The Hits Album 8 was released just one week after Now That’s What I Call Music 12. Like the latter it would soundtrack my summer holiday in Lahinch with its “hot hits of summer ’88”. It starts on a autumnal vibe; A-ha’s brooding masterpiece Stay On These Roads, the title track of their third LP.
“Take these dogs away from me”. Eighth Wonder’s I’m Not Scared was penned by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. It became a pan-European smash of mystery and intrigue. One of the decade’s most atmospheric numbers. The Jackson Five’s I Want You Back got a sparkling update for ’88 courtesy of Phil Harding. This uptempo remix also incorporates elements of ABC. Meanwhile Five Star were on the wane; Another Weekend was a groovy Friday night tune but was their final top 20 hit.
There are four number ones here. After two successive #2s, Bros hit the jackpot with I Owe You Nothing. So do I, netting over £50 on a fruit machine during the same week. The single mix is particularly boisterous but is sadly trimmed by a few seconds here. More about this curious editing policy later on. Bros would go on to have two more #2 hits – Cat Among The Pigeons and Too Much. I never made it as a gambler. Tiffany made it three top 10 smashes in a row with a rather unexpected cover of The Beatles’ I Saw Him Standing There. She’s followed by the huge dance pop sound of Taylor Dayne and the iconic Tell It To My Heart. If it at first you don’t succeed then try again – Desireless’ Voyage Voyage gets a PWL makeover and storms to #5 [the 1987 version stalled at #53].
Soul time. The Pasadenas’ Tribute (Right On) is a stunning debut single with high octane dance vibes. Matt Bianco jazz it up with Don’t Blame It On That Girl while Prince discovery Taja Sevelle gives us a gorgeous ballad in Love Is Contagious. Pebbles and Girlfriend: super R&B banger. Rose Royce’s reissued Car Wash comes next, one of two tracks shared with Now 12. The other being the Theme From S’Express which samples heavily from Rose Royce’s Is It Love You’re After. The groove keeps coming with Whitney Houston’s Love Will Save The Day and Glen Goldsmith’s What You See Is What You Get. And we’re reeled in by the smooth sound of Luther Vandross and I Gave It Up (When I Fell In Love). He’s come a long way since singing backing vocals on Young Americans.
Disc 2 sees a shift away from the dance arena to more traditional rock material. Aztec Camera’s Somewhere In My Heart was their big tune and is impossible to dislike. Equally infectious are Prefab Sprout and The King Of Rock ‘N’ Roll while Eddi Reader used specs appeal to get Fairground Attraction’s Perfect go all the way. Everywhere was the shimmering fourth single from Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night while Cher had her first UK hit since 1974 with the histrionics of I Found Someone. Sade shoots it up [“Feels right / so fine”] with the bittersweet Paradise while the Terence Trent D’Arby rollercoaster continues as his er, signature tune, Sign Your Name reaches #2. Elsewhere The Lovers is another winning 45 from Alexander O’Neal’s career highpoint Hearsay.
My essential Eurythmics albums:
In The Garden,
You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart was the fourth and best single from the latter. Immediately afterwards are two #1s of contrasting quality from S’Express and Aswad before the innocent rhythms of Debbie Gibson’s spring song of joy, Shake Your Love.
Out Of The Blue and Electric Youth: two classic pop LPs from the late 1980s.
Erasure’s underrated Chains Of Love eases the path to the final goth vs indie sequence. Ofra Haza’s Im Nin’ Alu was sampled by Eric B. & Rakim when Coldcut remixed Paid In Full. Now the buzz was all about Ofra as it climbed up the charts. After several Lazy 45s, the Primitives hit paydirt with the chainsaw Blondie vs Ramones pop of Crash. Lucretia My Reflection was the third and best single from the second Sisters of Mercy album, Floodland. Goth beat at its best. Barbed Wire Kisses (B-Sides And More) could be described as the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Hatful Of Hollow. The token new song was Sidewalking which sampled the drumbeat from the Roxanne Shante’s Roxanne’s Revenge on a continuous loop.
“Done in an afternoon, just a riff and a beat and Jim extemporising over it”.
Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
Debbie Gibson – Shake Your Love
Sade – Paradise
Primitives – Crash
Lest we forget
Desireless – Voyage Voyage
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Hits 8 goes well with Now 12. However I am gutted with the number of early fades – again! There are a whopping 19 in total and they seem to have been done so that the running time would be approximately 60 minutes per disc. This is most disappointing as it shows that the compilers were still considering vinyl as the primary method of delivery. The regular single versions of all tracks would have comfortably fitted if the full CD running time of 74 minutes [or 80 minutes – take your pick] was used. Instead of having 33 tunes they should have stuck with 28 or 30. And no cuts. I am also not a fan of the “hot indexing” where songs start almost immediately after the previous one. It’s a bit jarring when on shuffle play.
Anyway the full 7″ mixes can be found on the following compilation CDs:
A-ha – Stay On These Roads. Hits Album 8 (Dutch).
Eighth Wonder – I’m Not Scared. Bravo Sommer Smash Hits: 19 Top Hits!
Michael Jackson with The Jackson Five – I Want You Back ’88. Het Beste Uit De Top 40: De Hits Van Nu.
Five Star – Another Weekend. Smash Hits Party ’88.
Bros – I Owe You Nothing. Larry Ist Rat Out Of Hell: Volume 2.
Tiffany – I Saw Him Standing There. Das Sommer Hits Album.
Matt Bianco – Don’t Blame It On That Girl. Hits 9: Volume 2 (Dutch).
Pebbles – Girlfriend. The History Of Dance Volume 2 (1980 – 1992).
Rose Royce – Car Wash. Now That’s What I Call Music 12.
Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere. Now 10th Anniversary 1988.
Terence Trent D’Arby – Sign Your Name. Now 10th Anniversary 1988.
Alexander O’Neal – The Lovers. Moonlighting.
Eurythmics – You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart. Now 10th Anniversary 1988.
Aswad – Don’t Turn Around. Now 10th Anniversary 1988.
S’Express – Theme From S-Express. Now 10th Anniversary 1988.
Erasure – Chains Of Love. Hitbreaker 4/88.
Ofra Haza – Im Nin’ Alu. Hitbreaker 4/88.
Jesus and Mary Chain – Sidewalking. John Peel: A Tribute
You’ll notice that’s 18 tracks. I still haven’t found the single edit of the Sisters of Mercy’s Lucretia My Reflection on CD anywhere. It’s 4:20; the Hits Album 8 fade is 4:05.
Leaving aside the butchery, the track selection is fairly spot-on. However some of these would have been nice:
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like The Wind. Dirty Dancing. North And South.
Pat and Mick – Let’s All Chant. Good clean fun.
George Michael – One More Try. Epic ballad, mature beyond his years etc.
Prince – Alphabet Street. One of the tightest single edits ever.
Bruce Springsteen – Tougher Than The Rest. Powerful story-telling.
Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader. More dope on plastic.