Look at the UK Singles Charts…


I still check the Top 100 singles every Friday night, out of habit rather than interest. The vinyl singles chart is much more interesting and there’s been some astonishing number 1’s on that down the years.

Today, to my astonishment, there’s a good record n the Top 100, a re-entry at no. 73 for my favourite song of all time, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. It’s charted in the top 20 three times before, reaching its highest ever position of no. 13 the first time, and no. 19 twice afterwards.

And on the Vinyl Top 40 it’s number 1, leaping from last week’s no. 36.

And blimey but it’s a Joy Division top 3, with ‘Atmosphere’ as a New Entry at no. 2 and ‘Transmission’ a New Entry at no. 3. The only three singles Joy Division ever-released, a Top Three. Who on even the strongest drugs would ever have imagined that in 1979?

I haven’t had so much glee with the Charts since ‘Atmosphere’ went to no 1. in New Zealand.

11 thoughts on “Look at the UK Singles Charts…

  1. That’s fantastic. Not only that more than enough vinyl is being sold to justify a meaningful chart, but it’s being bought by discerning music connoisseurs (even if a disproportionate amount live in Manchester 🙂 )

    1. I’ve been following the vinyl Top 40 for years now but I’m not sure how meaningful it is. It can be incredibly volatile – one week no less than 38 positions were new entries and there’s neither rhyme nor reason for what sells, but you have to love a chart that, based on sales of those little black thingies we know and love (even if we haven’t got turntables on which to play them) can place Pink Floyd’s ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ as a no. 1 single…

    1. Nice thinking. But I’ve no idea what level of sales dictates a vinyl no. 1, though I’d be very surprised if it was too much into four figures. Doves’ There Goes The Fear’ sold out of its 15,000 copies released one day deleted the next and got to no 3 and that was 2003. In this age of streaming, I’m not optimistic that the old-fashioned vinyl format gets anywhere near that.

      1. That was a beautiful record.

        My claim to fame was making the Melody Maker Indie chart in 1991. That was down to 3 figure sales. No-one can remember now whether we graced the top 10 or came in at no 13. What is beyond doubt is that they mistyped our name (“Mug” instead of “Hug”) so no-one knew it was us!

        I’m long past thinking that commercial success is any indication of value (other than the monetary kind), but any chart where Joy Division, Doves and Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive make number one reminds me there are plenty of people I could enjoy a pint with (and no doubt some animated and opinionated debate).

        Out of interest, and given the Manchester-centric vibe I’m picking up (which is all to the good), have New FADS ever featured in the upper reaches? The absolute high point of playing in Hug was clinching the tour support for them. A lovely bunch of people and an astoundingly good band, who should have been very much bigger.

  2. First two new Doves tracks in 11 years are killers, especially ‘Prisoners’, real never-been-gone stuff (got the album on order).

    Agree with you over commercial success – after all it’s far more often the opposite. But I used to love the charts in 1980-82, every punk/new wave record that broke through was a glorious finger in the eye, a raspberry blowing we-were-right-all-along, you-should-listen-to-us-more-often.

    I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember hearing of New FADS let alone anything by them. They’ve certainly never hit the vinyl 40 to my recollection. Maybe if they release vinyl single? There’s often a strong New Order/Smiths contingent but it’s a lot more eclectic than Mancunia. Of course, I dream of a Friday night no. 1 is The Distractions’ glorious ‘Time Goes By So Slow’.

    1. Ah-hah! If you’d only told me you were taking about New Fast Automatic Daffodils I would have been able to say that I had heard of them but didn’t know if I’d heard them. I’m playing ‘Big’ off YouTube right now and whilst it has its appeal, it’s not really what I was into, then or now. Early 90s was very much Stone Roses and Kirsty MacColl, and I was much more into Inspiral Carpets (then, I hasten to add) than Happy Mondays. The Roses helped me impress my then girlfriend’s two kids the only time they ever visited my house, as it was lying around: I suddenly became briefy ‘hip’ (though we no longer called it hip then).

      1. I heard Joe on the radio the other day for the first time in years. Still an absolute killer of a track. Loved the Roses but the Mondays were my fave. Funnily enough it’s there first album that I play most now.

      2. New Fast Automatic Daffodils became abbreviated on the second album, I think. They made three, each a real progression to my ears, but to diminishing returns as far as record sales sadly. Big and Fishes eyes remain what they’re best known for. The lyrics for Big were inspired by a documentary about the Mid West, in which a woman had a jar of desert sand on her window ledge. It was half full but she was convinced it would be full in the no time because she’d been told the desert grows three miles a year.

  3. Joy Division taking the top three spots in the vinyl chart might be something to do with the recent 40th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death.
    I saw Joy Division live over forty years ago, supporting Buzzcocks in a gorgeous art deco cinema. JD live felt like being picked up by a force of nature and pinned to the wall, which in this case was a very good thing indeed. One of the best live acts I’ve seen.

    1. Good point. I was lucky, I saw them live twice, both in 1979. The second time was supporting the Buzzcocks at the Manchester Appollo (the first time I heard ‘Love will tear us apart’) but before that I saw them in Nottingham, supporting John Cooper Clarke – unannounced, unspeaking, unheralded, I had no ideawho they were until the first album came out months later and I recognised the syndrum in ‘Insight’, but my diary confirms i thought they were fantastic.

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