Annually Retentive

Does anyone pay attention to blog categories any more? Well, if you are one of those people then you may possibly have noticed a theme developing here over the past year or so. A collection of posts under the 1988 category have been steadily teasing the work I’ve been doing researching the hits and stories of that year. Now the fruits of those labours have er, ripened so to speak. Because my new book is now available:


Using the same format as my previous e-books for the years of 2012 and 2013, the Top 40 Annual 1988 is a comprehensive guide to the hit singles of that year. Every artist and every record to make the Top 40 charts during the course of the year is documented in what I hope is loving and accurate detail.


The book is, as you can see, available in paperback (priced £15.99 although Amazon do keep discounting it) and there is still a Kindle version as well as E-book editions in all the usual online stores. For full details as where as the links to buy the various editions, head on over to the BOOKS page on this site, or just click on the rotating adverts at the very top of this page.

One question I have been asked though is why I chose 1988 in particular for this first truly historical account. Well as well as being the first year in pop music that I truly lived and breathed from beginning to end and so am familiar first hand with the stories of many of the hits, it seems to me as well that this is essentially the starting point of modern day popular music history. Think about it. You had in this year the first ever home-produced house music hits as British producers added their own twist to what had until now been a distinctly American sound. The year saw the rise of the bedroom DJ, the producers who made their own records on a limited budget and landed themselves huge smashes. The whole concept of producer as performer sprang from here. In artistic terms we of course had the first ever hit singles from Kylie Minogue as the Stock-Aitken-Waterman sound headed towards its commercial peak. Early 90s mainstays such as The Wonder Stuff and Deacon Blue had their breakthrough hits, as did the KLF (at least after a fashion) and thanks to Iron Maiden we saw the first examples of what would one day become the industry’s standard marketing practice – leveraging the power of the dedicated fan base to pop a strong first week sale. Plus William Orbit produced his first hit single, even if it was a comedy record featuring Harry Enfield.

So 1988 was seminal in so many ways. And if you are going to write the definitive history of modern day popular music, it seemed a perfectly natural place to start. Hope you enjoy the book, however you choose to consume it. Be assured there are plenty more volumes to come. Although I’d better start cracking on the 1989 tag.



  1. You’re right. I’ve long since believe that, in terms of culture & music, the 90s started proper in 1988 and spluttered to a stop Autumn 97 – just as ‘the 80s’ were, roughly, 77-87. There was a feeling of revitalised dayglo ‘newness’ once house went mainstream (and with ‘rock’ heading towards more organic production techniques) that, despite everyone celebrating a new decade, make 88-92 feel like a block of cultural progression in much the same way as things were 10 years earlier.
    And to say anything more would give too much away in regards to my long-term projects.

  2. As with your other books, an excellent guide to the music and stories of the year. Reading through the book reminded me of many great songs and bands from my youth (I was 13/14 in 1988). In many ways 1988 was a breakthrough year for many styles of music e.g. House and Hip Hop (though seeds were sown in 1987). I look forward to 1989 and, in particular, 1990, two of my all time favourite years of music

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