Now That’s What I Call Music 3 (EMI / Virgin, 1984)

Now 3

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Review
Number 1 magazine went on strike in June 1984. It wasn’t published for seven weeks. Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s second single Two Tribes went straight in at, er, number one, just before the staff downed tools. By the time they returned to work it was still in pole position. During this period Relax had climbed back up the charts and was in second place for three weeks. This was unprecedented stuff. So was the way I was purchasing music. Everything changed in June 1984; it was now not enough to own one version of a release. Over our wall was a big garden with potatoes and strawberries in it. They needed pickers.

Two Tribes was released at the height of the nuclear warfare fears. The Cold War was in full swing. It came out in seven different formats during those two months. I bought all of them.
This is the sound.
Here are the details:

7″ (Cowboys and Indians). The radio-orientated production that dispensed with a section of the song’s middle eight.
7″ (We Don’t Want To Die). A picture disc. More guitar-driven. Has the middle eight.
12″ (Annihilation). Starts with an air-raid siren. Features actor Patrick Allen recreating his narration from the Protect and Survive PIFs. A total deconstruction of the track complete with grim tips on how to dispose of dead bodies that had built up in the fallout shelter.
12″ (Carnage). This followed the standard instrumental – vocal twelve inch blueprint. Halfway through saw a few vocal samples; more Patrick Allen and excerpts from the One February Friday (interview b-side). Chilling and my favourite.
12″ (Hibakusha). This was the hardest to get. 5,000 copies only. Heavier percussion.
12″ War. A cover version of Strong-Whitfield’s War was the main b-side. A remixed version subtitled (Hidden) became the a-side with the Carnage mix on the flip.
Cassette (Keep The Peace). Features elements of all mixes along with previously unused Reagan samples (voiced by Chris Barrie) and interview clips not used elsewhere.

Just like the year before, 1984 was a long hot summer. The third volume of Now That’s What I Call Music was released on 23 July and is the first to feature the classic logo and the pig. As compilations go this is immense stuff and only beaten by its predecessor. It topped the album charts for eight weeks.

Let’s start at the top. Just four songs had reached number one since Now II and three of them are included here – The Reflex, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Two Tribes (We Don’t Want To Die). Missing is Lionel Richie’s Hello but that would appear on the next volume. While Wake Me Up is probably my least favourite Wham! song, The Reflex is a stormer and works really well as an opening track. The single version also has a lot more going on than the Seven And The Ragged Tiger take.

Side 1 passes by very smoothly. Nik Kershaw’s third consecutive hit (keep off the top by Two Tribes), Sister Sledge’s immaculate disco sheen and Blancmange’s enigmatic Don’t Tell Me. Howard Jones’ Pearl In The Shell is a more complex track and I think Hide And Seek would have fitted in a little better. Another silver medallist – Phil Collins – brings the first quarter to a downbeat finale. Also reaching number 2 during that mid-year period was You Take Me Up by the Thompson Twins which is a nice antidote to Wham! on side 4.

Three of my favourite tracks are all on the second side. Two Tribes, the triumphant soul of You’re The Best Thing and rap classic White Lines (43 weeks on the chart!). The Special AKA had already appeared on K-Tel’s Hungry For Hits along with It’s Raining Men and Time After Time. It concludes with two songs that are indelibly associated with the end of primary school – Bob Marley’s plaintive One Love and Bronski Beat’s corking debut Smalltown Boy.

Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do It was everywhere that summer while Gary Glitter’s Dance Me Up now feels oddly creepy when played back today. However it’s the leftfield choices on Now 3 that are particularly inspiring – most notably Propaganda. Dr. Mabuse is an inventive masterpiece that I only really appreciated a couple of years later. Having Madness and David Sylvian close off the fourth side with two languid and “serious” tracks is a masterstroke by Ashley Abram. Elsewhere the second record keeps the pop flag flying with Alison Moyet’s affecting Love Resurrection and Bananarama’s cinematic Robert De Niro’s Waiting.

Favourite tracks
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (We Don’t Want To Die)

Style Council – You’re The Best Thing

Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)

Propaganda – Doctor Mabuse

Lest we forget
David Sylvian – Red Guitar

Missing tracks and other thoughts
A 20 track video selection was also released. Just eight of the songs actually appeared on the double LP. The remaining dozen are a motley bunch ranging from chart failures (Farmers Boys, Loose Ends, Thomas Dolby and Working Week) to genuine contenders like Mighty Wah! with their stirring Come Back and The Blue Nile’s sweeping Tinseltown In The Rain.

I’d also like to have seen the following:
Kool and The Gang – (When You Say You Love Somebody) In The Heart. A worthy follow-up to Joanna.
Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It For The Boy (another #2 hit – eventually ended up on The Hits Album).
Elton John’s Sad Songs (Say So Much). Kept hearing this on the beach during July and August that year.
A Human League track – The Lebanon or Life On Your Own.
Lionel Richie’s Stuck On You. Country twang.
Scritti Politti’s Wood Beez or Absolute. The former is on both the Now 10th Anniversary 1984 and Now Millennium Series 1984.
Spandau Ballet’s Only When You Leave. They had a great 1984 with four brilliant singles pulled from their finest LP Parade. None of these were compiled at the time.

Advertising

Here’s the Music Week advert from June 1984. Thanks to David Hannah for sharing.
Now 3.1 advert

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33 Responses to Now That’s What I Call Music 3 (EMI / Virgin, 1984)

  1. Paul K says:

    If your list is anything to go by, there certainly was an embarrassment of riches left over that could have made this great album even better. Yep, sadly GG is and forever will be on there, but then, the public was none the wiser of his misadventures at the time and afterwards (although I bet one or two insiders knew!).It was a dog of a song then and remains so now…

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  12. antster1983 says:

    NOW 3 has been confirmed for CD release on 19th July 2019. Gary Glitter has been removed from the tracklist for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, so has Bob Marley for unknown reasons.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Is it true the deal is that Gary Glitter gets the royalties for all the other tracks in exchange for not appearing?

      Bob Marley – too difficult / expensive to licence.

    • Martin Davis says:

      Great to see Now 3 getting a CD re-release. I remember attempting a tape to CD transfer of this volume in June 2016 the weekend before the EU Referendum and finding the sound quality on my copy had deteriorated. I ended up paying out for another copy via Discogs and it arrived on the historic morning of June 24th. Transferred it over the following weekend as we were all trying to digest what had happened.

      • nlgbbbblth says:

        Good to see Now 3 but expect it will be far from perfect re correct versions

        • Martin Davis says:

          Obviously I don’t condone what Gary Glitter did but never sure if I agree with attempts to rewrite history by removing artists such as him from re-releases of albums or cutting out their appearances on reruns of shows such as TOTP.

          On the one hand I can see why it’s done but in terms of the TOTP reruns it’s meant that other artists have missed out on a chance to have their work showcased.

  13. nlgbbbblth says:

    The Now 3 CD has not been added to the Discogs release page yet but I have done a comparison with it and my original LP. Here are the differences – some more obvious than others. If anybody notices anything else, please feel free to add in the replies.

    Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Album version used instead of 7″ mix which was on Now 3 LP)
    Sister Sledge – Thinking Of You (Closer in length to the album version and slightly longer than the 7″ mix used on original Now 3)
    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion (Original Now 3 was 3:53 in line with the 7″, this fades early here at 3:44)
    Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Original Now 3 was 4:10 in line with the 7″, this fades early here at 4:04)
    Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (Cowboy & Indians 7″ instead of We Don’t Want To Die 7″ picture disc)
    Womack & Womack – Love Wars (Album version used instead of 7″ edit which was on Now 3 LP – nearly 2 minutes longer here)
    Style Council – You’re The Best Thing (Slightly longer than the 7″ mix used on original Now 3 but only a few seconds – identical length to video version)
    Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love / People Get Ready (Omitted from CD)
    Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy (Now 3 LP used the longer version of 5:02 which was also on the 7″ picture disc; the CD has the shorter 7″ mix 3:55)
    Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time (Album version used instead of 7″ mix which was on Now 3 LP)
    Bananarama – Robert De Niro’s Waiting (Album version used instead of 7″ mix which was on Now 3 LP)
    Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up (Album version used instead of 7″ mix which was on Now 3 LP)
    Gary Glitter – Dance Me Up (Omitted from CD)
    The Art Company – Susanna (Album version which is also on some 7″ copies. However shorter DJ edit 7″ was on Now 3 LP – 46 second difference)
    David Sylvian – Red Guitar (Album version used instead of 7″ mix which was on Now 3 LP. The 7″ mix has never been on CD so another missed opportunity)

  14. nlgbbbblth says:

    Track times
    CD1
    4:24
    3:24
    4:26
    3:44
    4:04
    3:58
    3:27
    3:23
    3:56
    4:27
    4:09
    5:56
    4:27
    3:55

    CD2
    4:18
    4:00
    3:52
    3:24
    3:43
    4:19
    3:45
    3:22
    3:50
    4:26
    3:31
    4:47
    4:00
    5:09

  15. nlgbbbblth says:

    Super Deluxe Edition weekly newsletter

  16. Martin Davis says:

    “Talking Loud and Clear” by OMD also would have worked well either on this volume or on Now 4.

    Didn’t realise that it was their most recent single release at the time Now 3 came out.

    Presumably Locomotion was released slightly too late for Now 2 and on Now 4 they opted to go for the most recent release which was Tesla Girls?

    Has “Loud and Clear” ever been compiled anywhere other than one of my own compilations?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Martin
      Locomotion was too late for Now 2 (unless it would have been used as a “hot tip”).
      For Now 3, Talking Loud And Clear was the ideal track – released early June. It wasn’t included on many compilations – just Dutch and West German ones of the time.
      Now 4 could have equally had the excellent flop Never Turn Away which came out at the start of November but they went for Tesla Girls that peaked at #21.

      Locomotion is on the Now 4 CD and it is the correct 7″ mix (also appeared on the Now 3 LP).
      The version on the Now 3 CD is an early fade.

      • Martin Davis says:

        Once again Paul thanks for an interesting response. I only actually acquired “Junk Culture” for the first time this year. CD and vinyl seemed to be really expensive so initially got a cassette (same Ebay seller who sold me Nite Flite 2) and now have the CD and vinyl.

        Do you have any idea why the CD might be so expensive? Was it one of those albums that was deleted at some point?

        • nlgbbbblth says:

          The Junk Culture CD sold very little on original release but got a reissue in 1988 – around the time of their first Best Of. Copies of that are common enough. There was a deluxe double CD reissue in 2015 – botched with mistakes – that was repressed with only one of them fixed. Both OOP although the first pressing is easier find. The vinyl originally came with a free 7″ that was tricky to find for a while but I am surprised that it would that expensive. The regular LP is very common.

          My favourite single of theirs is Never Turn Away – a flop. The 7″ has never been on CD – hopefully will be rectified on upcoming box.

          • Martin Davis says:

            Hello again Paul

            Once again thanks for an interesting response. I think i have the 1988 reissue.

            I think I paid about £10.00 for a vinyl copy on Ebay without the limited edition single which I got in a separate listing.

            Not too familiar with “Then You Turn Away”. Wasn’t it also on the 1991 album ‘Sugar Tax’?

            Out of interest what mistakes were made on the 2015 reissue?

            • nlgbbbblth says:

              Hi Martin,
              Never Turn Away was the fourth single released from Junk Culture. Reached around #70 in the charts but did make the Irish top 30 (#29) in late 1984. Then You Turn Away is a totally different song.

              Mistakes on Junk Culture deluxe edition are
              Tesla Girls album version now sounds similar to the 7″ edit version, but the repeated “Te-te-te…” before the first chorus are missing.
              Love And Violence is now is an alternate version to the original album version
              On disc 2, All Wrapped Up was supposed to be Wrappup as listed on release. The album track All Wrapped Up which is already on CD1 plays instead.
              Talking Loud And Clear 12″ version is the second part of the original full 12″ version, the one that includes a dub version as a separate intro.

              The replacement disc just addresses the Wrappup error but the other three mistakes were not rectified.

              • Martin Davis says:

                Hello again Paul.

                Once again thanks for a really helpful response.

                Didnt realise “Never Turn Away” and “Then you turn away” were seperate tracks.

                Shame that those errors on the reissue crept in at all and weren’t properly corrected. Goes to show if you’re going to rerelease existing material you need to make sure its done properly.

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  18. nlgbbbblth says:

    Now 3 Dream
    Record 1 Side 1
    01 Duran Duran – The Reflex
    02 Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
    03 Sister Sledge – Thinking Of You
    04 Pointer Sisters – Automatic
    05 Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
    06 Howard Jones – Pearl In The Shell
    07 Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me
    08 Phil Collins – Against All Odds

    Record 1 Side 2
    09 Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
    10 Grandmaster & Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
    11 The Special AKA – Nelson Mandela
    12 Womack & Womack – Love Wars
    13 Style Council – You’re The Best Thing
    14 Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love / People Get Ready
    15 Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

    Record 2 Side 1
    01 Queen – I Want To Break Free
    02 Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
    03 Alison Moyet – Love Resurrection
    04 Human League – The Lebanon
    05 Bananarama – Robert De Niro’s Waiting
    06 Propaganda – Doctor Mabuse
    07 Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
    08 Elton John – Sad Songs (Say So Much)

    Record 2 Side 2
    09 Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
    10 Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up
    11 Spandau Ballet – Only When You Leave
    12 The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
    13 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Talking Loud And Clear
    14 Madness – One Better Day
    15 David Sylvian – Red Guitar

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