Telstar re-entered the compilation market in November 1985 with their round-up of the year’s greatest hits. They had previously released Chart Attack in 1982. The Greatest Hits Of 1985 features seven number ones [there were 19 during the year; 15 of these had made the summit by the time the LP was released].
We’ll start at the top. Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? chart-topping success spanned both 1984 [last three weeks in December] and 1985 [first two weeks of January] so it doesn’t actually count as part of the year’s group of 19. It also re-entered the chart during December 1985 and made #3. I am sure that the presence of the unique b-side One Year On was the main reason why people emptied their wallets again. Out Now! had already featured Phyllis Nelson’s Move Closer and Paul Hardcastle’s 19 [successive gold medallists during May and June 1985] and the latter’s five weeks at the top were assisted by a multitude of remixes and extended versions. Which is similar to another war song – Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s long-lasting Two Tribes from the previous summer.
There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) from the Eurythmics would also appear on Now 6 but that was a fortnight away so kudos to Telstar for stealing a march on the EMI/Virgin juggernaut. Hits 2 had supplied the Dead Or Alive and Foreigner tracks while Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson’s classy duet I Know Him So Well was quite a coup for this compilation. I previously mentioned the other two charity chart-toppers [We Are The World and You’ll Never Walk Alone] which didn’t get picked up by the compilers while Madonna’s Into The Groove remained absent from Hits 3 who had to settle for Dress You Up. Another duet that missed out was Dancing In The Street from Jagger and Bowie.
The sequencing is quite good; Band Aid is followed by pop perfection from King, Bronski Beat and Nik Kershaw before clearing the dancefloor with Alison Moyet’s colourless That Ole Devil Called Love and Billy Ocean’s sweet [but endearing] Suddenly. There’s a mini soul and disco section on side 2 with Cherish, Move Closer, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and the sharp 7″ of DeBarge’s Rhythm Of The Night [another refugee from Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes along with Clouds Across The Moon and the aforementioned Move Closer]. Opus’ turgid European smash Live Is Life ends the first half.
The appearance of Wham! is most welcome. Everything She Wants is one of their best compositions. Super white boy funk which took on a life of its own after the festive season ended. David Cassidy’s mesmerising Last Kiss had already appeared on Out Now! but shines as a starter course for I Know Him So Well on side 4. The inclusion of Ghostbusters is a mistake – it already appeared on two of 1984’s end of year compilations so doesn’t really warrant a place here. On the other hand any album that includes Steve Arrington’s Feel So Real and shines a light on Strawberry Switchblade’s super Since Yesterday has got to be doing something right.
Paul Hardcastle – 19
Wham! – Everything She Wants
Bronski Beat featuring Marc Almond – I Feel Love
Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson – I Know Him So Well
Lest we forget
David Cassidy – The Last Kiss
Missing tracks and other thoughts
There’s not too much to say here. Telstar appeared to be targeting the Christmas gift market and a more casual music buyer [not necessarily younger]. The lowest chart place is #10 which was Bryan Ferry’s Slave To Love. There’s two tracks that I’d like to have seen.
Phil Collins – Sussudio. Ok it only reached #12 and was dwarfed by Easy Lover which was released six weeks later. However it’s been overlooked on various artists’ albums and is one of the year’s strongest singles.
Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles Kingston – Pie Jesu. A top three hit which has largely been forgotten. They could have easily given Alison Moyet the heave-ho for this one.