12 February 2020

The very first (unpublished) ARIA top 50 singles chart

In my last post, I mentioned that there exists an unpublished ARIA top 50 singles chart, that was presumably compiled as a test-run before going 'live' the following week with the first published ARIA-produced top 50 chart.

Although the first published top 50 chart is dated 'week ending June 26, 1988', it actually reflects the chart survey conducted by ARIA on Monday 13 June 1988, covering sales from the week prior.  During the transition from the Australian Music Report (formerly Kent Music Report) chart, ARIA kept the week-ending dates on the top 50 chart a week after the chart survey was conducted, in keeping with AMR method of dating their charts, right up until the end of 1988.

So... this unpublished chart from the week prior reflects the chart survey conducted on 6 June 1988.  Had the chart been used on the printed top 50 ARIA charts available in record stores, it would replace the chart dated week ending June 19, 1988.

Of interest to chart-watchers, this unpublished chart actually results in a couple of different peaks, highlighted in orange on the chart below:

(TW = this week, LW = last week, TI = times in, HP = high point, w/c = week commencing.  Note: the TI tally reflects weeks spent in the top 100.)

Singles peaking higher as a result of this unpublished chart include New Order's 'Blue Monday 1988' (previous peak: #4; new peak: #3), INXS's 'New Sensation' (previous peak: #9, new peak #8), Prince's 'Alphabet St.' (previous peak: #20; new peak #14), Michael Jackson's 'Dirty Diana' (previous peak: #27; new peak: #26), and Robert Plant's 'Tall Cool One' (previous peak: #46; new peak: #30).

Singles peaking lower as a result of this unpublished chart include Tiffany's 'Could've Been' (previous peak: #8; new peak #9), and Pet Shop Boys' 'Heart' (previous peak: #18; new peak: #19).

Is this unpublished chart considered 'official'?  Should these 'new' peaks replace the old ones?  My opinion is 'yes' to both, because ARIA produced this chart.  I am not sure why it was not used in place of the last AMR chart ARIA licensed, for the week ending June 19, 1988 top 50 printed chart.  I'm guessing that maybe ARIA wanted to have a trial-run at it first, before going 'live'.


  1. Interesting! So this is, in effect, what would/could have been ARIA's own chart for the week ending June 19, 1988. The 31-to-3 jump for "Blue Monday" is particularly impressive. How did you uncover this one? I'm impressed!

    1. Yes, it could have replaced the last AMR top 50 chart ARIA licensed, for their printed top 50 chart dated week ending June 19, 1988. 'Blue Monday' was #1 this week on the VIC/TAS state chart, which was largely responsible for the jump. Interestingly, 'Bizarre Love Triangle' also topped the Victorian state chart. Oh to have had two national #1 singles by New Order on our chart!

      As for how I sourced this... best I not reveal that publicly. I can send that info to you though.

  2. I know I'm late responding to this, but yes this is indeed interesting, particularly about New Order, one of the greatest bands of all time. How The Perfect Kiss and Temptation never made it to #1 is just wrong...!!

    1. Both 'Bizarre Love Triangle' and 'Blue Monday 1988' topped the Victorian state chart, which is some consolation.


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