Out Now!! 2 was released approximately in mid-October which was five months after the first volume. This staggered form of releases during 1985 i.e. Hits 2 – Now Dance – Out Now! – Now 5 – Out Now!! 2 – Greatest Hits of 1985 – Hits 3 – Now 6 means that the year’s chart hits are pretty well anthologised and preserved for posterity. It would never be as comprehensive again.
1985 was the year when the CD format began to build momentum. I still didn’t own a player but a couple of friends took delivery of identical Philips CD650 machines that June. In both cases their first purchase was Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits. This was one of the earliest digital [DDD] recordings as the majority of recordings were still made with analogue equipment. Brothers In Arms became the first album to sell one million copies on CD and to outsell its LP version. A quote from a Rykodisc employee back then: “In 1985 we were fighting to get our CDs manufactured because the entire worldwide manufacturing capacity was overwhelmed by demand for a single rock title – Brothers In Arms.”
With that in mind it was fitting that Out Now!! 2 started with Money For Nothing. The taut single edit is great with the repeated riff a seminal part of rock history. Unforgettable video too. Also digging the rock is Billy Idol who gets two entries here – White Wedding and the reissued Rebel Yell [which had previously bombed in 1984]. Midge Ure’s If I Was just hit number one as the album was going to press while Don’t Stop The Dance, Bryan Ferry’s smooth follow-up to Slave To Love is a wonderful slice of winebar romantic percussion. The remainder of the first quarter is taken up with Amii Stewart’s lively disco-funk Knock On Wood, Dan Hartman’s sleeper I Cam Dream About You and Lloyd Cole’s Brand New Friend from his underrated second LP Easy Pieces.
Nik Kershaw and the Thompson Twins are two artists that managed to have every 1984 and 1985 single of theirs compiled on albums such as these. The former’s Don Quixote was performed on Live Aid and remains an interesting curio although somewhat flat in delivery. Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream and its doomy smack attack vibe is great though and probably their commercial swansong. Amazulu’s Excitable and Say I’m Your Number One are just infectious feelgood tracks from what was a largely sunshine-free summer. 1985 is also the best year for albums [There were at least 50 or 60 decent LPs released in those 12 months] of which the Style Council’s Our Favourite Shop is possibly the greatest. “No peace for the wicked, only war for the poor.” sings Weller in The Lodgers. Finally the big screen is represented by Huey Lewis and his enduring The Power Of Love which featured in Back To The Future.
Like the first Out Now! we now veer into more esoteric and less well-remembered territory. Bananarama’s Do Not Disturb is one of their few flat efforts while 7th Heaven’s Hot Fun takes ages to get your groove. However persistence pays off with The Adventures new wave classic Two Rivers, Animotion’s intensely weird Obsession and Colonel Abrams’ booming Trapped. Remember him in military uniform on Top Of The Pops? I’ve still got a soft spot for Oh Sheila [Ready For The World] despite it having no connection to Prince or Sheila E. – something I only found out years later.
Goodbye Girl, Go West’s third single didn’t hit the heights of the first soul [it reached #25] but remains a powerful piece of white soul that Wet Wet Wet would blueprint a couple of years later. The Damned and The Alarm then provide some decent moments of steely goth and serious rock action. Then it’s into the twilight zone with some anaemic soul and flavoured funk from the late Bobby Womack [I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much – #64] and Collage [Romeo Where’s Juliet – #46] before the compilers put a rabbit out the hat. Adele Bertei and the Scritti-flavoured / Madonna-styled poptastic When It’s Over. This one didn’t even make the UK top 75. We end with the overwrought Shadows Of The Night from Pat Benatar [#50]. There was no third volume but Out Now’s place in compilation history was assured.
The Adventures – Two Rivers
Lloyd Cole and The Commotions – Brand New Friend
Billy Idol – White Wedding
Amazulu – Excitable
Lest we forget
Adele Bertei – When It’s Over
Missing tracks and other thoughts
The following tunes would also have been welcome:
D-Train – You’re The One For Me. Super funky.
Billy Ocean – Suddenly. Syrup that’s sweet.
Glenn Frey – Smuggler’s Blues. Although the Miami Vice soundtrack was released around the same time so a tough pull.
Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease. Quality non-album single.
Opus – Live Is Life. Massive European hit.
Trans X – Living On Video (85 Remix). Would have slotted in nicely after Money For Nothing.
Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free. From the very likeable Dream Of The Blue Turtles which is better than at least two Police LPs. Or failing that, the less successful Love Is The Seventh Wave.
King – Alone With You. Na Na Na Na Na Na Na. Perfect pop.