The Legendary Cash Box Magazine Charts
Chart data collected by Randy Price
Select a decade:
Cash Box magazine was a weekly
coin-machine and music-industry publication from July 1942 through November
From the late ’40s through the early ’60s, Cash Box published both Juke Box and Best Sellers singles charts. This site concentrates exclusively on the latter, since they were more extensive and were the forerunners of the Cash Box Top 100.
The best-seller charts of the mid-’40s through early ’50s usually contained 40 positions. Cash Box combined all currently available recordings of a song into one chart position, with artist and label info listed for each version, alphabetized by label, but with no indication of which version(s) were the biggest sellers. With the issue dated October 13, 1951, the chart increased to 50 positions under the banner “The Nation’s Top 50 Best Selling Records.” At this point, the charts still did not specify which versions were the most popular. In the issue dated October 25, 1952, Cash Box began designating the hit version(s) of each song by placing a star next to the artists’ names.
During the summer of 1956, the banner was changed to read “The Cash Box Top 50 Best Selling Tunes on Records.” The chart was expanded to 60 positions the week of April 13, 1957; to 75 positions the week of June 21, 1958; and finally to the Top 100 the week of September 13, 1958. The Cash Box Top 100 continued to be a sales-based chart until the late ’70s, when airplay data was first incorporated.
In the ’40s and early ’50s, the best-seller charts included columns showing the sales per 1000 singles sold for the current and previous weeks for each title on the chart. In 1955, that information was replaced by columns showing each title’s chart positions for the previous two weeks. It wasn’t until 1976 that Cash Box added a weeks-on-the-chart column. The format for the charts posted here is a hybrid of the mid-’60s Cash Box and Billboard charts: columns to the right of the artist’s name show the three previous weeks’ chart positions and the total weeks on the chart.
I am looking for additional chart data (Juke Box and Best Selling Singles) from the following issues of the magazine, which are missing from the Library of Congress collection: 1/7/50, 2/11/50, 4/29/50, 12/22/51, 5/24/52, 6/14/52 and 6/21/52. Please email me if you can help close the gaps.