Source: Liverpool Express
Chart-topping put Liverpool on the music map, and we have a wall of discs to prove it. It was a big deal then and it still is now, writes Kevin McManus, Liverpool City Council’s Head of UNESCO City of Music (and someone with a history of a No1 hit)…
The news that The Beatles’ ‘new’ and final single Now and Then’ has made the coveted number one spot in the singles chart confirms the incredible enduring power of the group.
But it is also an important landmark for our city as it continues Liverpool’s proud tradition of having a Number One single in every decade since the charts began.
Our Guinness World Record of “most number one hits from a city” now extends to 58 – and the city’s Pop Wall of Fame on Mathew Street will soon welcome this latest addition.
Liverpool is a music city (as we proved to the world spectacularly once again at Eurovision) so it is only right and proper that we are able to boast that we have had more UK number-one singles than anywhere else in the world.
This glorious run of success began in 1953, not long after the beginning of the official charts, with Lita Rosa’s (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window’. In the sixties, it should really have just been renamed the Liverpool charts as the city dominated the top spot.
The Beatles had 17 number ones (until today!), but there were plenty of others including Ken Dodd, Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers were the first act to reach number one with their first three single releases.
There are simply too many to go through them all here but standouts for me are The Real Thing with You To Me Are Everything (1970s), and the mighty Frankie Goes To Hollywood who for a short time in the 1980s were the biggest band in the world and repeated the Pacemaker’s achievement of three number ones with their first three single releases.
Ian Broudie and The Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions was number one twice in the 1990’s, while Atomic Kitten had three singles reach the top in the early noughties. Our only number one single in the last decade is one I’m proud to say I played a small part in, and that was the Justice Collective’s cover of He Aint Heavy which we released to raise money and awareness of the fight for justice for those involved in the Hillsborough disaster.
The ambition was to be the Christmas number one, which was stupidly ambitious given that this was traditionally the week of the year’s biggest singles sales. Also, we were up against that year’s X Factor winner (James Arthur). But we had an amazing team involved in the single including a social media genius and some huge names singing on it (including a certain Paul McCartney) and somehow we did it.
It was an amazing feeling finding out on the day that we had managed to edge X Factor off the top spot. (We did only inconvenience the Simon Cowell machine by a week as James Arthur was back at number one for New Year).
On this occasion I don’t think Paul and Ringo will have been glued to their radios waiting to find out if they had made it, but reaching number one still means a lot. Of course, streaming means the way the chart is calculated now is different and the numbers required to reach the top spot are much less than in the glory days but it is still a huge deal.
I grew up listening to the charts on the radio with my older sisters dying to know what the number one was going to be. Those days are gone but artists and their devoted fans still know the power of a chart-topping single.
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Image caption: The Beatles’ last single Now and Then is to be latest addition to Liverpool’s Pop Music Wall of Fame of No 1 hits