“I don’t have to sell my soul
He’s already in me”.
May 1989 was cram city. Soundtracked by The Stone Roses debut in the mornings and Disintegration through the evenings. The charts were a strictly weekend affair; a welcome release from pressure. The Hits Album 10 sees a return to the sleeve art of the 6 to 8 era; the unnumbered fiasco of Christmas 1988 deemed to be a lesson learned. Studio Gerrard were in the house.
Number #1s: one. And so it begins with Eternal Flame. La Flama Enterna. The slow set. The circular walk around the dancefloor. This is my truth. Another time and place. Donna Summer released the album of her career in 1989; the infectious pop of This Time I Know It’s For Real was the crowning glory. Hats off to Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Kon Kan came all the way from Canada but sounded a little like New Order. I Beg Your Pardon contains samples from Lynn Anderson’s 1971 hit Rose Garden, GQ’s Disco Nights (Rock-Freak) and Silver Convention’s Get Up and Boogie. The synth also plays the condensed riffs from Spagna’s Call Me and the opening bars of The Magnificent Seven theme.
Coldcut’s Ahead Of Our Time is full of guests. Lisa Stansfield was the chosen one on the awesome piano cut-up of People Hold On. Then there’s the Seoul experience, the experienced soul men The Four Tops with the sporting Indestructible. Round and round goes the circle of love. George Merrill [Boy] meets Shannon Rubicam [Girl] and they wait for their star to fall. Originally written for Whitney Houston. She passed. And briefly Boy Meet Girl and that saxophone shone brightly. “Our love is a miracle now”. The London Boys and the euphoric Requiem was equally memorable. A pounding dance anthem with a sad ending – both Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller were killed in a 1996 car crash.
The shortened Fuzzbox gave us Pink Sunshine. Lots of balloons and punk fuzz. RIP Jo Dunne. The compilers chose another slow song to kick start the second side of the vinyl and cassette versions: Simply Red gambling and huffing around If You Don’t Me By Now. Played at every debs [graduation ball] during 1989. The things that dreams are made of. That ushers in the dance sequence which begins with De La Soul. Me, Myself And I was a killer single from 3 Feet High And Rising. Totally genius. The album was on single vinyl lasting over 61 minutes. Sounded crap on a club system. Thank God for 12″ singles. Wait! It’s Robert Howard and Kym Mazelle’s sublime duet ably assisted by Kevin Saunderson.
Detroit to Chicago. Ten City’s That’s The Way Love Is was produced by Marshall Jefferson. The deep house mix is supremely wicked. It’s followed by the dayglo beats of The Funky Worm and the cute heartfelt groove of You + Me = Love. Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel album was a huge success that year; whereas My Prerogative gets the kudos, the title track is superb grown-up R&B. Another massively hot jam comes from Jomanda, an American female vocal trio from New Jersey who were a project of Backroom Productions. Make My Body Rock. Vital just like Vidal. Lets all chant with Pat [Sharp] and Mick [Brown] as I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet burns down the discos from Dublin to Dundee via Humberside. Don’t hang the blessed DJs.
Disc 2 leads off with The Living Years. It’s Mike and The Mechanics at their best; a poignant and salutary tale of regret for the unsaid. While it will seem trite to more aloof folks, the message is clear. Keep in touch and say as much as can while you have the time. A smooch from yesteryear; Can’t Stay Away From You still gets my gut. More affairs of the heart with Luther Vandross’ pleading and bass-heavy Come Back while Alyson Williams catches the break with the funky Sleep Talk. Street walking. The loving continues with Rick Astley’s gorgeous Hold Me In Your Arms, an enduring highlight of the celebrate-the-mocks slow set.
To the land of Oz and 1927. That’s When I Think Of You is a driving rock tune that’s ideal for a road trip. File under well kept secret. The Queen of Soul gets involved in yet another collaboration; this time with Elton John in Through The Storm. Youth and careless times; we drank and danced to Wages Day. Hipsters hated Deacon Blue. They now have an album named The Hipster. Another long-living LP was Appetite For Destruction which was heavily played on the ghettoblaster during the summer of ’87. Strawberries and vandalism down by the reservoir. Sweet Child O’ Mine is still potent rock of ages. And Will To Power make it two for the price of a one hit wonder: Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird combines elements of Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“And this bird will never change”.
Johnny Nash updated his 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now for the youth of 1989. It stalled at #54 in the UK charts. More cynicism: The The’s sardonic and all-knowing The Beat(en) Generation. With the benefit of 25 years that should read know-it-all. Reared on a diet of prejudice and misinformation. Less introspective and arch are Pop Will Eat Itself and the loves me / loves me not sentiment of Wise Up! Sucker. Stourbridge sludge will save all. To Andrew Roachford and his groovy jam Cuddly Toy. The Alpha Papa revival. What would Mr Partridge make of The Beatmasters or Merlin? Who’s In The House (The Hip House Anthem): it’s like that. Finally let’s go to The Manual. Edelweiss borrows from SOS and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. They’re led by Supervixen Maria Mathis. It’s good. Yeah.
Robert Howard and Kym Mazelle – Wait
Donna Summer – This Time I Know It’s For Real
Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
Jomanda – Make My Body Rock
Lest we forget
1927 – That’s When I Think Of You
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Hits 10 is another strong volume with a great mix of classic pop and forgotten gems. However this quartet of beauties should also have been considered:
The Cult – Fire Woman. Goths vs rockers.
Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning. Pair with 1927. Rarely comped.
Debbie Gibson – Electric Youth. The 80s choreography in this is to die for
Stefan Dennis – Don’t It Make You Feel Good. Soap star breaks free.