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SHEET MUSIC CHART

Before the advent of the record charts, the sheet music chart was an effective and vital guide to popular music. Sheet-music of a hit song would often sell in the thousands per week (especially before the Second World War), but even after, sales of records were no match for many years. Records, despite the New Musical Express chart which began in November 1952, would not begin to be a threat to sheet music until around 1955. One possible reason for this was that there used to be an enormous number of dance bands around which played all the latest tunes. Anyone could record a new song so it was difficult for any particular recording to be favoured. It was the actual song that mattered most. In the early days the main song publishers, who were situated in Denmark Street, London, would each handle around 25 new songs a year. They would initially print about 1000 copies of a song marked "Professional Copy - Not for Sale" and these would be handed out to any singer or bandleader. If any big names showed interest they would be urged to "plug" it via broadcasts. Often "plug" money was involved at anything between £50 to £100 for each broadcast, but this was later put a stop to by the BBC. No song could be recorded without the publishers permission and so they had much more power than the record companies.

In 1949 an organisation called the Popular Music Committee of the Music Publishers Association began to compile a new style chart and at the same time Radio Luxembourg began to broadcast them. These broadcasts went on until 1959 via a popular programme called "The Top Twenty Show" and presenters like Pete Murray selected the cream of recordings available of each song, and different versions were aired each week. It's an interesting coincidence that along with the new chart and the Radio Luxembourg broadcasts, Petula began her recording career during 1949. This survey highlights songs that Petula recorded between 1949 and 1964 and which featured prominently in the Best Selling Music Chart. In many cases her versions were responsible for their popularity and of course were also hit records. Of those that weren't it is worth remembering that Petula must still have contributed to the songs popularity via her very regular radio and TV appearances during those years.
Terry Young
Petula & Company
, Issue #67, Spring '91



British Record & Sheet Music Chart
# Date Entered Song Peak Click on image for a closer look
1 May 29, 1949 The Little Shoemaker 7  
2 June 4, 1949 I'll Always Love You 16  
3 June 11, 1949 Clancy Lowered the Boom 16  
4 November 25, 1950 Beloved Be Faithful 1  
5 January 20, 1951 Tennessee Waltz 1
6 February 25, 1951 Teasin 20  
7 May 5, 1951 May Kway Oh May Kway 16
8 September 8, 1951 Poppa Piccolino 1
9 December 5, 1953 Where Did My Snowman Go 22
10 May 8, 1954 The Little Shoemaker 2
11 August 7, 1954 Smile 4
12 January 22, 1955 Somebody 13
13 January 29, 1955 Majorca 7
14 May 7, 1955 Chee Chee oo Chee 17
15 May 28, 1955 The Pendulum Song 24
16 June 25, 1955 Crazy Otto Rag 22  
17 November 5, 1955 Suddenly There's a Valley 3
18 December 17, 1955 With Your Love 3
19 February 4, 1956 Memories Are Made Of This 3
20 February 11, 1956 Band of Gold 1
21 July 26, 1957 With All My Heart 3
22 November 15, 1958 Alone 1
23 January 11, 1958 Long Before I Knew You 18  
24 February 28, 1958 Baby Lover 19
25 August 16,1958 Devotion 17
26 May 9, 1959 Suddenly 28
27 January 26, 1961 Sailor 1
28 April 13, 1961 Something Missing 44
29 July 13, 1961 Romeo 3
30 November 16, 1961 My Friend The Sea 7
31 February 8, 1962 Im Counting On You 41
32 March 2, 1962 Ya Ya Twist 14
33 February 2, 1963 Casanova 39  
34 November 12, 1964 Downtown 2


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