The Top Of The Pops Cover Girls

Top Of The Pops cover girlBeginning in 1968 and running for some 92 volumes through into the eighties, the Top Of The Pops albums formed one of the longest series of record releases in the UK. Issued every few weeks, each new Top Of The Pops album brought together a dozen or so quickly recorded cover versions of the chart hits of the day. Priced to sell, the albums quickly became massive sellers, bought by people who wanted to have the hit records but weren’t so worried about who they were by – understandable in an era when several groups would often rush out versions of the same song.

The albums were transient and would probably have been all but forgotten today except for the sleeves. The Top Of The Pops girls were memorable and set a trend for cover albums which was soon followed by many other budget labels. Sadly the name of the Hallmark designer who knocked together the first LP in the series remains unknown, but the pattern was followed for every subsequent edition. Other labels may have pushed the boundaries of acceptability further, but the Top Of The Pops girls were rarely over-exposed, relying more on a cheeky hitch of a short skirt for their appeal.

Today the albums are kitsch collectables, while the design has been borrowed by everyone from gay clubs to the cover of Q Magazine CDs. This ST33 gallery aims to build up into a full set of sleeves, and trails the forthcoming book on the story of these albums due out (hopefully!) in 2013.

Volumes 1-10Volumes 11-20Volumes 21-30Volumes 31-40Volumes 41-50 Volumes 51-60Volumes 61-70Volumes 71-80Volumes 81-92What if… 1959What if… 2005What If… 1940

Also on the site, two Top Of The Pops models moonlighting on other albums.

7 Responses to The Top Of The Pops Cover Girls

  1. Philip Shaw says:

    The Top Of The Pops albums actually began mid-1968, not 1969, although the first end of year ‘Best Of’ was 1969. You’re right about the girls – none of them went as far as the first Chartbusters girl who was topless. I enjoy the early ’70s volumes from just before the start of Glam upto about 1976. I played Vol. 27 recently and thought it a great album. I wish I could buy an album of recent hits now for less than 75p which is what Vol. 27 would have cost in 1972. Come to think of it, a fiver wouldn’t be too much at todays rates.

  2. Glyn Needham says:

    Hallmark also did a series albums called “shocking rugby songs” and as I seem to recall their album covers were slightly more risque.
    I remember looking in the chemist’s window (they used to sell anything & everything in the early 70s) in the shops at Frecheville (Sheffield) and asking my mum for the pocket money to buy it, only to be yanked away from the window, with a resounding “No, its not for kids” ringing in my ears!

    • simon robinson says:

      I certainly know the Hallmark Rugby LP covers Glyn, and inspired by your comment, I have put a montage of some together on a new post today!

  3. John kidd says:

    I think your website is great!!
    I collected these records starting with volume12 and got totally hooked. In the end after much searching I had a complete set up to volume 50, after which I fell by the wayside.
    I’d always been intrigued over who was behind the cover versions and had listened to them so many times I actually preferred the covers over the originals. I used to think Hell Raiser by “Sweet” (Hallmark version) was an absolute masterpiece!!
    I’m looking forward to the new book coming out. Keep up the good work.

    • simon robinson says:

      Thanks John. The book has got a bit delayed but is now back on track and will we hope be out for Christmas.

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