James Masterton's Chart Watch UK

Welcome to the online home of James Masterton, the internet's longest-serving music writer and author of Music Week's official UK chart analysis. Here you can find out more about James' two and a half decade history of chart commentary, read the archives dating back to 1992, and read about his other work too.


Since 1992 I've been writing a weekly column about the UK charts. Dedicated to telling the story behind each hit, putting chart moves and records in their full context, this has been essential reading for music fans since the very earliest days of the internet. Each week I've tried to tell the full story behind this week's UK charts. Who is Number One, and why? What are this week's biggest new entries? And who is this Drake guy anyway?

The site's primary purpose is to house the archives of my past work, a library of columns dating back to October 1992 and culminating in the final pieces from March 2020 when I inherited the mantle from the great Alan Jones as Music Week's official chart analyst.

But here you can also read some of my other writings, from retrospective pieces on old chart countdowns through to memories of favourite songs and other more in-depth looks at issues relating to the British music charts. Updates to these tend to be rather more sporadic than I would sometimes wish, but the latest articles can be found on the feed below, or in a more structured form by clicking on the blog link above.

Latest Blog Posts

  • Shadowing Taylor

    69 years. That's how much chart history we have to play with. That history gives us almost endless statistics, longevity records, productivity records and "greatest ever" records. But with so much data to play with and with the records covering such a long period of the history of popular culture there is also room for debate on certain areas. Such as when a record might not be a record. As is the case with Taylor Swift this week.

  • All-Time Albums Highs

    As a follow-up to the previous piece, some notes on the record sales for albums and when they were achieved, along with some sobering facts about the size of the seasonal market over the past few years.

  • On An All-Time High (Or Low)

    The historic size of the overall singles market. And just what caused record highs and lows in the past. The answers may surprise you.

  • I Know You're Out There Somewhere

    A brief history of the Moody Blues, and the frustrating way they narrowly missed having one final valedictory hit at precisely the time when everyone would have welcomed it.

  • Asking For Another (Sale)

    The story of how a cosmopolitan group of musicians from New York briefly became the sensation of summer 1990 and how their iconic debut single caused a row which led to the brief peeling back of the layers of just how the singles chart was compiled.