ONCE upon a far simpler time, Top of the Pops was must-see TV and if you were among the music fans tuning in, it’s probable you currently have absolutely no clue whatsoever who is at number one and think ABCDEFU is a typo. But there is a new chart that aims to give you back what you miss and taps into the pandemic's nostalgia surge.


Ah, Top of the Pops…

It was indeed a simpler time - or rose tinted spectacles makes it seems so - when pop stars and bands lip-synched their hearts out with huge hair and electric guitars that weren’t even plugged in and viewers thought nothing of it, simply opting to enjoy the top 40 countdown.


It’s all so different now?

When the first charts were compiled in the 1950s by the New Musical Express, they called 24 record shops and noted down their sales, but now data is taken from 15,000-plus retailers, broken down into regions and formats and genres, with download sales added in 2004 and in another chart evolution, streaming added in 2014.


So who’s at number one?

As a Top of the Pops viewer, I had to look this up - ‘We don't talk about Bruno' from the Disney Encanto movie is at number one, with US teen singer Gayle at number two with ‘ABCDEFU'.


So what’s the new chart?

It’s a new old chart really. DJ and presenter, Mike Read, 74, who is known for fronting Saturday Superstore and presenting on Top of the Pops and Radio 1 in the 1980s and early 1990s - hosts The Heritage Chart, which features new music by ‘heritage’ artists.


At number one is…?

The latest chart puts Bedistland by British punk rock band The Members at number one, with Paul Weller's English Rose, a new take on a Jam classic, in the second spot. Other songs in the top 30 include new music by artists such as Chris de Burgh, with his new single Legacy, and Tears for Fears with their new song, No Small Thing; Tom Jones with Not Dark Yet and The Temptations with When We Were Kings.


A few well-kent faces there then?

The chart launched back in the summer of 2020, saying it was ”giving a voice to major artists still making great music”. It now airs online at 365radio.co with playbacks at www.heritagechart.co.uk and fans able to vote online at both sites to choose their favourite tracks to make it into the chart.


And now?

Plans are afoot to bring it to TV. Read has now recorded a pilot of the show with pop star Limahl - of 1984's Never Ending Story fame - with a view to it airing on local stations across the UK, saying: “Good songs are good songs and this is the culmination of 18 months work on the chart in general leading to a trial for TV. If it all works and pans out the show will be weekly…on about 15 local TV stations and maybe more.”