The official countdown of the UK’s top selling singles first started as Pick of the Pops with DJ Alan Freeman in 1967 and fast became a family favourite – the soundtrack to many a Sunday roast dinner. Now, however, following a move by record companies to a new global Friday release date, the chart will be moving to a new end-of-week slot.
A generation of teenagers will remember sitting in their bedroom, pressing record on their tape recorders, catching their favourite tunes for their compilation cassettes, whilst pretending to be busy doing homework.
Presenters over the years have included Tony Blackburn, Mark ‘goody-bags’ Goodier and Jo Whiley, who was the first female host in 2002. In the 1980s the show was attracting over 4 million listeners, but in recent years this has dropped to closer to 1 million. The chart countdown has aired every single week since its launch almost 50 years ago, except for once. On the 31 August 1997 the show was cancelled for new coverage of the death of Lady Diana.
The change of days has become necessary after the music industry agreed a global release date for singles and albums, as digital downloads and streaming become the main measures of popularity.
Producers will have to be more choosy about which of the top 40 tracks they play as the new countdown, which will be part of Greg James’ regular Friday afternoon show, will be two hours long, compared to it’s current three hours. The new Friday countdown will begin in July.