Fab 40

The "Fab 40" (i.e. "Fabulous Forty") was a weekly playlist of popular records used by the British "pirate" radio station "Wonderful" Radio London (also known as "Big L") which broadcast off the Essex coast from 1964 to 1967.

Basis of the chart

"Fab" (short for "fabulous") was a very fashionable adjective in the mid-1960s, associated with the Beatles, who were known as the "Fab Four", and much used by such trend-setters as Cathy McGowan, who presented the weekly rock music show Ready Steady Go! on independent television.

Unlike the charts published in the Melody Maker, New Musical Express and other music papers (or, for that matter, used by the BBC or the rival pirate station Radio Caroline [1]), the Fab 40 was not based on sales of records. Thus, although it mostly contained what was current and popular, it was often ahead of movements in the authentic charts and was subject to more dramatic fluctuations. Whereas, in the sales charts of the 1960s, many records would climb in stages and then drop gradually, a record might suddenly emerge near the top of the Fab 40 one week and disappear from it the next. Equally, there was often room for records to scale the higher echelons of the Fab 40 without entering the sales charts at all (for example, the Settlers' Nowhere Man in March 1966 [2]). As a result, a number of records that are well remembered from the mid-1960s were not, in fact, particularly successful in commercial terms.

Other Languages