Matthew Eagles's Airplay Chart 1990-1991

My weekly airplay chart ran from October 1990 to October 1991; I produced 56 charts in total. I collected the data myself by tuning into several radio stations, constantly ‘channel-hopping’ between them (and it was an analogue radio with a tuning dial), and tallying up the number of plays on a sheet of paper. The radio stations I selected were those available in northwest England – Radio 1, Red Rose Rock FM, M FM, Pennine FM; perhaps also one or two others such as City FM. The chart date was Saturday, unless I was away on holiday in which case it would be the nearest Friday or Sunday.

Each time a song was played, as well as scoring one ‘play’ I would also award points depending on the time of day. From what I remember, I regarded ‘peak time’ as early afternoon, scoring perhaps 3 or 4 points. Morning and early evening airplays would have scored fewer points; if a song was played in the night it would not score any points. The idea was that, if songs were tied on the number of plays, the total points could be used to separate them, thereby awarding songs that had been played more at peak times.

The weekly cycle was this: every Saturday morning, first thing, I would input the data from my sheets of paper into my Amstrad computer. As I remember, there were two programs which I had written myself to process the data and (a) display the chart on-screen; (b) print out a grid to use for the coming week. I also seem to remember that one program had a green colour scheme, and the other was purple, so that the stages of the process were easy to distinguish. I didn’t save any data on disk: even if I had, the computer format was not compatible with Windows computers, or “not IBM-compatible” to use the terminology of the time. Instead, I wrote out the full chart by hand, in red ink incidentally. The first ever chart was 41 records long, but by late 1991 the charts were well over 100 records in length: any song that was played twice or more during the week Saturday-Friday would get a chart position.

In many ways it was a lot of fun to compile my own airplay chart, especially given that the music scene was so interesting at the time, but it was also very hard work and I finished it abruptly at the end of October 1991. This was a shame, as I had just started to manage the work better: for example, I knew of certain shows that were broadcast across a network, and so a play on those shows could be multiplied by perhaps 6 or 8 stations. It is also a great shame that sometime during the 2010s I seem to have thrown away all my airplay charts and the working sheets that went into producing them, in an over-zealous clear-out. All I have left are various scraps of information that have survived due to being copied elsewhere (e.g. the list of number ones), although a few charts and discographies have survived where I used the back of a draft printout as scrap paper for something else. This page is to recognise the great amount of work I put into compiling my own airplay charts.

MATTHEW EAGLES AIRPLAY CHART NUMBER 1s 1990/1991

There are some interesting differences between my own list of airplay number ones and those that topped the sales chart at the time. For example, Chesney Hawkes's "The One And Only" was number 1 for 5 weeks in terms of sales, but only managed one week on my chart; also, "Mother Universe" by the Soup Dragons and "Future Love Paradise" by Seal did not even make the top 10 in the sales chart, but were each the most-played song for a week according to my chart. On the other hand, Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do" dominated my chart almost as much as the sales chart (it was a UK number 1 for 16 weeks).

Date Artist Title No. of weeks
6 Oct 1990 Londonbeat I’ve Been Thinking About You  1
13 Oct 1990 Soup Dragons Mother Universe  1
20 Oct 1990 Beautiful South A Little Time  1
27 Oct 1990 Whitney Houston I’m Your Baby Tonight  1
3 Nov 1990 A-Ha Crying In The Rain  1
9 Nov 1990 Poison Something To Believe In  1
17 Nov 1990 Kylie Minogue Step Back In Time  1
24 Nov 1990 Robert Palmer & UB40 I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight  1
1 Dec 1990 Vanilla Ice Ice Ice Baby  4
29 Dec 1990 Cliff Richard Saviour’s Day  1
5 Jan 1991 Vanilla Ice Ice Ice Baby  1
12 Jan 1991 Enigma Sadness part 1  3
2 Feb 1991 Queen Innuendo  1
9 Feb 1991 KLF 3am Eternal  2
23 Feb 1991 Kim Appleby G.L.A.D.  1
2 Mar 1991 Bart Simpson Do The Bartman  1
9 Mar 1991 Stevie B Because I Love You  1
16 Mar 1991 Madonna Crazy For You  1
23 Mar 1991 Hale & Pace and the Stonkers The Stonk  1
29 Mar 1991 Simple Minds Let There Be Love  1
7 Apr 1991 Chesney Hawkes The One And Only  1
13 Apr 1991 Waterboys The Whole of the Moon  1
20 Apr 1991 Dannii Minogue Love and Kisses  1
27 Apr 1991 Madonna Rescue Me  1
4 May 1991 Electronic Get The Message  2
18 May 1991 Seal Future Love Paradise  1
25 May 1991 Electronic Get The Message  1
1 Jun 1991 Crystal Waters Gypsy Woman (La-Da-Dee)  1
8 Jun 1991 Color Me Badd I Wanna Sex You Up  1
15 Jun 1991 Kylie Minogue Shocked  1
22 Jun 1991 Color Me Badd I Wanna Sex You Up  1
29 Jun 1991 Erasure Chorus  3
20 Jul 1991 Bryan Adams Everything I Do (I Do It For You)  9
21 Sep 1991 Oceanic Insanity  1
28 Sep 1991 Bryan Adams Everything I Do (I Do It For You)  1
5 Oct 1991 Bryan Adams Can’t Stop This Thing We Started  1
12 Oct 1991 Scorpions Wind of Change  3

Example Top Tens: Sep/Oct 1991

28th September 1991

Last wk This wk Track
  1  Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
  2  Simply Red – Something Got Me Started
  3  Erasure – I Love To Hate You
  4  Zoë – Sunshine On A Rainy Day
  5  Bryan Adams – Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started
  6  Rozalla – Everybody’s Free
  7  REM – The One I Love
  8  Sabrina Johnson – Peace
  9  Salt’n’Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
  10  Oceanic – Insanity

5th October 1991

Last wk This wk Track
 5 1  Bryan Adams – Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started
 – 2  Scorpions – Wind of Change
2 3  Simply Red – Something Got Me Started
 – 4  Prince – Cream
 8 5  Sabrina Johnson – Peace
 7 6  REM – The One I Love
 10 7  Oceanic – Insanity
 – 8  Julian Lennon – Saltwater
 – 9  Marc Almond – Jacky
 3 10  Erasure – I Love To Hate You

12th October 1991

Last wk This wk Track
 2 1  Scorpions – Wind of Change
 1 2  Bryan Adams – Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started
 9 3  Marc Almond – Jacky
 10 4  Erasure – I Love To Hate You
 8 5   Julian Lennon – Saltwater
 5 6  Sabrina Johnson – Peace
 – 7  Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls
 6 8  REM – The One I Love
 – 9  Rozalla – Everybody’s Free
 – 10  Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You

19th October 1991

Last wk This wk Track
 1 1  Scorpions – Wind of Change
 9 2  Rozalla – Everybody’s Free
 7 3  Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls
 – 4  Belinda Carlisle – Live Your Life Be Free
 3 5  Marc Almond – Jacky
 – 6  Salt’n’Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
 – 7  Oceanic – Insanity
 – 8  Kenny Thomas – Best of You
 4 9  Erasure – I Love To Hate You
 5 10  Julian Lennon – Saltwater

26th October 1991

Last wk This wk Track
 1 1  Scorpions – Wind of Change
 3 2  Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls
 2 3  Rozalla – Everybody’s Free
 4 4  Belinda Carlisle – Live Your Life Be Free
 – 5  Marc Cohn – Walking In Memphis
 7 6  Oceanic – Insanity
 10 7  Julian Lennon – Saltwater
 – 8  2 Unlimited – Get Ready For This
 8 9  Kenny Thomas – Best of You
 – 10  Mariah Carey – Emotions

Dates are those when the charts were compiled, i.e. ‘week commencing’ dates.
Data collected from songs played by Radio 1, Rock FM, Pennine FM, M FM, and the general network of commercial stations where the same output was multicast.

All content © Matthew Eagles 1990-2021 unless otherwise specified. Last updated 29th March 2021.