I know there was a small discussion about this awhile ago, but I have a query re: the Countdown charts: Chartbusters/Top 10.
Which charts did Countdown actually use to compile its list? Was it the Kent Music Report or did the show establish its own separate chart?
There seemed to be quite a lot of individual charts back in the 70s/80s so it does get rather confusing – to me anyway!
I know from a 1983 ep Molly stated they were going to change the way they were creating their charts, so I assume this to mean it was a separate entity from the Kent Report?
I know the ‘Countdown Council of Schools’ had an influence in them as well – although I believe this was short-lived. I wonder if anyone got anything for being on the council.
Also the show used to print out a weekly chart list…which I’m sure must be a collector’s item. Was this list printed out from the show’s beginning until the end in 1987 or just for a short period?
So many questions – anyone have the answers?
I remember at my local record bar in the 80's we used to get the Countdown Chart and the EON FM Chart and I used to take them and keep them.
I think the "COUNTDOWN CHART" may have existed in 1984 or '83 till '85ish. I am not positive, but that's when they seemed to be big from what I recall...
That sounds right - I remember back then there always seemed to be about 7 shelves full of different charts whenever I walked into the record store.
I vaguely recall looking at a printed Countdown chart - wish I'd kept it!
Still with so many of them around I wondered how Countdown compiled their charts each week - although for the longest time the show's chart was THE chart everyone took notice of - and so they should have as well !
From what I gather the Countdown charts were the official National charts. I never understood the Kent Report and often perceived them as inferior when it came to chart placings. Yet a lot of 80's music books refer to the Kent Report for chart placings.
The Countdown Charts became the Aria Charts in '83 or '84 and as we know the Aria Charts are the official charts to this day.
The Countdown Top 10 charts were always considered dodgy and the official Australian Charts were compiled by David Kent in the Kent Music Report.
On July 3 1983 Countdown joined with the ARIA approved Kent Music Report to produce the first Countdown chart, Molly mentions this on Humdrum on the July 1 1983 episode. It was printed on Orange, Pink, Yellow, Green or Blue paper (I have about 50-70 of them but many are doubles) and consisted of the Top 50 singles and albums along with the Top 10 in each state on one side and an album advert and songwords on the reverse, eg the Aug 7 1983 chart has an ad for the Haysi Fantayzee album and the songwords to Shiny Shiny.
They were only called the Countdown Chart for less than a year as my last Countdown Chart is dated April 15 1984. My May 13 1984 chart is called the Australian Top 50 ARIA Chart and continued to be compiled by the Kent Music Report and probably still does to this day. The Kent Music Report started in 1974 officially and was actually a Top 100 for all of it's time but was only ever published as a Top 50 or Top 40. That is why in 1985-87 on Countdown you saw chartbusters shown going from 67 to 43 and at the time I never knew how they got those numbers.
The Australian Chart Book 1970-92 compiled by David Kent lists all the songs which made the Top 100 along with the debut date, highest position, weeks in and label number. For example Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone debuted on Feb 6 1984 and spent 2 weeks in the charts with it's highest position being No.99 and it's label was Mushroom K9217. It is the best reference book I have seen for Australian charts. I also have books for the 3XY (30 Years Of Hits 1960-1990) and 2UE (Hits Of The 80's) charts but they are only Top 40 and no where near as good.
The best chart book I have seen is "Joel Whitburn's Billboard Hot 100 Charts - The Eighties" which reproduces every US Billboard Top 100 chart for the entire 1980's as they were originally published. A reference section lets you know all the songs that made it (but unfortunately doesn't list the artists in alphabetical order so it makes them harder to find as you need to check individual songs) and doesn't list highest position etc so you have to check all the individual charts to see that a song like Venetians - So Much For Love debuted on Feb 28 1987, spent 6 weeks in the US charts but never got higher than No.88, still a great effort for an Aussie song.
Very interesting info there...although I'd still like to know how Countdown compiled their charts before 1983. Was their Top 10 based on several other charts or one in particular?
Also how much influence - if any - did the 'Countdown Council of Schools' have on the charts?
I'd heard them mentioned often on the show but never quite understood exactly what they did.
The 2 chart books I have are 'The Book: Top 40 Research' by Jim Barnes and Stephen Scanes, which charts every Australian/Overseas song from 1956 - 99.
The other I check out all the time is the 'Guinness Book of British Hit Singles'. This is a great book featuring all the charts from 56 - 99.
Both are very well worn copies by now and I'd love to get a new editions....although it appears neither are published anymore unfortnately.
There was a reference book at my local library, that I used to treat like my music bible in the early 90's. It was an Australian Top 40 80's chart book. I think it was also by Jim Barnes? It listed all the songs that made the Top 40 from Jan 1980 - Dec 1989. It had artists discography (only their songs that made the Top 40) and listed all their chart hits with chart entry date, highest position, number of weeks in Top 40. At the back it had all the songs that made the Top 40 in the 80's and their highest position in alphabetical order. It was the best chart book of the 80's. I think the source for all this info was taken from the Kent Music Report, so quite often songs didn't match the highest chart placing that was shown on Countdown - it was usually a difference by a few. Other features of the book were the Top 40 selling songs for each year of the 80's and all the Number 1 songs of each year of the 80's. ie for 1984 it had for example (I made up these dates, but am pretty close to the fact):
1 January - 23 January - All Night Long - Lionel Richie
24 January - 5 February - Original Sin - INXS
6 February - 12 March - Love Is A Battlefield - Pat Benatar
13 March - 24 March - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
April - 99 Luft Baloons
The book you refer to was the one based on the Sydney 2UE charts and is called Hits Of The 80's - Top 40 Research by Jimmy Barnes and Steve Scanes.