This "bible" of facts on the pop charts from their inception to date used to have the field to itself and its publication every two years was eagerly awaited. Recently it has had competition, this year from two other publishers, and in response it has become an annual issue and, this year, they have added in album chart details (there used to be a separate Albums book, last issued eight years ago).
This means that the book increases in size by some 160 pages; they have not, however, compromised on paper or print quality, and although this does mean that it is quite a weighty tome it is no heavier than, say, the Radio Times Guide to Films, and should fit snugly on most bookshelves.
They have not altered the layout of the listings, which are clear and concise. For each artist/band the singles are listed first in black and then the albums in red; I suppose there may be a slight problem for anyone who is colour-blind but the print used is bold and I would say that it's as good as you're going to get. Only artist albums have been included, not various artist compilations such as "Now", although there are lists of the No 1 compilations and those based on TV shows and soundtracks.
As usual the top 500 chart acts are flagged, and a short description of them given. Because albums are included this time some famous names previously excluded from this "club" have been catapulted in; for example it now includes Led Zeppelin and James Last!
The only change in format is that the features and extra statistical information that used to be at the front of the book is now scattered throughout; this does help break up any artistic monotony one might feel the listings pages have.
All in all it's still the best reference work for those thousands of us who have an interest in the pop charts, who take part in or compile fiendishly obscure quizzes, or who can't remember when Wendy Richard was No 1 (with Mike Sarne) and want to satisfy their curiosity.