Smash Hits 1990 (Dover, 1990)

Smash Hits 1990

Smash Hits 1990 r

Smash Hits’ third annual round-up compilation is their best to date. A fantastic rush through the year’s hits with some hilarious sleevenotes and top notch sequencing from Ashley Abram for Box Music Limited. The credits nail it – “The pop album of 1990″.

Hammer time. U Can’t Touch This sampled the opening riff from Rick James’ Super Freak and became one the year’s most recognised tracks. Pop rap with a freestyle edge. We stick with Americans for the next number; Snap’s The Power was a UK #1 one created by an army man [Durron] and a basketball player [Jacqueline]. Time for some emotional nudity from Blue Pearl – the summer’s dance sensation Naked In The Rain. Fuel my fire. One for all and all for one: it’s Technotronic and their finest tune – the sweet sound of Rockin’ Over The Beat. The harder to find 7″ version. Old skool joy and ushers in the Boop. Doin’ The Do is positively infectious and her gym instructor was named Jamie.

Next: the quite wonderful dance galloper that is Happening’ All Over Again (Hip House Radio Mix) from Stone Roses fan Lonnie Gordon before MC Skat Cat and Paula Abdul meld together on Opposites Attract (Street Mix). Erasure’s slice of catchy electro Blue Savannah remains smooth and peaceful. Then it’s over to Timmy Mallett who linked up with producer Andrew Lloyd Webber Mallett to form Bombalurina. Their cover of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini [made famous by Brian Hyland in 1960] topped the charts in August. Aw yeah! Also reaching #1 that year was a rap hymn to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Partners In Kryme’s classic Turtle Power.

Time for a Neighbours triple-play: Craig McLachlan’s energetic Mona, Kylie Minogue’s likeable ballad Tears On My Pillow and Jason Donovan’s slushy Rhythm Of The Rain. The Delinquents was the final film shown in The Ritz Cinema. Halo James’ melancholic Could Have Told You So got the feet tapping that spring while Go West’s King Of Wishful Thinking is fondly remembered from Pretty Woman. The first half comes to conclusion with Sonia’s devastatingly epic End Of The World that surpasses any other version of the song. Northern soul fans wailed. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Nothing Compares 2 U was number one on my 18th birthday. Iconic and poignant with a great video. Walking through Paris and followed by Depeche Mode’s monstrous Enjoy The Silence. Bring forth some Madchester elements – somewhat like the indie side of Now That’s What I Call Music 17. Get on the Groovy Train with the The Farm and then twist melons with the Happy Mondays’ Step On – a cool 4:06 edit. Their manifesto? Muscial comedy and laughter. MC Tunes gathered fellow-Mancunians 808 State to provide the backing for his deathless rap on The Only Rhyme That Bites. Meanwhile the single version of This Is How It Feels was remixed by Flood and features a different second verse with “seems they found him under a train” replaced by “left a note for a local girl”. Candy Flip’s dippy cosmic version of Strawberry Fields Forever. They said polished pop is finished.

MC Bindy [Lindy Layton] has made television adverts for spaghetti, toothpaste and fish fingers. She’s here twice – singing for Beats International on Dub Be Good To Me and also covering Janet Kay’s Silly Games. Then there’s some radical beat action with Poison from Bell Biv Devoe [three guys from New Edition] and Monie Love’s taut re-work of The Spinners’ It’s A Shame (My Sister). And it’s back to baggy via The Soup Dragons’ I’m Free [band name inspired by The Clangers] and The Beloved’s trippy, out-of-body Hello. We close with The Chimes and their dance version of U2’s I Still I Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

“So welcome to the team
Oh, have you worked it out yet?
Yeah – the riddle, I mean
What’s the answer?
It’s plain to see – blue is blue and it always will be”

Favourite tracks
Technotronic – Rockin’ Over The Beat

MC Tunes Versus 808 State – The Only Rhyme That Bites

Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels

The Farm – Groovy Train

Lest we forget
Sonia – End Of The World

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6 Responses to Smash Hits 1990 (Dover, 1990)

  1. Pingback: Just Seventeen – Get Kickin’ (Dover, 1990) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  2. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 1990 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1993) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  3. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 1990: The Millennium Series (EMI / Virgin / Universal, 1999) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Hi Paul, hope all is well.

    I’ve just been playing this with my (nearly) 9 year old son. The version of ‘Step On’ by Happy Mondays has been a bit of a mystery to me. I think it’s an edited version of the ‘One Louder Mix’ on the cd single. I noticed something missing – no piano track. All versions I know start with that iconic, famous piano riff, which is heard at various points during the single and full length versions. This riff is completely absent from this version.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Andrew – played it back just now. Hadn’t twigged but yes, very odd. That distinctive riff is missing. As far as I recall, the 7″ had shorter versions of Stuff It In Mix on side A and One Louder Mix on side B – wonder is that it – timed around 10 seconds longer on the Discogs 7″ entry.

  5. Andrew Chinnock says:

    I think that’s very possible. I’ve tried recreating the mix from the extended version of the ‘One Louder Mix’ from the cd single and it is impossible. It can only have been a 7″ version of the mix that was created in the studio. That makes this and Now 17 pretty unique as the only places to get both sides of the 7″ on cd.

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