This is where it all started

Forty years ago today on November 5, 1983 I compiled my first ever Top Ten Albums and Singles charts. I remember where I was when I did it: my family was visiting my maternal grandmother in Scarborough. I had long considered the idea of developing my own music charts to reflect what I liked yet never took the time to rank my own top tens until then. My diary entry for that day mentioned the visit but not that I had inaugurated the charts. I would go on to compile a Top Ten Albums chart every week for the next twenty years, while my Singles chart lasted 17½ years.

The very first charts were produced on separate pieces of paper, reproduced below, while every week after that, starting for the week ending November 12, 1983, both charts occupied one half of letter paper at landscape orientation. When I ceased compiling a Singles chart, I used letter paper at portrait orientation for the Albums chart. I didn’t produce a standard template for my charts until January 14, 1984; until then I drew the lines freehand and didn’t rule each page till December 17. My chart formatting would change many times over the years and when I ceased to write it out by hand and designed my charts using word processing and computer-generated templates they looked more professional. I never had to worry about squeezing in titles or artists’ names when I could always find a skinnier font.

The first charts for the week ending November 5, 1983:

For the week ending November 12, 1983:

For the week ending November 19, 1983:

I had placed a sticker over the now yellowed 2 to indicate its correct LW (last week) position which was really 1. The sticker has since fallen off.

For the week ending November 26, 1983:

For the week ending December 3, 1983:

For the week ending December 10, 1983:

For the week ending December 17, 1983:

For the week ending December 24, 1983:

I would faithfully compile my chart on the Sunday following the end of the previous chart week. Thus I wonder if I actually compiled this chart on Christmas morning.

For the week ending December 31, 1983:

Unlike Billboard magazine, which I modelled my charts after, I did not take a holiday over Christmas and New Year and always had a new chart week after week.

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