Beginning 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 a forthcoming book on the story of these albums due out from Easy On The Eye books – sometime. There is also a page devoted to cover model Susan Shaw who appeared on many of the covers.
Also on the site, two Top Of The Pops models moonlighting on other albums.