16 Chart Hits (1972 - 1975)
The Contour label was based in Mayfair in London, and was run by Musical Rendezvous, who in turn had been set up by Philips and Polydor in June 1971. Philips of course were no strangers to the budget covers field, having been behind the Fontana series “Sounds Like Hits” in the late 1960s (see separate page).
Contour was mainly interested in re-issues of other labels’ albums, mainly those from the Philips stable, although their first anonymous covers album came out as soon as the label was established. It consisted of a review of the 1971 charts, and by its nature was not a compilation; Contour had released no earlier covers albums from which to source tracks.
Shortly thereafter, it commenced the “16 Chart Hits” series, which would go on to number almost two dozen over a four-year span. Part of its success was due to the fact that it squeezed 16 songs onto each LP; the standard for these types of albums was 12. The recordings were made by Beatt International, a concern set up by Syd Dale and Adrian Kerridge.
Contour also issued an annual “best-of”, reviewing the year’s hits. The first three of these had the appeal of a few new tracks thrown in alongside material from the main series. The last, in 1975, did not – and indeed the series had ground to a halt before year-end. Contour continued until the late 1970s whereupon the label perished, only to be bought by Pickwick and re-launched in the early 1980s.