Big! was a bi-weekly magazine aimed at teenagers which was first published in March 1990. It was released on alternate weeks to Smash Hits! and was promoted in that magazine and in Just Seventeen. The focus was on film, television and music with the average readership of 15 years old. A tie-in double CD of dance hits was released on The Hit Label [offshoot of Chrysalis] in late 1992 under the watchful eye of the Cokell brothers [John and Phil].
We start with three very big dance hits of 1992: The Shamen’s double-edged Ebeneezer Goode, Snap’s lyrically-perfect Rhythm Is A Dancer and Kriss Kross’ inane but fun Jump. KWS hit the lights that with Please Don’t Go. Another Casey and Finch over features here; the slinky Rock Your Baby. After Right Said Fred’s Don’t Talk Just Kiss [not a Wedding Present cover] there’s Rozalla’s understated colour-drenched Are You Ready To Fly. An evocative and blissful track that makes me misty-eyed now. Another follow-up to a massive chart-topper [Stay] was Shakespear’s Sister dynamic I Don’t Care which is swiftly overtaken by Undercover and John Matthews’ take on Baker Street. File under 90s gold.
The spirit of 1977 as filtered through the rave machine: an inspiring I Feel Love by Messiah. The sleevenotes say that they were robbed at gunpoint in the US. Red Hot + Dance was a benefit for AIDS research and relief; George Michael contributed three tracks including the self-fulfilling Too Funky. 2 Unlimited’s Twilight Zone was their second single in a very successful career. Like Get Ready For This it stalled at #2 and I have a distant memory of The Harp Bar. Then there’s a somewhat incongruous tune from the Manic Street Preachers [their cover of the M*A*S*H theme Suicide Is Painless as recorded for NME’s Ruby Trax] which stalls us in our tracks. Normal service is restored with a 4:00 trip to the floaty zone courtesy of The Orb [an earlier fade than the version on Now 22] and PM Dawn’s dope-on-plastic Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine.
CD2 opens with Take That and their third 45 It Only Takes A Minute. This one reached the top 10 after two relative flops. Orbital’s Chime gets a brutal update on the nasty Mutations EP [Crime Chime] while Don E’s Love Makes The World Go Round is a perky Stevie Wonder throwback.
“Why waste your time / you know you’re gonna be mine“.
Resistance is futile with Bizarre Inc and I’m Gonna Get You. Go back to 1983. Edward Barton wrote It’s A Fine Day. His girlfriend Jane (Lancaster) sung it acappella. Nine years later it’s sampled by Opus III and sung by Kirsty. Amazing. As is the mesmerising Hynoptic St-8 from the men in the cycling masks Altern 8.
New for ’92 – The Brand New Heavies jazzy strut Dream Come True. Spring magic for Alison Limerick and the pleading Make It On My Own. A world of adoration for Sunscreem and Love You More. Summer heat in the park planning more discos. Whoosh! It’s The Prodigy with old skool breaks galore. Everybody In The Place. From The Rocket Club to a word of Prince Charming-like videos – now to Army Of Lovers and their stylish big chorus sound of Crucified. The decadent era where we partied on 89p cans of Steiger. Now for an unknown: Steve Du Berry featuring Born 2 B and the dance floor freestyle Kings Of The Ring. A fizzy finale then; Isotonik’s swirling Different Strokes, all keyboards and a deadly piano just pops in. Feel the rush.
Orbital – Mutations (Crime Chime)
Rozalla – Are You Ready To Fly?
The Orb – Blue Room
Isotonik – Different Strokes
Lest we forget
Army Of Lovers – Crucified