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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Reg Presley and the people who know the chart position of everything and the value of nothing

I caught the end of a short Reg Presley obit this morning. Its central thrust seemed to be that Wild Thing went to number one in the USA and only got to number two in the UK.

 I hate this kind of thing. Chart positions are statistical happenings which depend on the amount of competition in a particular week and the level of corruption and statistical accuracy prevailing at the time of a record's release. Otherwise they don't prove much.

 It's sometimes interesting to reflect on those acts who had scores of number ones because it reflects consistency and popularity but to attempt to prove a point about whether, say, Abba are better or more successful than Elton John based on totting up the number of top ten records they had is the pursuit of idiots. The people who say these things are the same people who put the words "Oscar-winning" in the first line of an obit of a film person, as if that bauble justified whatever they are about to follow it with.

 Reg Presley traded his narrow range and strange sincerity into a place among the immortals. We all know that. And if we don't the stats aren't going to make any difference.