Just like the previous year, The Greatest Hits Of 1986 emerged a few days before Halloween. It includes seven number ones [there were 20 during the year; 16 of these had made the summit by the time the LP was released]. Three of these had already featured on Now That’s What I Call Music 7 [Doctor and The Medics, Chris De Burgh and Billy Ocean] while the Boris Gardiner track would be included on the next Now volume. Then there was Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You which was deposed by Shakin’ Stevens on 28 December 1985. That makes five. So what about the others? The remaining two chart-toppers were from 1969 [I Heard It Through The Grapevine] and 1976 [You To Me Are Everything]. Feel cheated? Curiously Telstar had also released The Chart and The Chart ’86 albums at the beginning of September – both tagged as “a review of the year’s greatest hits”.
This doesn’t start too well; The Lady In Red is bland while The Captain Of Her Heart was always a little sedate for my liking. Things improve with Atlantic Starr’s smooth romantic tale Secret Lovers while Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World is a nice touch [propelled to #2 after a soundalike version appeared on Levis 501 commercial]. Also on this slushy first side are Hits series refugees [Huey Lewis’ The Power Of Love and Fine Young Cannibals’ Suspicious Minds], Lionel Richie’s heartfelt Say You Say Me and the inoffensive I Want To Wake Up With You.
Side 2 is split into three tracks that appeared on Now 7 and four others that hadn’t. Mr Mister’s Broken Wings sensitive rock ballad Broken Wings is particularly welcome but Jim Diamond’s Boon theme Hi Ho Silver is dreadful. The collaboration between Sarah Brightman and Steve Harley – Phantom Of The Opera – is an interesting curio. However it’s the twanging Duane Eddy ghost-riding with The Art of Noise on Peter Gunn that’s the highlight here. I also like the way Stan Ridgway’s eerie Camouflage leads into it.
The second record contains the more dancefloor-friendly material. Five Star’s slickly choreographed System Addict is marvellous; the seventh single from Luxury of Life and it reaches #3 [the sleeve states #2 with a blurb “highest chart positions taken from the official British Record Industry Charts. Compiled by Gallup for the BBC, Music Week and the BPI”]. Phil Fearon’s I Can Prove It and Sinitta’s So Macho are equally groovy while Modern Talking’s sole UK smash Brother Louie is a fondly-remembered track from those teenage discos. 1986 was also the year of The Fox. Touch Me (I Want You Body) is an epic pop throb from the multi-talented Samantha and is one of the key tunes here.
Side 4 starts with Saving All My Love For You before being followed by three more oldies. Marvin Gaye also did a Levis turn while The Real Thing’s You To Me Are Everything is a funky update of a 1976 disco tune. Meanwhile Lulu re-recorded her signature song Shout and found herself back in the top 10. What else? Sophia George’s infectious Girlie Girlie and some shoddy cutting and pasting – the Paul Hardcastle and Whistle tracks in the exact same order as they were on Hits 4. Last men standing are M.C. Miker ‘G’ and Deejay Sven with their hilarious Holiday Rap. Nice one.
Samantha Fox – Touch Me (I Want Your Body)
Sinitta – So Macho
Five Star – System Addict
Art of Noise featuring Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn
Lest we forget
Atlantic Starr – Secret Lovers
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Like the previous volume, this one consists of all top 10 hits. I can see that Telstar’s hands would have been tied when it comes to licensing but two more novelty tracks that I’d like to have seen are:
Cliff Richard and The Young Ones – Living Doll. Rarely included anywhere despite being number one for three weeks while the 12″ mix is crying out for a digital release.
Grange Hill Cast – Just Say No. The cover of the US campaign song with an added rap. Certainly puts Boon and Jim Diamond to shame.
Finally – some merchandise. Instead of a video selection a book is offered which was sponsored by 7Up. “128 pages of colour pictures and information of a year in the pop world”. Anyone got a copy?