Friday, 14 September 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - The Compilations - Now Thats What I Call Music 5

My original plan to fill up 2018 with 26 fortnightly posts about random choices from the record collection has come to an end.
(26 x 2 = 52.  How did I manage it in around 40 weeks?)

So ... where next?
Let's go and randomly delve into the compilations - there are a lot of them and are organised alphabetically.  I did try be genre (with the alphabet attached) but I could never find anything.
This strictly alphabetical method does, however, throw up some interesting juxtapositions:

Love Songs Album > Love, Honour & Obey Soundtrack > Mary Poppins > Massive Dance 98 *
(* a compilation of have no recollection of buying (or indeed listening to) and must have "acquired" it from somewhere for some purpose (now lost in the mists of time)).

This Year has seen a (sort of) Now Thats What I Call Music "frenzy" with the release of Now100, and the 35th Anniversary of the series.
First released in 1983, the "compilation of chart hits" was not a new thing - KTel and Ronco had been doing very nicely with their offerings - but the Now compilation was just that bit different.
A collaboration between EMI and Virgin.  And as they owned much of the material, licensing difficulties were pushed to the back burner, and the full weight of major label marketing could be employed.
Yes, there was still some licensing that needed to be sorted - CBS/WEA didn't/wouldn't release their big names (Madonna and Bruce Springsteen have never appeared on a Now album, and Michael Jackson's solitary appearance was with an old track that caught the record company by surprise),and ended up putting out their own rival 'The Hits Album' which initially matched the Now albums, but ultimately, as the world moved towards fewer labels until the point there were only 2 or 3 left in charge of everything, the Now series won the race.
The release schedule was (and still is) 3 per year, appearing at Easter, Summer and Christmas.

Now Thats What I Call Music 5 was the Summer of 1985 offering, and was the first one I actually went to a shop and bought (WHSmith, £5.99).

So whats on it ...

There is a sort of rose-tinted view that 80s Pop was a fine, fine thing, but reading through the track-listing here I think it was wheezing a bit in mid-1985.
Yes, "proper" 1980s pop royalty opens the album with Duran Duran "View To A Kill", and the ever ubiquitous Phil Collins is represented by "One More Night", but there are also of few "you had to be there" moments with Jaki Graham ("Round and Round"), The Conway Brothers ("Turn It Up" - me neither?) and Dead Or Alive's follow-up to the massive selling "You Spin Me Round" - represented here by "In Too Deep" which did not do nearly as well.

Elsewhere the 80s Dollar-seeking Simple Minds give us "Don't You Forget About Me" and Paul Young's "Everytime You Go Away" (which, in my humble opinion, is a brilliant pop/soul song, and one of his best).
And the joy of the novelty song is here too in the shape of The Commentators (aka Rory Bremner) where he moves the location from Vietnam to The Oval for his re-write of Paul Hardcastle's "19"
(a bit of a case of Mike Yarwood-meets-The Barron Knights?).

For this rock-bloke, it is Side 4 that wins out (bar a couple of tracks).

U2 - "The Unforgettable Fire"
Style Council - "Walls Come Tumbling Down"
Katrina & The Waves - "Walking On Sunshine"
Gary Moore And Phil Lynott - "Out In The Fields"
The Damned - "The Shadow Of Love"
Howard Jones - "Life In One Day"
Jimmy Nail - "Love Don't Live Here Anymore"

If I could swap the last to tracks out for Marillion - "Kayleigh" and Fine Young Cannibals - "Johnny Come Home", then that would be a side to savour.

"Out In The Fields" would be the last Top 10 appearance for Phil Lynott before his passing in January 1986, so it seems only right that I choose this track as the "illustrative point" of this post.

Out In The Fields

And as a special bonus treat (!)
N-n-n-nineten Not Out


  1. 1987 is where the 80s went bad. Trust me, I was 15. It was the moment but pop music started to take over my life... And the singles chart filled up with dross. I'll defend 86 or 85 anyday in comparison with 87-on.

    Now albums were always padded out with that though. On the other hand, if you pick one up from the late 90s, the tat-padding is often the most interesting stuff on there.

    1. 1987 was certainly the nadir for me too.
      I even wrote about it: