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Doctor Teleny, Taping the Top 20 and the Search for a Lost Record 

Back in the early Seventies I was a willing participant in a ubiquitous teenage ritual. Every Sunday afternoon, like countless other pop fans, I’d retreat into my bedroom with the family’s portable transistor (a sturdy Roberts) to record the Top 20. I’d set up my equipment and twiddle the radio dial down from Radio 4 to find Pick of the Pops, on Wonderful Radio 1. My nail-bitten fingers hovered over the record button and I waited while the swinging cymbal theme played out, ready to pounce. The skill was to hit pause at the right moment, and thus excise any talking between the records.
Most things got taped. I drew the line at what I considered to be “not proper music” (country & western, juvenile singers who I’d first seen on TV talent shows and anything involving bagpipes). But otherwise – armed with that week’s charts, hastily scribbled down at school during lunchtime the previous Tuesday – all new entries were dul…

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