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Record Mirror was a national tabloid consumer weekly pop music newspaper founded by Isadore Green, featuring news articles, interviews, record charts, record and concert reviews, letters from readers and photographs. The paper became repected by both mainstream pop music fans and serious record collectors. It was often seen as the quirkiest of the four competing pop weeklies of its day: Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Record Mirror and Disc magazine. It closed in April 1991.


Launched a year after the NME in 1953, Record Mirror never attained the circulation of its high profiled rival, but during the 1960s and early 1970s it did achieve a good circulation based on its reputation. The first ever UK album chart was published in Record Mirror in 1956, and during the 1980s it was the only consumer music paper to carry the official UK singles and UK albums charts.


16 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1

During this period the paper was run by Isadore Green, who was a former newspaper sports editor, and encouraged the same combative form of journalism as New Musical Express. Staff writers included Dick Tatham, Peter Jones and later Ian Dove. But Green’s greatest love was with the world of show business and as the 1950s progressed he devoted increasing column inches to show business articles and interviews. Green placed an emphasis on the British Music hall, a tradition which was rapidly dying out at that time. He also published articles and interviews connected with theatre and musical personalities. His publication's interest in gossip from TV, radio, stage and screen at home and abroad was not well received.

1959- 1961

Record and Show Mirror

For almost two months, in the middle of 1959, Record Mirror failed to appear due to a national printing strike. On its return, Green had renamed it Record And Show Mirror with the majority of space being devoted to traditional show business, this became detrimental to the paper. By the end of 1960 the circulation had fallen to 18,000 copies and Decca Records, main shareholder of Record and Show Mirror became uneasy with their investment. Decca had been buying shares for years in order to support Record and Show Mirror, but they did not do so to influence editorial content. Nevertheless their involvement precluded much advertising from their main rival EMI.


New Record Mirror

In March 1961, Decca replaced Green with their own editor, Jimmy Watson, a former Decca group press officer. Watson changed the title to New Record Mirror and streamlinined the paper and eliminated the show business element. Watson oversaw a rapid circulation rise, aided by an editorial team of Peter Jones, Ian Dove and Norman Jopling. he also brought in freelance columnists James Asman, Benny Green and DJ David Gell to implement an innovative chart coverage including Jazz, Country and Pop music. This eventually included the official UK Top 50 singles, Top 30 LPs and Top 10 EPs, as compiled by Record Retailer. The paper also listed the USmarker Top 50 singles, as compiled by Cash Box. The inclusion of cahrts such as the Top 20 five years ago, Top 20 singles and Top R&B, gave a far broader coverage than any other Pop weekly.

The Beat boom

Over the next few years regular features such as Ian Dove’s "Rhythm & Blues Round Up", Peter Jones's "New Faces" and Norman Jopling’s "Fallen Idols and Great Unknowns" combined with New Record Mirror’s specialist music coverage, helped the circulation rise rapidly to nearly 70,000 copies a week.

The Beatles and the Mersey Beat

New Record Mirror became the first national publication to publish an article on the Beatles, and the first to feature many other groups from the Sixties’ UK beat boom era, including the Rolling Stones, The Searchers, The Who, and the The Kinks. Bill Harry, founder and editor of the influential Liverpool music paper Mersey Beat, was brought in to write a column on the Liverpoolmarker scene, and other local columnists reported the burgeoning beat scene in other major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle. New Record Mirror championed black Americanmarker R&B, becoming a valuable reference source for UK R&B fans. The paper also maintained a regular flow of articles on classic Rock and roll.

New printing process

During 1963 Decca Records’ chairman Edward Lewis sold a substantial share of Decca’s interest in Record Mirror to John Junor, editor of the Sunday Express. Junor had been intrigued by his MP friend Woodrow Wyatt’s new enterprise, a four colour printing process in beinbg used at his print works in Banburymarker. Junor subsequently began looking for an association to run a trial for this printing process, prior to printing the Sunday Express in colour. He chose New Record Mirror to run trials on the new colour printing methods.

Sunday Express and colour

Junor temporarily moved in his own Sunday Express production team to 116 Shaftesbury Avenue and the New Record Mirror should become more mainstream. In November 1963, the paper returned to the name Record Mirror, and featured a colour picture of the The Beatles on the the front cover, becoming the first music paper to be printed in full colour. Although the entire first print run of 120,000 sold, the following issue saw the circulation fall to about 60,000. Junor swiftly sacked editor Jimmy Watson and replaced him by promoting Peter Jones.

New editor

Jones knew Record Mirror was in danger of losing its considerable specialist fan base and worked to maintain the paper’s popular newer image. Jones also retained sufficient specialist articles, to satisfy more committed readers. The circulation recovered and Jones hired former NME journalist Richard Green. The paper successfully continued with essentially the same editorial format throughout the Sixties. Following the acquisition in 1962 of NME by the publishers Odhams, Record Mirror was the only pop music newspaper not part of a conglomerate, until 1969, and throughout the 1960s its offices became a haven for those in the pop business.

Record Retailer

During 1969 Record Mirror was acquired by Record Retailer and was incorporated into the larger Record Retailer offices in Carnaby Streetmarker.


Carnaby Street

The acquisition of Record Mirror by Record Retailer, owned by Billboard at that time, also saw Record Mirror change printers, drop full colour pin ups and increase its size to a larger tabloid format. Peter Jones continued as editor, supported by Valerie Mabbs, Rob Partridge, Bill McAllister and broadcast specialist Rodney Collins. Rodney Collins' links with Pirate radio gave Record Mirror a healthy continental circulation and a Dutch supplement was frequently included. Terry Chappell resumed as production editor and Bob Houston supervised the change in layout format. Group editorial manager Mike Hennessey also contributed many outstanding articles including the first Beatles "who wrote what" interview with John Lennon. The Record Mirror photographic studio became independent, remaining under the control of Dezo Hoffmann who continued to supply photographs to the paper.


1977 Greater London House

By 1977 Record Retailer had become Music Week and Record Mirror was included in a sale by Billboard to the Morgan Grampian group. Both offices moved to 40 Long Acre in Covent Garden. Morgan Grampion then moved to Greater London Housemarker, North Londonmarker in 1981.


Rave and Acid music

In 1982, in an effort to boost sales the paper changed to a Smash Hits styled glossy magazine. During the next nine years the paper became an imitation of Smash Hits working to gain credibility, as the magazine of record for the emerging Rave and Acid music scenes. .

1991 and Closure

Commercial pressures eventually brought the paper to a final closure in April 1991, when the final cover featured the Alternative rock band Transvision Vamp.

Music Week supplement

Record Mirror was continued as a four page supplement in Music Week, driven by the chart section. In later years the supplement concentrated solely on dance music. These dance charts were later incorporated into Music Week.

Associated features

Chart coverage

  • Vintage Chart
  • USA Billboard Singles
  • USA Billboard Albums
  • USA Billboard Black Singles
  • Music Video
  • UK Top 100 Singles
  • UK Top 100 Albums (from 1989 Top 75 Albums and Compilations)
  • Twelve Inch Top 20
  • Compact Disc Top 20
  • This Week's Chart and Chart File - chart facts by Alan Jones
  • Reggae (dropped in 1987)

DJ Directory

Also known as BPM in earlier editions and edited by James Hamilton
  • Beats and Pieces - dance gossip
  • Hot Vinyl - Track listings of new records
  • Remixes
  • Pop Dance Chart
  • Hi-NRG Chart
  • The Club Chart (previously known as the Disco chart)


  • News - including release info and tours.
  • Index - New bands and competitions
  • Dance pages - with Cool Cuts Top 20 chart
  • Reviews and new acts plus chart rundown for indie singles and album
  • 33 - Album reviews
  • 45 - Singles reviews
  • Alan Jones' Chartfile

Trivia associated with Record Mirror

  • Johnny Dee wrote star spotting gossip pages, which also featured a number of comedy articles
  • Lip - gossip with Nancy Culp or Lisa Tilson
  • Phil's World Of Wigs - Each week a picture of Phil Collins appeared with new novelty haircuts. the art work was created by art director Ian Middleton, in response to reader's suggestions.
  • The Stone Roses New Line Up - Each week a new photo of a gurning celeb would be added to The Stone Roses 1989 line up, for example Harry Enfield as Loadsamoney
  • Spot The Imposter - photoquiz with a misplaced face in the crowd
  • B's Cheeseboard - Soul 2 Soul star Jazzie B reviewed various types of cheese
  • Sonia's Best Buys - value for money purchases apparently made by late 80's singer Sonia
  • Star Scene - pop stars answering questions about items in the news
  • Pete's Poems - a weekly poem by record producer Pete Waterman, as edited by Neil Wilson
  • Tanita and Guy's Psychic Joke Hut - jokes told by The House Of Love singer Guy Chadwick and Tanita Tikaram
  • The Natural Blonde column by Paula Yates
  • In 1984, when British tabloid newspapers started running bingo competitions, Record Mirror became the first music paper to experiment with something similar.
  • In later years the magazine became well known for its idiosyncratic sense of visual humour. The iconic pipe smoking character "Mr Acid Head" was later picked up by a rave based record label and used as sleeve art.

Cartoon features

Employees in 1960s


  • Graeme Andrews
  • Derek Boltwood
  • Roy Burden
  • Terry Chappell
  • Lon Goddard
  • David Griffiths
  • Tony Hall
  • Rodney Collins
  • Valerie Mabbs
  • Barry May
  • Alan Stinton

Photographic department

  • Dezo Hoffmann
  • Bill Williams
  • Eileen Mallory
  • Alan Messer
  • Feri Lukas
  • David Magnus
  • Keith Hammett


  1. Simon Blumenfeld - Columnist, author, playwright, theatre critic, editor and former light entertainment editor of The Stage 06 May 2005 The Stage accessed 10 September 2008

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