Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Kent Music Report

When a young David Kent first became interested in popular music, there was no such thing as an Australian Top 100. In fact, it would be a few years before any sort of music tracking was available to him, having to make do with radio "Hit Parades" which counted down a handful of popular songs each the week. David's interest lead to his collecting as many of these hit parades as possible, later becoming an invaluable history of Australia's early chart history.

In 1958, Sydney radio station, 2UE, publish its first giveaway chart available at record stores as a promotional tool for the radio station. It detailed the most popular songs into a Top 40 list much the same as the now established Billboard charts in America. Gradually, radio stations from all corners of the country had their own charts available giving David the chance the tabulate them into one overall national chart. However, that was quite a few years away from where we are at the moment.

David Kent had previously worked with record companies EMI and Phonogram records, creating his Top 100 lists as a hobby, but with the impending collapse of the Go-Set charts, David's first commercially released Australian chart was released in July 1974.

The Kent Music Report was recognized as Australia's national chart until 1988. During this time David took the time to "retro-calculate" the charts previous to 1974 via the lists he had collected in his younger days. His reputation also allowed many radio stations to provide him with plenty of vintage information that lead him to dig all the way back to 1940 when Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and The Andrews Sisters reigned supreme.

The Australian Top 1000 (of everything) picks up from 1955, a year which celebrated the arrival of the 7" single. It was also a pinnacle year in the course of popular music with the arrival of Rock and Roll, which sporadically enjoyed chart success until the 1960's where it became the norm.

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