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Pretty Average

April 10, 2013

We sometimes refer to a song that we neither like nor hate as being average. But in terms of chart performance, how would one define an average performance on the charts. I decided to look for the song that most closely met the criteria of spending an average number of weeks on the UK singles charts and achieved a highest position closest to the average highest position of all songs achieved.

On the UK singles charts a song spends an average of 6.105 weeks and the average peak position is 35.46. So I looked for songs that spent 6 weeks on the charts peaking at number 35 and ended up with a list of 42 songs. For those really interested, the list is set out below.

This was rather a long list, so I decided to look at which groups had the closest to average overall chart performance. This involved looking at the average number of hits per artist, then seeing which of their chart history most closely resembled the averages discussed above. On average an act has had 2.997 hits on the UK charts, so I worked on 3 hits for this exercise. 2 acts that have had 3 hits came the closest to the average number of weeks and peak position. These were M.F.S.B. (3 hits averaging 6 weeks on the charts and an average peak of 33.33) and The Ritchie Family (3 hits averaging 6.33 weeks on the charts and an average peak of 33.33)


(Ritchie family – more than the average number of kids, but only average chart performance in the UK)

On the South African singles charts (which only ran from 1969 to 1989) the most average acts were the Blue Ridge Rangers and local act Groep Twee which had 2 hits each (average being 1.89) and both averaged a peak position of 8 (average 7.908). At 10.5 weeks average stay on the charts, Groep Twee was closer to the overall average of 10.724 while the Blue Ridge Rangers were not far behind averaging 11 weeks for their two hits.

List of average sings on the UK singles charts (even the mighty U2, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen produced some average hits):

Absolute Reality – Alarm

Pinky Blue – Altered Images

In Your Room – Bangles

Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) – Billy Joel

You’ve Made Me So Very Happy – Blood Sweat & Tears

Living In Sin – Bon Jovi

Married Men – Bonnie Tyler

The River – Bruce Springsteen

She’s Mine – Cameo

Love Of The Loved – Cilla Black

Bama Boogie Woogie – Cleveland Eaton

Never Before – Deep Purple

You’re My Best Friend – Don Williams

My Kind Of Girl – Frank Sinatra With Count Basie

You Found Me – Fray

Taste Of Bitter Love – Gladys Knight And The Pips

Woe Is Me – Helen Shapiro

Charlotte Anne – Julian Cope

There’s Something Wrong In Paradise – Kid Creole And The Coconuts

I’m So Happy/Time – Light Of The World

Mammy Blue – Los Pop Tops

The Sweetest Girl – Madness

Soul Provider – Michael Bolton

Get It While You Can – Olympic Runners

Sir Dancealot – Olympic Runners

All My Trials – Paul Mccartney

Give And Take – Pioneers

Nothin’ But A Good Time – Poison

Something To Believe In – Poison

Rockabilly Guy – Polecats

Radio Heart – Radio Heart Featuring Gary Numan

Take To The Mountains – Richard Barnes

Shipbuilding – Robert Wyatt

Just My Soul Responding – Smokey Robinson

Prodigal Son – Steel Pulse

Peek-A-Boo – Stylistics

By The Way – Tremeloes

Fire – U2

Wear You To The Ball – UB40

Doctor Doctor – UFO

Dare To Dream/Both Sides Now – Viola Wills

Old Siam, Sir – Wings

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