Out Now!! 2 (Chrysalis, 1985)

Out Now 2

Out Now 2r

Review
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.

Favourite tracks
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.

What happened next
Thanks to David Hannah for sharing.

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8 Responses to Out Now!! 2 (Chrysalis, 1985)

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  5. Matt Hayes says:

    I would have liked to have seen Out Now!! 3, if nothing else because it would have given Now and Hits perhaps a worthy rival and also because both of the first two albums contain some obscure tracks that can be hard to find on other comps. Assuming a release in the first few months of 1986, some tracks might have included:

    Dire Straits – Walk of Life
    Tears For Fears – I Believe
    Go West – Don’t Look Down
    Bronski Beat – Hit That Perfect Beat
    Thompson Twins – King for a Day
    The Alarm – Spirit of ’76
    Midge Ure – That Certain Smile
    Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe in Love
    The Bible! – Mahalia

    etc.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Agree – a pity it had to stop. But I believe Chrysalis were effectively muscled out of the game by the big two. Nice choices – I would certainly have gone for something like that.

  6. Martin Davis says:

    I have this on both LP and Cassette. Interestingly the running order is slightly different on the cassette with the Huey Lewis and Amazulu tracks swapped to Side One and the Billy Idol and Lloyd Cole tracks swapped to Side Two. Presumably this was done to save on tape space or create two sides of equal length but this is one of the few compilation albums I’m aware of where the running order differs between the vinyl and cassette (save for a few of the earlier Ronco and K Tel compilations).

    Have noticed there are two version of “I Can Dream About you”. The version on Out Now 2 seems to be the one which most commonly appears on compilation albums and from memory its also on Dan Hartman’s accompanying album. There’s also another version on a K Tel compilation called “Drive Time USA” and I think its also on the Now 1985 Millenium Series album. On this version the intro is slightly shorter and the first chorus is only sung once as opposed to twice.

    Do you know if the version on Out Now 2 is meant to be the album version or the single version of the track?

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