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


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  1. 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)

  2. 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 […]

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 67
    malmo58 on 20 Jan 2013 #

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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)

  10. 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!

  11. 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.)

  12. 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).


  13. 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.

  14. 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,

  15. 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?

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 84
    Andrew Farrell on 19 Jan 2014 #

    How about better beats?

  25. 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….

  26. 86
    enitharmon on 19 Jan 2014 #

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

  27. 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!”

  28. 88
    admin on 19 Jan 2014 #

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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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