12 Oct 2009 #

    i’ll put up ’74 later on then if you like? it’s also a matter of bringing it to the attention of the crew. i guess by a comment on that (back in time) post and on the most recent popular post?

  44. 44
    Tom on 12 Oct 2009 #

    Cool, thanks Alan!

    What I think I’ll do is frontpage it for a day or two so the regulars all see it, then it can be plunged back into the Mud.

  45. 45
    Tom on 15 Oct 2009 #

    I was doing a little playing around w/my scores today, having set up a better excel file for them (NON-NERDS LOOK AWAY). I wanted to answer the qn: what is the best run of #1 hits?

    My answer (so far at least), if you take a 10-song average, is the stretch which starts inauspiciously with Boney M’s “Mary’s Boy Child” and runs until “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” (#430-439).

    But, if you look at my best ERA for pop – defined as a 50-song average – it’s #171-#220 – starting with Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over” and ending with Chris Farlowe’s “Out Of Time” – so mid-64 to mid-66.

    I want to do this with the reader marks and will pester the relevant ppl for a .csv file :)

  46. 46
    admin on 15 Oct 2009 #

    Tom, i’ve sent a 40K tab file to freakytrigger gmail. it’s pop_no, post_title and scores.

    the scores column has individual scores comma separated. if i get you right, you’re just after the average score, so i could have just given you the ave score, but i figured you might want to go wild on the stats, so you could get #of10 scores, #of9 scores, etc, and all manner of statpr0n.

    if you can’t parse the data and you’d rather just have the ave, let me know.

    quick fact: Come On Eileen has the highest number of votes by some distance.

    (i have deleted all user ID info, so the scoring given in the file is anonymous BTW.)

  47. 47
    Tom on 16 Oct 2009 #

    I have been parsing away for about an hour. Lovely stuff.

  48. 48
    Rory on 12 Feb 2010 #

    Can we have an Unpopulist as well? On the readers’ scores? The bottom 20 or 50 would satisfy curiosity…

  49. 49
    admin on 12 Feb 2010 #

    i spoil you i really do.

    i wasn’t sure what to do about the numbering, but the 100th is the worst (as you can see from the score).

  50. 50
    Tom on 12 Feb 2010 #

    It will take quite a bad record to shift that one I think. Or a sudden surge in wuv for St Wins.

  51. 51
    Rory on 12 Feb 2010 #

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

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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…

  55. 55
    Erithian on 27 Jan 2011 #

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

  56. 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…

  57. 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?

  58. 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/

  59. 59
    swanstep on 28 Jan 2011 #

    @mark m, 58. Thanks for that.

  60. 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 :-(

  61. 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)

  62. 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 […]

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 67
    malmo58 on 20 Jan 2013 #

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

  68. 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.

  69. 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)

  70. 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!

  71. 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.)

  72. 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).


  73. 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.

  74. 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,

  75. 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?

  76. 76
    Alan not logged in on 18 Jan 2014 #

    http://freakytrigger.co.uk/populist/9/ looks like it shows (at the extremes at least) that the less a song a liked, the fewer the votes, and the more it’s liked the more votes it picks up. which might counter (though not neutralise) some mean-regression

  77. 77
    Tom on 18 Jan 2014 #

    A fourth theory – we are not attracting enough new commenters for whom the 90s was “their” era to counteract the consensus effect seen in theory 3. And at the other end, we have commenters sticking around because of the writing and the company – excellent and flattering reasons! – not because of any particular sympathy with the material being discussed.

  78. 78
    Tom on 18 Jan 2014 #

    Or – more optimistically! – we are getting new 90s lovers but they can’t be bothered to work their way back through 700 entries to mark down 60s and 70s hits they don’t care about.

  79. 79
    Ed on 18 Jan 2014 #

    A sixth theory: there are quite a few new-ish arrivals (eg me) who don’t understand how it works.

  80. 80
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Jan 2014 #

    If you put two and two together…

    I find theory 3 most persuasive, in general. Although I suspect as we get further on, with a sharp increase in the quantity of no 1s per year each to come (and the concomitant increase in the proportion of no 1s that were essentially “fanbase buys” that didn’t really cross over to a wider audience), there will be an even greater proportion of low scoring votes yet to come…

  81. 81
    mapman132 on 18 Jan 2014 #

    Ironically, despite my starting this latest conversation, I’ve generally been too lazy to officially register my own vote, even though I’ve commented on every entry since the beginning of 1995. So my own behavior supports the theories of #78-79. FWIW, I consider myself an 80s-90s-10s (but not 00s) guy when it comes to music.

  82. 82
    enitharmon on 19 Jan 2014 #

    How about we consider yet another theory, that the hypothesis that Tom put forward early on that music gets better with each succeeding decade has been demonstrated not to hold true? Not necessarily a bit of sixties jingoism I think; much of what the sixties threw up was very different from what came before but by the nineties the product was very much rooted in that earlier decade. Some may argue, and no doubt will, that developments in recording technologies constitute an “improvement” artistically, but I would argue that that was separate from artistic radicalism. 90s R&B for all its technological gimmickry was still the R&B of the Stax studios and house music, though it had a whole battery of computer technology to play with by the 90s, what still essentially the same thing that John Lennon and George Martin produced with buttons and string, and probably goes back even further to the decidedly un-pop work of Messiaen and Varèse.

  83. 83
    iconoclast on 19 Jan 2014 #

    #82: yes, much as I enjoy reading Tom’s writing, I have to disagree with him there. Of course it depends what you mean by “better” – better made/recorded/produced, perhaps, but I’d have great difficulty in accepting “better” in any artistic or aesthetic sense.

  84. 84
    Andrew Farrell on 19 Jan 2014 #

    How about better beats?

  85. 85
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Jan 2014 #

    Just a brief note for admin: time to add a “baby jump” anchor for 1995, too, up at the top, please!

    Also, the makeover has made the charts based on reader votes….very confused….

  86. 86
    enitharmon on 19 Jan 2014 #

    @34 What about “better beats”? In what way better?

  87. 87
    Rory on 19 Jan 2014 #

    The lovely FT Reader Top 100 and Bottom 100 are broken at the moment with the new design. Or to put it another way: “I Feel Love” suddenly ousted from the top by “Stand and Deliver”! “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” beaten to the very bottom by “Say You’ll Be There!”

  88. 88
    admin on 19 Jan 2014 #

    is fix. a lot of fixes are coming on line bit by bit…

  89. 89
    Rory on 19 Jan 2014 #

    By golly, that was quick. Nice work.

    Now that we have this new design that puts a prominent grey square next to our comments, I’m wondering how to replace it with a custom icon as many of you have done. Something in our WP profile? I can’t tell where.

  90. 90
    admin on 19 Jan 2014 #

    Those images are ‘gravatar’s that you can setup at http://gravatar.com

    As not many people set them up, we’ll try to hide the block when you don’t have one.

  91. 91
    Steve Mannion on 19 Jan 2014 #

    I added the grey circle (tho will look square on older browsers) thinking it might subtly encourage more avatar usage ha. I don’t mind if we have them or don’t personally although they can be quite useful for poster ID and I am always happy to see little DJ Alan and Sukrat’s Joan of Arc party face).

  92. 92


  93. 93
    admin on 20 Jan 2014 #

    we should add a link to gravatar.com in the ‘add your comment’ bit when people are logged in (and show the current one too obv)

  94. 94
    Billy Hicks on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Regarding the low rating of the most of the 1990s hits, this for me has always been fairly worrying as it feels like the closer we get to my musical golden era the further away most regular commentators are getting from theirs. While I can see Tom’s ratings remaining fair, the Popular in a few years time when every song is getting a 1 or 2 at most from most readers doesn’t sound very pleasant to me.

    Looking at the last couple of years I can see two easy 10s for me in the year 2012, and some strong 8 or 9s at least in 2013. But I fear, for the most part, I might be alone there.

  95. 95
    mapman132 on 20 Jan 2014 #

    #94 If it makes you feel better, I’m 41 years old and think some of the best music ever to grace the top of the UK or US charts has been in the past three years. There will probably be a 10 from me in 2012, and would be a strong 10 in 2011 except that I keep forgetting it only peaked at UK#2 (its close cousin was a UK#1 and will probably get a 9 from me).

    And I don’t think I’m alone as said songs may not be loved by everyone, but I have yet to meet anyone who actively hates them….of course, these may not correspond to your 9’s and 10’s!

  96. 96
    Andrew Farrell on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Better for rapping over, for a start.

  97. 97
    Ed on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Enitharmon @82: I don’t think “music gets better with each succeeding decade” is exactly what the progressive view of pop means.

    It’s more that music changes with each succeeding decade (year, month…), and the changes are a big part of what makes pop exciting and fun.

    So The Beatles were fantastic in the 60s, but sounding like The Beatles in the 80s or 90s wasn’t. Were M.A.R.R.S. and The Prodigy better than The Beatles and the Stones? I am not sure. But I think it’s possible to endorse progress as a state of continual change without necessarily seeing it as a process of continual improvement.

  98. 98
    Tom on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Also the ‘progressive’ view Ed outlines means that the vocabulary of pop is continuously expanding. This is one important part of the discussion we started on the “Wannabe” thread. The progressive view says “pop is constantly changing, hurrah”, but implicit in that turns out to be a sense that pop has to shed its skin and move on – its previous versions become obsolete (i.e. pop works according to the same logic as technology, not surprising since technology changes are a massive, massive part of pop change). The ‘post-progressive’ view – also enabled by technological change – says hold on, WHY does this old stuff have to become obsolete? Why can’t it all still be in play?

  99. 99
    Tom on 20 Jan 2014 #

    (That said the initial comment that Rosie brings up from time to time was part hype, part hope and part trolling. I doubt, at this late stage, that any year is going to top ’79 in terms of the average Number One scores. That being the metric for “better” I implicitly set with the structure of this project, I need to honour my own judgements.)

  100. 100
    Ed on 20 Jan 2014 #

    I can see that the post-progressive view is one possible approach to pop.

    I would feel happier about it, though, if the new music that is apparently consistent with that view didn’t sound like the sort of thing I would crawl over broken glass to avoid: http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/the-trouble-with-contemporary-music-criticism?page=show

    (HT to Tom for that post, which he discusses at Blue Lines Revisited.)

  101. 101
    Tom on 20 Jan 2014 #

    Yes, I like the analysis of the problem in that post – the solution (let’s listen to vaporwave!) rather less, though I do enjoy that James Ferraro album that got talked up in the Wire a couple of years ago, and a lot of the Ghost Box stuff.

    I think the current charts – including the critical lists – are firmly in the post-progressive mode, though: the bad stuff as well as the good. We’ll get there eventually, I hope! The Retromania argument is right in that the big shift has been a disruption in the technology of distribution rather than (as in previous shifts) changes in the technology of production – but I think (obviously) the analysis of the resulting landscape is too pessimistic.

  102. 102

    Back to site glitches: aren’t the recent comments all showing in the wrong labelled spaces at the moment?

    Update: oops no they aren’t, but I think the leading should be tweaked above and below the labels, so that they more obviously adhere to above than below.

    (It’s kind of obvious which goes where once you read them but it still threw me at a quick glance)

  103. 103
    admin on 21 Jan 2014 #

    we’ve moved the post title underneath the comment, and steve will be styling it to make that more obvious in due course

  104. 104
    Tommy Mack on 21 Jan 2014 #

    I think it may still prove confusing.

  105. 105
    Tom on 29 Apr 2014 #

    Cornershop clinging onto the Top 50 here, but comfortably (AFAICS) the favourite 90s single so far.

  106. 106
    Cumbrian on 29 Apr 2014 #

    Killer “only” 0.11 (or 8 places) behind. That could be quite close or it could be quite far away dependent on the number of people who have voted on either/both. How many 10s would Killer need to move past Cornershop? Or how many 1s would Cornershop need to slip behind?

  107. 107
    flahr on 29 Apr 2014 #

    #101: When you say the current charts seem to hold to a post-progressive view: surely ANY chart could be described by “some of it sounds like new stuff, some of it sounds like old stuff”? I can’t see much distinction b/w “why can’t this old stuff still be in play?”, “retro”, “revivalism”, and plain old “influence” (except perhaps as judgements of quality).

    (I read the linked article – always nice to be reminded that merely not being S**** R******* is no defence against writing like S**** R*******)

  108. 108
    Conrad on 2 Jun 2014 #

    I’m expecting the number 1 position to be seriously troubled when we get to the summer of 2003 but not before

  109. 109
    Cumbrian on 2 Jun 2014 #

    I’m not expecting anything to trouble the number 1 position unless a bunch of people go into the I Feel Love thread and start marking a load of 1s next to it to bring it down to earth. I also think that the closer we get to the present, the less consensus around what is good we’re going to get, which is why I don’t think anything is going to trouble IFL unless there is some down-weighting going on.

  110. 110
    Andrew Farrell on 2 Jun 2014 #

    Woe be with the man who underestimates Tomcraft…

  111. 111
    Alan on 19 Oct 2014 #

    As of 19th Oct 2014, Tom has just posted the May 99 Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way”. The reader top 100 songs per year are…
    1956 1
    1957 0
    1958 3
    1959 0
    1960 3
    1961 3
    1962 2
    1963 2
    1964 7
    1965 6
    1966 8
    1967 1
    1968 1
    1969 3
    1970 1
    1971 5
    1972 1
    1973 2
    1974 1
    1975 4
    1976 1
    1977 4
    1978 3
    1979 4
    1980 4
    1981 5
    1982 2
    1983 1
    1984 2
    1985 1
    1986 3
    1987 3
    1988 2
    1989 3
    1990 2
    1991 1
    1992 1
    1993 0
    1994 0
    1995 1
    1996 0
    1997 1
    1998 1
    1999 1

    which ranks the top 10 (or so because of ties) years as

    rank/year/count of reader top 100 singles
    1 1966 8
    2 1964 7
    3 1965 6
    4 1971 5
    4 1981 5
    6 1975 4
    6 1977 4
    6 1979 4
    6 1980 4
    10 1958 3
    10 1960 3
    10 1961 3
    10 1969 3
    10 1978 3
    10 1986 3
    10 1987 3
    10 1989 3

  112. 112
    Patrick Mexico on 11 Dec 2014 #

    The “Ave v Std Dev*” graphs now look identical to a map of the West Country.

    My sympathies are with those who live on Lizard Point.

    * My sympathies are with those who watched that episode of Corrie.

  113. 113
    Tom on 26 Feb 2015 #

    We are now out of the 90s enough that the Popular readers 90s ‘canon’ feels fairly fixed, viz: “Nothing Compares 2 U”, “Brimful Of Asha”, “Killer”, “Baby One More Time”, “Gangsta’s Paradise”, “3AM Eternal”, “Your Woman”… and “Dub Be Good To Me” is just propping up the bottom at the moment. Any changes likely to be slow.

    Though speaking of slow changes, the gap between “I Feel Love” and what’s below it – which used not to be “Grapevine” – is gradually narrowing.

  114. 114
    Tom on 1 Mar 2015 #

    At last! The Spotify 8+ playlist – those tracks that I gave 8+ to – has been updated. http://open.spotify.com/user/freakytrigger/playlist/2vyeAG3bflk5omhE7cQWoA – with the 80s, 90s and 00s (so far) tracks, and the 50s and 60s stragglers that weren’t on Spotify when we first did it.

    The only things it’s now lacking are The Beatles (inevitably) and “3AM Eternal”

  115. 115
    Tom on 23 Apr 2015 #

    Spiller inside the reader Top 20 (after 1 day) – 14 and a half years between it and the next most recent Top 20 song.

  116. 116
    Andrew Farrell on 23 Apr 2015 #

    Fixed now – thanks for the heads-up.

  117. 117
    Auntie Beryl on 24 Apr 2015 #

    I’ve been putting together playlists of the hits of 1990 and subsequent years on Spotify of late (don’t judge me) and how I miss the following labels: Champion, Ten, KLF Communications, Circa, Debut.

    Spotify hasn’t everything.

  118. 118
    Steve Mannion on 24 Apr 2015 #

    How generous are you being with the definition of ‘hit’ Beryl? I put together playlists for the 80s last December covering anything available (and making a note of all the songs that weren’t) that made the top 75 – linked at http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2010/10/popular-the-80s/#1520588

    Have been trying to find the time to do the same for the 90s but please link yours either here or perhaps on http://freakytrigger.co.uk/popular/2015/01/popular-the-90s/

  119. 119
    weej on 10 Jan 2016 #

    Presentation: 8.5
    Instrumentation: 4.0
    Vocals: 5.0
    Originality: 9.0
    Lasting appeal: 10.0

    Overall: 7.3

  120. 120
    CriticSez on 3 Feb 2016 #

    #119 WEEJ, I’m surprised you liked my rating system, but I didn’t say you could use it for yourself.

    By the way, what song did you rate? Personally, I only give very high scores under strict criteria.

    I forgive you now. You can use my rating system as much as you like, but take care with ratings. Read what I said at the “Here In My Heart” entry.

  121. 121
    Neil C on 31 Mar 2016 #

    Hello all – I’ve been reading Popular for the last 3 years (came in around the time of Earth Song) and it has fast become my favourite music site, particularly after reading Mr Lineman’s wonderful hostory of pop, Yeah Yeah Yeah.

    I was really taken aback by my own anticipation levels for an upcoming bunny this Easter (one that I Find Hard To Expunge From My Mind), and it got me thinking about the whole Popular enterprise, and how much it’s enriched my appreciation of music.

    Over the years I’ve generally relied on my memory of these songs while reading Popular, playing them back in my mind rather than actually listening to them.  Thar changed recently when I discovered the option to list the entries by score – I put all the 9s and 10s on a playlist, LOVED it, added the 8s and 7s, in quick succession, and suddenly I had 10 hours of wonderful pop music spanning 50 years!

    As someone who listens mainly to albums, hearing these hits back-to-back has been a revelation. No filler tracks to grimly push through – every song sparkles with vitality, and the range of styles is astonishing, even in a single year. I’ve rediscovered many songs I thought my Uni disco had ruined forever (ABBA, The Buggles) and songs that my teenage indie self would have dismissed out of hand (Backstreet Boys and, unbelievably, Livin’ Joy), as well as digging some old favourites out for the first time in far too long.

    I’ve now cut the list down even further to my own selection of the 100 best, and it’s just terrific. I’m going to get so much fun out of these songs – soundtracks to exercise, making my siblings mix CDs that they’ll actually play, and (most importantly) introducing my baby daughter to the wonder of pop music.

    So thankyou Tom and all you marvellous  comments people – you’ve reminded me how amazing pop music can be!

  122. 122
    Tom on 7 Apr 2016 #

    Thankyou Neil! I missed this comment when you posted it!

    Early days of course but we currently have a new 00s number one. I can see it holding that position too.

  123. 123
    weej on 4 May 2016 #

    Very cool toy here – http://polygraph.cool/history/ – which lets you play through a visualised rundown of the US top 5 from 1956-2016, not sure where to put it but sure a lot of people on here might spend an evening playing with it. Hope we can get one for the UK top 5 too.

  124. 124
    EPG on 15 Sep 2017 #

    is so good

  125. 125

    […] by Tom Ewing’s “Popular” (which traces the history of UK #1 singles) and Tom Breihan’s “The Number Ones” (which […]

  126. 126

    […] by Tom Ewing’s “Popular” (which traces the history of UK #1 singles) and Tom Breihan’s “The Number Ones” (which […]

  127. 127

    […] by Tom Ewing’s “Popular” (which traces the history of UK #1 singles) and Tom Breihan’s “The Number Ones” (which […]

  128. 128

    […] by Tom Ewing’s “Popular” (which traces the history of UK #1 singles) and Tom Breihan’s “The Number Ones” (which […]

  129. 129

    […] by Tom Ewing’s “Popular” (which traces the history of UK #1 singles) and Tom Breihan’s “The Number Ones” (which […]

  130. 130
    Marc B on 13 Dec 2019 #

    Is something awry with the readers’ scores? I note that Dirrty has the third (!) highest score whilst pretty much everything else posted of late is tied in last place with a score of zero. I always rather liked seeing what the Popular community rated and the extent to which that correlated with Tom’s score. Is nobody scoring tracks anymore (other then whoever gave Christina a 9) or is there something up with the system?

  131. 131
    lonepilgrim on 16 Dec 2019 #

    I suspect it’s because so many of us are locked out by the filtering system and can no longer log on to vote. Meanwhile the filtering system seems to let an assortment of bots to post

  132. 132
    Gareth Parker on 3 Jun 2021 #

    Fantastic site! Keep up the great work Tom.

  133. 133
    Andrew F on 10 Jun 2021 #

    Congrats on commenting on all of them except 5 :)
    (6 if you count Telegram Sam, which could probably be unlocked at this stage?)

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