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The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles [Paperback]

Martin Roach
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Nov 2008

From Arctic Monkeys and ABBA to the Zutons and Ziggy Stardust, from 'Anarchy in the UK' to 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' - and over 30,000 hit singles in between - this collector's must-have contains everything you could possibly want to know about every single to reach the charts since 1952.

Packed full of charts, lists, facts and timelines as well as up-to-date information, extensive cross references and analysis from Martin Roach this is the perfect book for music buffs, downloaders glued to iPods and budding Mark Ronsons.

This new edition, previously published by Guinness World Records, is the first to be published under the Virgin brand with a whole new look. With new feature material covering a huge range of areas, bands and history from industry-insider Martin Roach, it's an essential part of any serious music fan's collection.

Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (6 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753515377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753515372
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 19.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Almost as indispensable as NME" (NME [on previous edition])

"The definitive chart anorak book" (Q [on previous edition])

"Indispensably poptastic reference work" (Guardian [on previous edition])

Book Description


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Must try harder. 6 Nov 2008
I own every one of the Guinness Hit Singles books even though I stopped following the charts several years ago. Each successive edition has tried to offer added value and generally succeeded. Being charitable, if Guinness decided to end the series we should be grateful to Virgin for picking up the rights. Being more critical, I have to say that the layout, print size and additional information just don't match up to the Guinness editions which I always felt were a labour of love. It will probably be the last I buy which as someone who from 1974 to around 2002 always knew what was number one is quite sad really.The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
My last Guinness book was the 12th Edition, published in 1999. I was fed up with the way pages fell away from the binding after little use. This had happened to each of the previous editions I had (2 Singles and 1 Album). When I heard British Hit Singles was coming out from a new publisher, I thought the binding couldn't be worse and I'd have information on the past decade of singles. So I ordered it unseen. I wish I had waited; I'd rather have the last Guniness edition.

I just received the book in the post today and found problems with it. Information with the entry that a single has re-entered the charts or entered after a reissue is missing. You might notice that the track is listed previously, but I'd like to know if it's the same recording as before. It looks like re-mixed singles are still indicated. So, does that mean if "REMIX" isn't listed, I can assume it's the same recording? Take "We've Got Tonight" and "Hollywood Nights" by Bob Seger. Their second appearance in the charts are tracks from a live album. The original charting tracks were different, studio recordings. But from Virgin's book, you'd think you'd have the charting versions if you had the studio recordings. Wrong. (Upon reissue, a track may be given a new catalog number; so the differing catalog numbers here are not a dead giveaway, and certainly don't indicate a live recording.)

You want something more definitively inaccurate? The Goons hit with "I'm Waking Backward for Christmas" in 1956. A few weeks later, its flip side, "Bluebottle Blues", also entered the chart. But the Virgin book claims both sides charted the same week. Or that's the only way I can figure to read their listing of both sides under the same date.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ian Dury was right! 22 Nov 2008
You'll be able to find his first hit single in this new book, but I think it's title sums up my impession of it.
As others have pointed out, the exclusion of a list of UK number one singles from this volume is a complete mystery to me. It's surely a necessary requirement in any book of this type to be able to compare number one records year on year - not in this book though.
It's not a patch on the Collins Complete Hit Singles - that has terrific information about the bands themselves and not just a mundane list of their chart successes.
Hopefully the publishers will take note of these reviews before the album version comes out next year.
My advice - shop around for the most recent Collins or Guinness. If it's the most recent hits you're after, get the details online.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor compared to the other editions. 20 Dec 2008
A Kid's Review
I was really looking forward to this new edition, following the big build up to it over the last couple of years. I expected a jam packed singles and albums editions with trivia, updated top 75 etc. However, none of this was present in this edition. Just top 40 singles and nothing more. I, for one, will not be buying this edition and the authors will have to do better in the next time. Not entertaining at all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 2 years wait for a huge disappointment 20 Nov 2008
By RNell
Couldn't agree more with all those who rated this book with 1 star. I would only recommend it to update chart information of 2007 and early 2008. Trivia information, album chart positions and #1 singles to mention just a few are no longer available. Buy the 2006 edition of the Guinness book of British Hit singles instead if you don't own any UK Chart book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Guinness come back 16 Sep 2009
My issue 17 Guinness Book was getting a bit behind, so I decided to buy the latest one, only to find that they no longer do it, and it has been taken over by Virgin.
Expecting the same or a quite similar thing, I was very disappointed to find the first track I looked up incorrectly listed, missing the primary artist from the listing.
The second time I used it was to check what tracks were on an EP, failure again, the Virgin book just lists the title with no further info.
For me, this is an utter waste of time, it was at a reduced price and is slightly more up to date than my old book, but it is no replacement.
I am very disappointed with it, had I found one in Waterstones or WH Smith I could have looked through it before purchase. I think this one will be relegated to a Christmas present.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars End Of An Era 5 Nov 2008
Anybody who has grown up reading the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles will be dismayed by this effort from Virgin.

Not only have they removed the albums, but they only count the weeks on the Top 40 chart rather than the Top 75 chart. They can't even be bothered to give a count of an artists' total weeks on chart. Saves on the ink I suppose. Oh, and the circles and stars that highlight Top 10 hits and No. 1's have gone too.

Like one of the previous posters stated, it just feels like a long list.

A very sad decline in what was once the "Pop Bible".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good encyclopedia
Good encyclopedia of pop, though I found a lot of stuff missing which I felt
should have been included. Still, a very good buy for reference anyway. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Nobby
3.0 out of 5 stars could be better.
I used to use the Guinness version of this which had more detail and information about the singers particularly the groups. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David J Peck
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Guinness
After being a Guinness hit singles fan for many years a little tweaking is needed but in all a well laid out informative book
Published 20 months ago by Draytonjeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Virgin hit singles
Absolutely marvelous book,with all the information needed for the average browser.BUT, unfortunately there was a substantial number of pages missing in the original binding. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2012 by Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Virgin book of hit singles
I bought this book for my mother who is an avid crossword fan. She has had the Guinness book from 2003 and had not been able to get an later edition, (she is not on the internet). Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2011 by Geordie
5.0 out of 5 stars virgin book - hit singles
fabulous book.

the shadows are correctly credited with all their hit singles with cliff richard.

excellent vfm.
Published on 27 July 2011 by a.m.hardwick
1.0 out of 5 stars Virgin on the ridiculous!
Went into my local Waterstones yesterday in an attempt to update my Guinness Book of Hit Singles. Picked up the latest Virgin offering after having been told that Guinness no... Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2011 by geoffbowl
4.0 out of 5 stars New and well used already!
The most up to date book on the market, but only covers up to 2008. It is well thought by Virgin, although I'm sure they followed the lead of Guinness who first produced this book... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by shedevans
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad
A badly conceived book that is pale in comparison to Guinness. Oh, for a British Joel Whitburn and his archive of Billboard charts. Do not buy this.
Published on 17 July 2010 by GamboChino
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought I couldn't get hold of................
.........the Guiness book of hit singles but apparently they ceased a few years ago and Virgin took over. Just as good and pressie for hubby and he's over the moon.
Published on 2 Jan 2010 by angie
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