A Short History of Dave


Dave McAleer is the Chief Consultant/Contributor of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums and the sole Music Consultant for the Guinness World Records book since 1998.

Prior to that, he spent 25 years in the record business - working in A&R for labels including RCA, Pye Records, DJM, Champagne and was responsible for many chart entries.

He has also co-written such books as The NME Rock'n'Roll Years, The Guinness Who Who of 50s/60s/70s and Soul Music', The NME Who's Who Of Rock, Guinness Rockopedia, The Guinness Encyclopedia Of Popular Music, The Virgin Ultimate Rock Encyclopedia, This Day In Rock, The Virgin Who Who of 50s/60s/70s and Soul Music'.

In addition he has compiled/sequenced/written sleeve notes for over 1500 albums for companies such as Universal, EMI, Sony/BMG and Time Life.

Books include:


  • Now That's What I Call A Decade Of Hits - The 1980s (1989)
  • The Omnibus Book of British & American Hit Singles (1990)
  • Chart Beats (1991)
  • Labatts Top 500 Records (1993)
  • Hit Parade Heroes: British Beat Before The Beatles (1993)
  • The Fab British Rock'n'Roll Invasion of 1964 (1994)
  • Beat Boom (1992)
  • All Music Book of Hit Singles (1994)
  • The Warner Guide to UK & US Hit Albums (1995)
  • The Warner Guide to UK & US Hit Singles (1996)
  • The Encyclopedia of Hits - The 1960s (1996)
  • The Encyclopedia of Hits - The 1950s (1997)
  • The Book of Hit Singles (2001)
  • Hit Singles: Top 20 Charts from 1954 to the Present Day (current edition from 2004)
  • The Music Downloader's Source Book: The Complete A-Z of the World's Best Songs (2005)
  • The Downloader's Bible (2006)

The 7 Ages of Mac


1. Learned to read early by studying the labels of 78rpm records - the family collection contained most of the records on the very first chart (Nov 52).


2. Went to school with David Bowie and Peter Frampton - didn't notice them - but I understand they often drop my name!  Studied record papers from age 10 (kept them all and have possibly the biggest collection in the country). Thanks to impressive collection of hits and rare R&B records was one of the UK's first club DJs, working at a Soho club (where Mickie Most was doorman) in 1962.


3. Started in the music business at the bottom - assistant to the junior post boy at Chappell's the music publisher in 1963 - impressed them so much with my vast knowledge that in just three years was upped to junior post boy.  As hobby, launched soul magazines, 'Soul Survey' and 'Shout' (which ran for over 100 issues) and had regular soul column in 'Billboard' in 1967.


4. Joined Pye Records backroom staff in 1966, and moved on to RCA in 1969.  Finally convinced them to let me join their A&R team and from there moved to Pye's front room staff and in couple of years was one of the A&R department heads. Helped put Wigan on the musical map by launching the first successful Northern Soul label and started Britain's first disco department in 1974.


5. As a mere lad of 29 became MD of 20th Century Fox Records Europe, and first release went to No. 1 (Barry White) - from then on it was all downhill! After running own label and publishing company for 18 months ran out of money and went back to RCA and Pye (where signed up the UK's very first rap hit), and headed A&R team at DJM before setting up more labels of my own and a record promotion company - in total, was partly responsible for several dozen UK hits. During this period, also released the UK's first "Hip Hop Mix', successful sampled single, 12" remix album and let club DJs Paul Oakenfold and Ian Levine into the studio for the first ever time as producers and acquired the nickname Disco Dave (not bad for someone who can't even dance!).


6. Owned up to being a music anorak and started writing books on the subject in 1988. Have written, co-written or made major contributions to more than three dozen to date (see awe inspiring list attached). Finally, got record trivia's most sought after job as Guinness British Hit Singles' & Guinness Book of World Records' sole music consultant/contributor in 1998.


7. New Millennium Mac's days are spent keeping bang up to date with all the UK & US chart entries, and collecting biographical info, music facts and trivia from the last 100 years to feed into ever hungry database. In addition to the Guinness work, over the last few years have programmed the Old Gold, Soul and Country channels for Music Choice's 24 hour a day digital radio set-up, handled a fair bit of radio & TV research (you might even have marveled at my critically ignored role as Sky TV's Professor of Pop on 'Hit Mix') and compiled and written sleeve notes for literally hundreds of back catalogue albums.