Smash Hits Party ’89 (Dover, 1989)

Smash Hits Party 89

Smash Hits Party 89 r

“I was lying on the floor with the music in my head
The Todd Terry Project was the last thing that I heard
I had searched for the answer; it was not much to find
Then Kylie said to Jason ‘It’s all in the mind'”

Supremely wry but a commercial disaster. The KLF wore their Petshop Boys hearts on their sleeves when they recorded Kylie Said To Jason. #6 in the indie chart was as good as it got. Meanwhile the former Scott and Charlene’s musical union Especially For You hit #1 in January 1989. The end of year Smash Hits Party album was back. Like its predecessor the bulk of the tracks would also feature on rival compilations but Ashley Abram’s choices and sequencing were impeccable once again. Plus there’s a few exclusives thrown in. Along with some fascinating facts. . . she likes chocolate and hates snails; he’s a fan of garlic bread but detests brussel sprouts. Together forever.

The slimmed-down Gloria Estefan’s Can’t Stay Away From You keeps the romance alive. Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative is a taut single edit; staccato jack swing while Buffalo Stance bursts with vitality – “Who’s looking good today? Che’s looking good in every way”. The revolution will not be televised. Yazz’s Stand Up For Your Love Rights rocked the house in late ’88 along with Erasure’s catchy Stop! We learn that Roland Gift starred in Scandal; She Drives Me Crazy was everywhere in ’89 while Two Men A Drum Machine And A Trumpet had no more hits. No justice. Bros had appeared on Smash Hits Party ’88 with When Will I Be Famous. Drop The Boy [#2], I Owe You Nothing [#1] and I Quit [#4] consolidated their push. Cat Among The Pigeons stayed in the charts during December 1988 and January 1989. It’s still magical and in the video there’s a Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds poster above Craig’s bed. Tender prey.

Sonia was 18 and hailed from Liverpool. She worked on a turkey farm and appeared in Bread before auditioning for Pete Waterman live on the radio. Her debut 45 You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You knocked Soul II Soul off their perch in July before making way for Jive Bunny two weeks later. It’s ace – real ex-girlfriend stalker pop. The Hit Factory strikes again. Time for “the rubberiest men in pop” [Edem and Dennis from The London Boys]. Requiem is a disco extravaganza with a fantastic hook. The Twelve Commandments Of Dance is well worth re-appraising. The funk revival continued with Big Fun and SAW re-shaping Blame It On The Boogie into a slick groover while Damian’s cover of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Time Warp eventually hit the heights in September.

Help makes it three in a row for the PWL stable. I’ll never be able to spell Lananeeneenoonoo without assistance. I was mad about Press Gang at the time. Dramedy with a difference. “There’s plenty of stuff going on that kills you and you don’t get warned at all. So sticking your head in a crocodile you were told about is not calculated to get my sympathy” (Lynda Day).
We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It lost most of the name and the multi-coloured hair before releasing the poptastic Pink Sunshine. Tucked in at the end of disc 1 is Paula Abdul [unknown at the start of the year, massive by Halloween] and Straight Up. She went from choreographing videos for other people to becoming a pop star with the slickest moves. We break with another Billboard #1 – the funky Baby Don’t Forget My Number from Milli Vanilli. True to you.

The now regular dance side makes an appearance at the start of disc 2 / side 3 of the vinyl. The Funki Drads from Kanudiggis have come to give pleasure to earthlings. Back To Life. Next is Adeva with the spook haircut and a degree in psychology. Warning joined Respect and I Thank You in an unholy badass trinity. Kevin Saunderson aka The Boogye Man and Paris “Useless hair” Grey spawn the memorable house of Good Life. Scorn not its simplicity. It’s wonderful. The Now That’s What I Call Music 14 deja-vu continues with the stoned funk of S’Xpress and Hey Music Lover plus Living In A Box’s bizarro Blow The House Down. Hip: De La Soul base Say No Go on an old Hall and Oates tune I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do). We are loved Three Feet High And Rising [13/12 in Hot Press]. Hop: Grandpa’s Party which was Monie Love’s tribute to Afrika Bambaataa. Supreme.

Watching The Wildlife sometime in April 1987. Holly next sighted on the Love Train. Widescreen pop with a blast. Andrew Roachford wanted to be a chiropodist but Terence Trent D’Arby raved about him and Cuddly Toy got legs and soared. And what of Wendy James? She wasn’t a fan of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. She did like royal jelly and ginseng and Baby I Don’t Care was huge. It’s curious to note that Transvision Vamp are followed by Deacon Blue and Wages Day. Odd because a neighbour lent me both the Velveteen and When The World Knows Your Name LPs on the same day.

“A candy-coloured clown they call the sandman,
Tiptoes to my room every night”.

The Big O’s ghost haunted 1989; You Got It or indeed anything from Mystery Girl should have featured in Twin Peaks. Handle with care. Hue and Cry’s Looking For Linda is great; chords, bassline, melody and DX7 piano. Now he’d just find her on Facebook. Finally we end on a bittersweet note: it’s The Beautiful South. Song For Whoever is a dig at pop stars who casually namedrop ladies’ names in their songs purely with the aim of making money. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was pop in 1989.

“Deep so deep, the number one I hope to reap”.

Favourite tracks
London Boys – Requiem (Hamburg Edit)

Holly Johnson – Love Train

Sonia – You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You

Hue and Cry – Looking For Linda

Lest we forget
Bros – Cat Among The Pigeons

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9 Responses to Smash Hits Party ’89 (Dover, 1989)

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  7. Martin Davis says:

    Seem to recall getting the cassette of this at a car boot sale during the Easter 2003 bank holiday weekend and like with Smash Hits Party 88 a good number of the tracks I was hearing for the first time.

    Especially For You will forever more remind me of Neighbours ending in July 2022. Took all my friends by surprise by going to the pub whilst the last episode was on and at some point during the evening I put “Especially For You” on the pub jukebox which got some people singing along! Of course now Neighbours is returning this year.

    Do you know anything about the mix of “Baby don’t forget my number” thats on here as there is another version which seems to be more common?

    On the whole not a bad album but I would have liked to have seen:

    Kon Kan: I beg your pardon
    Roy Orbison:You got it
    Marc Almond and Gene Pitney: Something’s gotten hold of my heart
    Erasure: Stop
    P.W.E.I: Wise up sucker
    Neneh Cherry: Manchild
    Double Trouble and Rebel MC: Just keep rockin
    Beatmasters: Who’s in the house
    Eldelwiess: Bring me edelwiess.

    For the record these are the highlights of the 1989 Now and Hits albums for me.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      1989 was a tough year to condense down to 30 songs but Smash Hits does a good job. Telstar’s Greatest Hits also covers a couple of others on your list.

      Baby Don’t Forget My Number – as far as I remember – is the album version here (about 10 seconds longer than the more common single mix)

      • Martin Davis says:

        Many thanks for providing me with this information. I agree with your assessment of 1989.

        I didn’t know that the version of the Milli Vanilli track here was the album version. Admittedly I don’t remember it being on the 2×2 album but I may be wrong.

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