01/01/2021

Chartography - contents

Here's the list of performers I'm going to feature over time. Will certainly add some over time😃 When a new chartography is published I'll add a link to it here.

a-ha / ABC / Marc Almond / Alphaville / Adam Ant / Art of Noise // The B-52's / Bangles / Blancmange / Blondie / Laura Branigan / Bronski Beat // Belinda Carlisle / The Cars / China Crisis // Dead or Alive / Chris De Burgh / Depeche Mode // Enigma / Erasure / Eurythmics // Falco / A Flock of Seagulls / Frankie Goes to Hollywood // Eddy Grant // Heaven 17 / Human League // Icehouse / Billy Idol / INXS // Jean Michel Jarre / Johnny Hates Jazz / Grace Jones / Howard Jones // Kajagoogoo / Katrina & The Waves / Nik Kershaw / Kraftwerk // Level 42 / Living in a Box // Madness / Men at Work / Alison Moyet // Nena / New Order // Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark // Pretenders / Propaganda // Roxy Music // Sandra / Simple Minds / Spandau Ballet // Talk Talk / Tears for Fears / Thompson Twins // Ultravox / Midge Ure // Vangelis // Wang Chung / Kim Wilde // Yazoo / Yello

05/05/2019

Chartography - A Flock of Seagulls

This may be an unexpected inclusion as the band has for quite a long time been at an unenviable position - one of the most ridiculed of the genre (in the US) or barely remembered at all (in the UK and elsewhere). Still, that's some consistency - they were never a critics' favourites from day one. Yet if one digs deeper, a distinctive entity is found. Maybe not pioneering and overly creative (like it's necessary), but very musical, entertaining and talented. I personally most fond of their instrumental work which is one of the best of the decade at the very least (and which I recommend without reservations), but for all their shortcomings they had a sound of their own, being at their best with up-tempo, energetic songs, but rarely missing out with slower ones. They had an interesting overall atmosphere that is quite addictive and memorable. So it's actually little surprise that they had success at the time when this style of spacey, sci-fi-informed music was in vogue. Unfortunately they couldn't really adapt to swift changes and vanished commercially almost as quickly as they appeared. Still, their success has been rather solid to warrant a chart file of their own.

A Flock of Seagulls

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)

28/04/2019

Chartography - Alphaville

Here I won't post only music grands - the lesser-known performers will also get attention. Like Alphaville, for instance - major stars and probably the biggest European dĂ©butantes of 1984. There was literally no country on the continent that escaped their charms - and these also extended far outside (to much lesser extent, though). And thankfully such phenomenal success has been for a reason - their initial hits are pure gold, pop evergreens fondly remembered and oft-covered to this day. So it's a small wonder that they were unable to prolong their success and by 1987 it was practically over. Changing music trends played a big part, no doubt, and frankly even their debut album was eneven, and the later ones were quite spotty too. But still they declined too swiftly, even losing ground in their homeland of (West) Germany. Surprisingly they had a short comeback in German-speaking territories in 2010 (!). Still, they are active as a live band and are well-loved by audiences. And their widespread success warranted this compendium (which looks impressive for any band - on first pages, at least😏).

Alphaville

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)

08/04/2019

Chartography - Yazoo

So now another revue of a performer's achievements chartwise. Yazoo were big news for a couple of years, seemingly had a long and successful carrier ahead of them - judging by the early successes. The combination of catchy synth motives and bluesy vocals was truly ahead of its time - and a formula seldom repeated since. Still, they helped make synth music acceptable in the mainstream, showed its flexibility and wide reach. Their albums are a bit inconsistent, but generally are strong and enjoyable. So it was quite a shock to see them disband at the height of their popularity. Hard to judge if they had more to offer - well-covered internal tensions aside, did they have anywhere to go with their established style? Even Eurythmics - the band they paved the way for (and one that's going to be featured here in time) - all but put electronics aside after a couple of albums' worth of experimenting. Perhaps they just gave all they could - and decided not to waste everybody's time. One way or the other, they still left their mark on the development of electronic and pop music - and for that should be praised and respected.

Remarkably successful chart carrier, by the way - one you don't generally expect from an "indee" band: worldwide successes on a big scale, both with singles and albums! So the file is uncharacteristically long for a band with a couple of long players and a handful of singles☺ Also I included The Assembly single - because why not. Enjoy!

Yazoo

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)

27/03/2019

Chart collection - De Nederlandse Top 40

So, another chart collection. The Netherlands is one of those countries that always had not one, but two charts, even to this day. They were Nationale Hitparade/Mega Top 100 and De Nederlandse Top 40 (aka Stichting Top 40). The first is readily available here, while Top 40 site only has singles charts, and is quite awkward to use. But - there were once two sites by Micha Jans, that carried archives of these singles and albums charts. Now they are neglected, with albums chart site practically nonexistent. One can always use the Wayback Machine (eternal praise to those who invented it!), but I did the work for others - and here are the contents of these two sites.

One archive is for singles, the other - for albums. These are lists of hits for each year with entry date, peak position and weeks on chart (just basic stuff, but just what is really needed). The real interest here is with album chart (LP Top 20/30/50/75/Album Top 100), as it's not readily available anywhere, to my knowledge (for full story see the chart guide).

De Nederlandse Top 40 (1970-2007)

Album charts 1970-1999

17/03/2019

Australia - all chart singles 1960-1989

There are no searchable Australian chart archives before 1989 on the Net... right? Well, actually, there are lists of all singles that charted in the country between 1960 and 1989. Published by Gavin Ryan aka bulion on Australian-Charts.com's great "Special Occasion Charts" subforum, these are available for all to see. Here are links to all relevant posts. Since 1974 info is from Kent/Australian Music report, before that - Go-Set and retroactive charts by David Kent.

1960 / 1961 / 1962 / 1963 / 1964 / 1965 / 1966 / 1967 / 1968 / 1969

1970 / 1971 / 1972 / 1973 / 1974 / 1975 / 1976 / 1977 / 1978 / 1979

1980 / 1981 / 1982 / 1983 / 1984 / 1985 / 1986 / 1987 / 1988 / 1989

Australian No. 1 singles: 1940-1988

Enjoy!

08/03/2019

Chart collection - Trackslistan (Sweden)

Here's the first of my chart collections from various countries of the world. Swedish national radio station P3 debuted its weekly show called "Tracks" in September 1984. It had the listeners'-voted Top 20 chart called "Trackslistan" - which quickly became the most talked-about in the country and very influential. Though it wasn't an all-powerful hit-making machine - songs could chart in it, even get to No. 1 without even appearing on the national sales-chart ("Topplistan"). Still, it helped make lots of bands and artists well-known.

There was a website which had all its archives up to mid 2000s but that had gone down (as is rather often with the chart sites), seemingly without a new permanent home. I managed to retrieve most of its contents via the Internet Wayback Machine (all hail those who invented it!) - and now they can be downloaded wholly here (in their original form on HTML pages):

Trackslistan

Well, that's it, really😊

28/02/2019

Chartography - Talk Talk

Very sad news of Mark Hollis's passing. A very distinctive talent, both as a singer and a writer, who deservedly made himself a force to be reckoned with. Artistic evolution of his band Talk Talk is second to none in its scope and determination to eschew the commercial motivations. And yet along the way Mark and his colleagues managed to carve themselves a very nice niche in the market, having a widespread commercial success worldwide during early to mid 1980s. They even made their least commercial outings chart quite nicely, such was the power of their music. Always a bit of an underdog in their native UK, they somewhat surprisingly hit real hard in continental Europe and even managed to break the US market (albeit briefly). Their success story is only a little less fascinating than their creative one. I won't pretend I understand or like or rate that highly their experimental output - but their first two albums are stellar examples of "New Romantic"/synth-led sound of their era, I love them very much. So with this in mind and in memory of Mark Hollis, here's a compendium of their chart achievements:

Talk Talk

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)

17/02/2019

Chartography - The Human League

Next let's look at the chart activities of the band most close to the Kraftwerk synthesizer format, even a bit wilder at it at times: The Human League. Probably the biggest band of the early 1980s synth explosion, they, along with Ultravox (whom we'll get to in time, for sure), pioneered the British synth-pop and became one of the biggest influences on the electronic pop movement. For years dismissed as a "pop band with synths" (there was a time when this was seen as something wrong, for some reason), in 2000s they finally got their recognition as one of the most important bands of their era - 20 years too late, some might say, but at least it happened.

Surprisingly, for the band of their stature, their consistently successful years are limited to 1981-1986, with later ones providing increasingly diminishing returns. Truly a story of the band that record companies hardly knew what to do with. Still, they did remarkably great for some time, with 12 pages of the Word file to show for it!

I also decided to include solo efforts by The HL vocalist Philip Oakey - just for the hell of it😊

The Human League

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)

05/02/2019

Chartography - Kraftwerk

So, before long, let's start. And what better place to start than at the beginning - with fathers of all things electronic pop and dance: Kraftwerk! Fantastic band, whose pioneering status and place in the canon of pop music among the greats are undisputed. Frankly, it's a small wonder they managed to succeed in probably the most unwelcoming music climate - but they did, and did it in grand style, blowing minds and tearing down the rule books, making it all possible for those who followed. Chartwise, they are very uneven - apart from Autobahn, their biggest hits differ from country to country and there's no clear pattern to their success, hitting big with one album in some areas while at the same time completely missing out in others. Still, it makes charting their success interesting! So here we are:

Kraftwerk

(Download and open in Microsoft Word for the best viewing experience😊)