Released today in 1981: I Want

Stiff BUY128

Stiff BUY128

The New Singles was a pamphlet published weekly in the UK for much of the 1980s, listing newly released 45rpm records. The legend at the beginning of the lists of releases at the foot of every article on If You Were There was inspired by the heading used every week in the main section of this publication.
The launch of The New Records

The launch of The New Records

It was distributed free of charge by many retailers, or on subscription from the publishers, Francis Antony of Truro, Cornwall. This company was founded in 1946 by writer, music critic and jazz enthusiast Leonard Hibbs, who created it specifically to publish his own jazz publications such as Swing Music. He had previously founded and edited the magazine The Gramophone Record, the first issue of which appeared in October 1933. Describing itself as “a monthly review of recorded and broadcast music”, from the outset it contained comprehensive coverage of the latest releases, and from the issue of December 1951 Hibbs decided to include the listings as a separate supplement, included free with the magazine. The New Records, as the supplement was called, was included in ten editions of its parent publication before Francis Antony began to publish it as a standalone, the first issue going on sale on 1 October 1952.
7” singles arrive (October 1952)

7” singles arrive (October 1952)

Hibbs’ editorial for the mid-October 1952 number of The Gramophone Record referred to this development and at the same time welcomed the arrival of 7”, 45rpm singles on to the British recorded music market. Initially, releases of these discs with their new size and playing speed were covered in The New Records, but as this remained a monthly booklet the availability of records in the new, more ephemeral format wasn’t being advertised quickly enough. So, at the end of November 1963 a new weekly listing of 7” singles began: The New Singles had arrived. The pamphlet’s appearance changed very little over its 23+ years of publication. A kind of tri-fold, the first fold opened out to show that week’s releases, and opening the final fold revealed on the reverse of that two lists of the current and previous weeks’ releases combined: one alphabetically by title and the other alphabetically by artist. It was a two-colour print job, the background colour usually alternating cyclically between blue, orange, green and red.
The releases for 9 October 1981

The releases for 9 October 1981

The 1000th edition, October 1983

The 1000th edition, October 1983

Issue No1180, dated 3 April 1987

Issue No1180, dated 3 April 1987


Each edition of the The New Singles was given a Friday date. When it started publication, all bar one of the distribution companies in the UK issued new product on Friday, the exception being Pye whose new releases appeared on Tuesdays until they came into line with the rest of the market in August 1964. The listings were comprehensive and reasonably accurate. But by the 1980s, there were a number of industry changes which rendered The New Singles somewhat redundant. Firstly, the release dates: EMI changed to Mondays for new releases in 1980, so new singles listed were generally not available until after the weekend The New Singles declared they were “on sale from”. When the other major distributors began to follow EMI’s lead, the dates the pamphlet were giving became increasingly unreliable, largely due to complications with the copy deadline for record companies to submit their new releases to the publishers by. The New Singles seemed to have an editorial policy to include all releases, even if the actual issue date had passed, so at least most titles were included at some point. (cf Music Week, which appeared to disregard singles if the issuing record company had missed their copy deadline.) However, the layout of and space available in The New Singles left little room for printing all the multiple formats that singles began to be issued in during the 1980s. 12” singles were usually included, picture discs sometimes were, but most of the other limited edition formats and CD-singles, cassingles etc were not featured. Music Week carried details of all available formats, and showed releases for the “week of…” rather than a specific date.

The New Singles had become a vanity project by the middle of the decade, and its costs were unsustainable. Francis Antony discontinued its publication, along with The New Records and The New Cassettes and Cartridges, by March 1987.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Oct. 9
1981
DEPARTMENT S I Want (Stiff BUY128)
HAIRCUT ONE HUNDRED Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) (Arista CLIP1)
ORANGE JUICE (Edwyn Collins) L.O.V.E – Love (Polydor POSP357)

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