Top of the Pops (1964 – 2006)
Top of the Pops was a British show that counted down the top forty chart hits every week. It’s a relic of a time that will never return because it can never return. The world is a different place. For the vast majority of its lengthy run, nobody was streaming or downloading music, because there simply was no means to do it. As such, watching each half hour edition of Top of the Pops every week (it was a Thursday when I was a kid) was the best avenue for many people to hear what was hot and what was not.
Chart awareness and the absorption of music in general, was a much more linear thing in the eighties, and a lot of my best musical moments as a pre-teen and teenager were as a result of watching Top of the Pops. World exclusives were regularly positioned on this show and the television audiences were huge.
I remember eagerly awaiting the UK premiere of Michael Jackson’s single Black or White in 1991 because it was genuinely the only place I could watch it. And there were many more like that. Spoilers and leaks didn’t really exist in any great capacity then, so the bubble was rarely if ever burst. Nowadays it would be almost impossible to build anticipation that way, and there is something to be said for that kind of bygone naivety that we used to enjoy.