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Author Topic: American chart system  (Read 4356 times)

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zipp

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2004, 08:31:44 PM »

[quote by=Wolf link=Blah.pl?b=cc,m=1084741864,s=19 date=1085343014]

Thanks Wolf.

1.I don`t think that scenario happened too often, though. I think most people went to a store and just asked for "the new Beatles single".


2.It definitely wasn`t an official double A-side. In the US, such things as "double A-sides" are generally not determined by record companies, but solely by the flip side achieving enough radio airplay or not.

3.This is an anomaly. "Something" and "Come Together" charted before and after Billboard changed its rules concerning popular flip sides. Before that rule change, both songs charted on their own, and both of them proved to be very popular with radio stations, with "Come Together" peaking at #2 and "Something" at #3 (two weeks before the rule change), the next week, "Come Together" fell down from its peak position of #2 to #7, while "Something" remained at #3. Under the old rule, both sides wouldn`t have made it to #1, because of their split airplay. But thankfully, the week ending 29 November 1969, Billboard began to list both sides of a single in the same position (combining sales points with all airplay points instead of splitting the airplay), and the "new" double-sided hit single "Something / Come Together" went straight to #1 (for 1 week).
[/quote]

1.Yes I think people just asked for the new Beatles single.And if that meant a double A side then so be it.

2.What do you mean by 'generally'?

3.This begs the question: Under the new rule would Strawberry Fields Forever have been accepted as a number one?

4.Under the old rule Something and Come Together were neither number one, so isn't it intellectually dishonest to put them both on ONE?

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Wolf

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2004, 08:54:02 PM »

[quote by=zipp link=Blah.pl?b=cc,m=1084741864,s=20 date=1085344304]

2.What do you mean by 'generally'?[/quote]

Record companies surely had an idea of which side of a single was the more potent song. They were interested in DJs playing the song they thought had hit qualities, which was normally the A-side. Sometimes record companies however thought that the B-side could also be a capable hit. One or two weeks before a new single was released, the record company put an advertisement in music magazines like Billboard advertising for an artist`s next single hit. They indicated if they thought a flip side should be treated equally by DJs by using the term "coupled with" (c/w). If they thought the B-side was just the B-side and nothing more, they indicated this by using the term "backed with" (b/w). However it was up to the DJs to decide if a single had two strong enough songs to have both charting, not the record company`s.

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3.This begs the question: Under the new rule would Strawberry Fields Forever have been accepted as a number one?

Of course! "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" would have definitely been a double-sided No. 1 hit in the U.S., and a pretty big one, because the airplay of both songs was very strong.

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4.Under the old rule Something and Come Together were neither number one, so isn't it intellectually dishonest to put them both on ONE?

It`s not dishonest, because it is not important if a rule change took place or not. What counts are the high sales of this single (exceeding 2 million in the U.S.), and the high airplay of both songs - thus this single has every right to be considered a legitimate #1 hit. You must keep in mind that these two songs didn`t reached #1 before the rule change because they were "too weak", to the contrary, both of them were very strong radio hits, and the single was a massive 2-million seller. In terms of airplay action, this was probably the strongest double-sided hit the Beatles ever had, never before did both sides of one of their singles reach the top 3 (and I think no other single by anyone during the 1960s comes close to this strong performance).

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zipp

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2004, 09:08:55 PM »

[quote by=Wolf link=Blah.pl?b=cc,m=1084741864,s=21 date=1085345642]

1. They indicated if they thought a flip side should be treated equally by DJs by using the term "coupled with" (c/w). If they thought the B-side was just the B-side and nothing more, they indicated this by using the term "backed with" (b/w). However it was up to the DJs to decide if a single had two strong enough songs to have both charting, not the record company`s.



2.Of course! "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" would have definitely been a double-sided No. 1 hit in the U.S., and a pretty big one, because the airplay of both songs was very strong.



3.It`s not dishonest, because it is not important if a rule change took place or not. What counts are the high sales of this single (exceeding 2 million in the U.S.), and the high airplay of both songs - thus this single has every right to be considered a legitimate #1 hit. You must keep in mind that these two songs didn`t reached #1 before the rule change because they were "too weak", to the contrary, both of them were very strong radio hits, and the single was a massive 2-million seller. In terms of airplay action, this was probably the strongest double-sided hit the Beatles ever had, never before did both sides of one of their singles reach the top 3 (and I think no other single by anyone during the 1960s comes close to this strong performance).

[/quote]

Thanks again, Wolf, for your prompt answers.

1.After 40 years you've finally enlightened me on this!

2.So wouldn't you agree that it was dishonest not to put Strawberry Fields Forever on ONE?

3.I'm still not clear on this.If the rule change hadn't taken place would either of these songs been number one?A legitimate number one hit is a record that sold more than the others around at the same time.There's no particular sales figure that applies.
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Wolf

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2004, 09:35:15 PM »

[quote by=zipp link=Blah.pl?b=cc,m=1084741864,s=22 date=1085346535]

Thanks again, Wolf, for your prompt answers.

1.After 40 years you've finally enlightened me on this![/quote]

Great - I love talking about this stuff and am always happy to find people that are interested in it (most fans are not!).

Quote
2.So wouldn't you agree that it was dishonest not to put Strawberry Fields Forever on ONE?

Well, EMI could only rely on what happened in the charts at the time, and in 1967, B-sides were still listed separately from the A-side. "Strawberry Fields Forever" only reached #8 in the US, and only #2 in the UK, thus it had no right to be considered a Beatles #1 hit. Sure, it would have been a #1 if Billboard hadn`t listed it separately, but you can argue the same for B-sides like "She`s A Woman", "Revolution", "I Saw Her Standing There", "I Should Have Known Better", and "Don`t Let Me Down". All of them would have been double-sided-No. 1 hits together with their respective A-sides, not just "Strawberry Fields Forever".

Quote
3.I'm still not clear on this.If the rule change hadn't taken place would either of these songs been number one?

It could have been possible that "Something" had reached #1 on its own even without the rule change, because it went 11-9-3-3, however "Come Together" would not have reached #1 on its own, that`s pretty certain, as it went 10-3-2-7 before the rule change.

You must look at the two ways of compiling charts - which one is better, or more fair? Charting both sides separately (and thus taking away steam from both songs), or combining both in one position? I`d say the second method looks better. It`s basically down to the question if you consider a single being a single, or a single being two separate songs? I`d say it is - physically - just one item, it is one item that people are buying in the stores, only secondarily is it two separate songs that they are buying. If you split airplay, you take away a lot of the power a single has, because back in the 60s, most artists only charted with the A-sides of their singles, so all the airplay they get, plus the sales, is represented in their chart placings. Not so with singles that charted both songs! They obviously have better airplay - if combined - than those songs that only have the A-side as a hit. This should be reflected in chart placings - a single that has two strong songs should benefit from that. But the way Billboard (and Cash Box) did it, a strong single was actually "punished" for having a lot of airplay.

That`s why I think that the new method of putting both hits in one position gives a better view over the popularity of a single, and thus "Something / Come Together" both have the right to be called #1 hits - it is actually more honest this way than the other way round, imo.

Quote
A legitimate number one hit is a record that sold more than the others around at the same time.There's no particular sales figure that applies.

Right - unfortunately Billboard did not keep the raw data it used to compile their charts, so we can only guess. "Something / Come Together" was certified as a 2-million-seller by the RIAA. The song that kept both "Something" and "Come Together" from #1 (before the rule change) was "Wedding Bell Blues" by the 5th Dimension. This song is certified by the RIAA as having sold 1-million-copies. When "Something / Come Together" were at #1 (after the rule change), they kept "And When I Die" by Blood, Sweat and Tears at #2. "And When I Die" is certified by the RIAA as a 1-million-seller. So based on these RIAA-certs, "Something/Come Together" must have outsold these two singles that were rivalling them at the time. Yet these two rival singles only had their respective A-sides charting, their B-sides didn`t feature in the charts. So it could be that "Wedding Bell Blues" (for some time) received more airplay than both "Come Together" and "Something" did on their own (but only slightly more), yet the airplay action of both CT and SMTH combined must have been a lot higher than that of "Wedding Bell Blues". So it`s again down to the question if a single is first and foremost "a single" (physically), or two songs? If you go for the first, than airplay should be combined, it you go for the second, airplay should be split.
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zipp

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2004, 11:52:55 AM »

Sorry I didn't answer sooner, Wolf, but I was distracted on another topic.
I can now see that allowing Strawberry Fields on to One woul have opened the floodgates for other 'coupled withs' or even 'backed withs'.
If they had applied the age old formula of 'million sellers' we'd have avoided a lot of this debate,since I imagine they could have included Strawberry Fields and Please Please Me.

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Wolf

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Re: American chart system
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2004, 10:24:25 PM »

That old 'million sellers' formula is indeed quite attractive - a single is either a million seller or it is not. Or so it seems. Not every sales figure of each single is known, for example, "From Me To You" sold ca. 700,000 in the UK, but it could be that it passed 1 million if international sales are taken into account (without US sales, as it was only the b-side of "Please Please Me" in America).

If they`d issue a collection of Beatles million sellers, they would have to restrict themselves to using US-million sellers, in order to keep it to a single CD-release. If all million sellers would be targeted (US + Global), then a 2-CD set would be necessary.

Yet in that scenerario we`d still have the B-side problem. If all B-sides should have been included, then they`d have to issue a 4-CD set!

Their American million sellers:

Please Please Me
Do You Want To Know A Secret?
Twist And Shout
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Can`t Buy Me Love
A Hard Day`s Night
I Feel Fine
Eight Days A Week
Ticket To Ride
Yesterday
We Can Work It Out
Nowhere Man
Paperback Writer
Yellow Submarine
Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Get Back
The Ballad of John & Yoko
Come Together
Let It Be
The Long And Winding Road

The following are not unlike to have sold over 1 million globablly, yet no reliable sales figures are known:

My Bonnie
From Me To You
Slowdown
I`ll Cry Instead
Rock And Roll Music
Michelle
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
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