Background Information

The Record Mirror disco column began on September 21, 1974.  Its disco chart started out with 10 places, and expanded to 20 on December 7.  James Hamilton took over the column on June 28, 1975.

Unfortunately, the New York Public Library’s collection only starts where Record Mirror combined with Disc magazine to form Record Mirror & Disc on September 6, 1975.  The title would revert to Record Mirror by 1977. Copies of the column and chart have been made up to the end of 1990.

RM’s disco chart data was presented in the following way:

  • 6 Sep 75 – 13 Aug 77: Disco Top 20
  • 20 Aug 77 – 18 Mar 78: Disco Top 50 + “Breakers” (usually 10 positions, sometimes less)
  • 25 Mar 78 – 6 Feb 82: Disco Top 90 + “Breakers” (records simply listed in column rather than ranked; not always printed)
  • 13 Feb 82 – 6 Mar 82: Disco Top 90 + Pop-Oriented Dance Top 75 + “Breakers”
  • 13 Mar 82 – 29 May 82: Disco Top 90 + Pop-Oriented Dance Top 75 + Nightclubbing Top 10 (compiled by Paul Barron, resident DJ at Tiffanys; synthpop and new wave-heavy) + “Breakers”
  • 5 Jun 82 – 31 Jul 82: Disco 45s Top 90 (not sure why they attached the “45s”, as this chart is composed of 12” singles and LPs) + Nightclub Top 65 (similar in content to old Pop-Oriented Dance chart) + “Breakers”
  • 7 Aug 82 – 4 Sep 82: Disco 45s Top 90 + Nightclub Top 65 + “Gay Top 20” (Hi-NRG) + “Breakers”
  • 11 Sep 82 – 13 Nov 82: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 65 + “Boystown Disco Top 20” (Hi-NRG) + “Breakers”
  • 20 Nov 82 – 12 Mar 83: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 40 + “Boystown Disco Top 30” + “Breakers”
  • 19 Mar 83 – 10 Sep 83: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 50 + “Boystown Disco Top 30” + “Breakers”
  • 17 Sep 83 – 19 Nov 83: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 30 + “Boystown Disco Top 30” + “Breakers”
  • 26 Nov 83 – 28 Jan 84: Disco Top 85 + Boystown Disco/Hi-NRG Top 30 + “Breakers”
  • 4 Feb 84 – 25 Feb 84: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 30 + “Hi-NRG Disco Top 30” + “Breakers”
  • 3 Mar 84- 21 Apr 84: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 40 + “Hi-NRG Disco Top 30” + “Breakers”
  • 28 Apr 84 – 21 Sep 84: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 50 (sometimes 60 places) + “Hi-NRG Disco Top 30” (sometimes 35, 40, or even 50 places) + “Breakers”
  • 28 Sep 84 – 30 Mar 85: Disco Top 85 + Nightclub Top 40 (sometimes 50 places) + “Hi-NRG Disco Top 30”
  • 6 Apr 85 – 21 Sep 85: RM Disco Top 85 + Hi-NRG Top 30
  • 28 Sep 85 – 23 Nov 85: Disco Top 100 + Hi-NRG Top 30
  • 30 Nov 85 – 30 May 87: Disco Top 100 + Eurobeat Top 30
  • 6 Jun 87 – 15 Aug 87: Disco Top 100 + Hi-NRG Top 30
  • 22 Aug 87 – 6 Mar 88: Black Dance Top 100 + Pop Dance Top 50 (sometimes 40 or 30 places) + Hi-NRG Top 30 (sometimes 40 or 50 places)
  • 13 Mar 88 – 18 Jun 88: The Club Chart (100 places) + Pop Dance Top 20 + Hi-NRG Top 50
  • 25 Jun 88 – 11 Feb 89: The Club Chart (100 places) + Pop Dance Top 20 + Hi-NRG Top 40
  • 18 Feb 89 – 11 Mar 89: The Club Chart (100 places) + Hi-NRG Top 40
  • 18 Mar 89 – The Club Chart (100 places)

In addition to the transcriptions, comparisons have been logged with Billboard’s coverage of disco/dance music, to give an idea of how the UK and US scenes developed in parallel. Thus you will also find the dates of a track’s first entry in a Billboard chart, and/or first mention in its disco/dance column (originally written by Tom Moulton).

Significant dates:

28 June 1975 – James Hamilton’s first column
31 January 1976 – first mention of beat mixing
14 February 1976 – first review of a 12-inch single (B.C.G. – Sweet Talk)
14 February 1976 – first track to debut in the Top Three of the disco chart (Four Seasons – December 1963)
21 February 1976 – first mention of remixing (Tom Moulton’s Disco-Trek compilation LP)
9 October 1976 – new feature: “Mixing It Up” / “Mix-Master”
16 October 1976 – first mention of commercially available 12-inch singles in the UK (Banzaii – Chinese Kung Fu / Armada Orchestra – For The Love Of Money, both on Contempo)
26 February 1977 – first review of a mixed compilation album (Creole’s Non-Stop Disco Chartbusters)
5 March 1977 – new feature: “Hot Vinyl” (import tips from a panel of guest DJs)
4 February 1978 – the column starts to include regular “Disco News”
29 April 1978 – first mention of the term “BPM” (in a review of the Thank God It’s Friday soundtrack album)
20 May 1978 – first mention of variable speed decks
6 January 1979 – BPM counts are added for all tracks, and beat-counting is explained (“To BPM Or Not To BPM”). A separate review section for imports is added.