According to George Martin in his original biography he could turn a profit on 300 sales of a Jimmy Shand record and he was played on the Light programme probably on fewer occasions than Ivory Joe Hunter.
People listened to Luxembourg, American Forces Network and later on Salut Les Copains, They heard music on juke boxes or at fairgrounds and when they went dancing at the weekend. Youngsters shared their music at youth clubs if they were lucky enough to have a rockin' vicar. There were listening booths at record shops.
The Light programme had a daily record review programme at one point where the announcer would give the details of the record the artist, the title, label and Catalogue number thus excluding it from the needle time count. And of course Saturday Club and then Easy beat squeezed more music for young people onto the air waves. Last but not least Ray Ellington would cover American hits on The Goons.
The BBC had a poor record of playing black American pop music. Even when Radio 1 arrived and we had a soul and blue show along with Tony Blackburn, Emperor Rosko reggae music wasn't featured but ska and reggae had been hitting the charts and achieving major sales outside of the chart return shops.
Time for the 45Cat veterans brigade to share some memories.
Keith, the comment from your friend Ruth about The Crows "Gee" seems to settle a puzzlement I've had for years. With so little Light Programme needletime denying sides like Ivory Joe's and The Crows, how could there ever be any justification to press a lot of copies of an unknown artist like that? I find the whole thing baffling. If we check our memories for the Shows in those days that played discs, reduce it to hours and multiply by about 12 discs per hour (allowing for request chatter), I doubt there were more than 400-500 45's spun per week. Or am I misguided there?
I've always wondered who it was at EMI who imported these obscure US discs ..there werent many but they sit there among the Victor Silvester and Eddie Calvert
There was someone on another site who was constanly talking about a book he was writing about EMI..never ever saw it come out but he had odd snippets of info like
"Coincidentally, I was told by my old mate Ruth at EMI archives (before they were all made redundant in May this year), that they had only sold 6 original UK copies of "Gee" on 45 (plum colour /gold lettering British Columbia) and had sent out just 10 promotional copies!!