Super Willi’s Super Hits (Ariola, 1988)

Super Willi's Super Hits

Super Willi's Super Hits r

The second and final Super Willi compilation was released by Ariola in the autumn of 1988. Subtitled Der Internationalen Top Hits, it’s the usual mix of local smashes and international pop tunes. Eight of them would also be featured on a later Ariola compilation Hits ’88: Die Internationalen Super Hits.

Start: as well as conquering the UK charts, Milli Vanilli’s urbane Girl You Know It’s True also hit pole position in West Germany. It’s followed by Rainhard Fendrich’s easy skank Macho Macho and Hannes Kröger barking Falco impersonator Der Blonde Hans. There’s a welcome appearance for the ghetto rhythms of S-Express’ Superfly Guy. Now for some mystery: Italo Dance Power Vol. 1 contains a megamix of the following:
Jimmy McFoy – Ziezo.
Vanessa – Be My Lady.
G & M – Don’t Let You Down.
The Thieves Orchestra – Soul Dracula.
The Johnson Righeira Foundation – Yes, I Know My Way
Radiorama – Bad Girls.
A glorious concoction sure to ignite the dancefloor.

Franz Benton’s After All is rather nondescript but has some nice jazzy flourishes. I can’t understand why Blue System’s My Bed Is Too Big gets another chance – it already wrecked our heads on Super Willi’s Power Hits. There’s an awkward lurch to Eddy’s Grant Gimme Hope Jo’anna and the tropical rhythms of Los Reyes and the evergreen standard Bamboleo. Things improve marginally with Tullio De Piscopo’s chugging Andamento Lento. Apparently it soundtracked a number of Italian school trips to the Amalfi coast during March 1988. The feelgood vibe continues with Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers: Tomorrow People – where is your past?

Tom Hooker: Italo man. No More Heaven was a plaintive departure for the man behind the Den Harrow mask. A stark realisation. Left all alone in the sky. I remember hearing it in Lahinch during the summer of ’88. Must have been a tourist. Fairground Attraction’s Perfect reached #1 in the UK during May and remains a permanently sunny favourite. Meanwhile an old Jennifer Warnes track from the turn the decade was a minor European hit – the country-tinged When The Feeling Comes Around. Best wine is last: Breathe’s Hands To Heaven. A breakthrough in smooth jazz. Inspiring, soulful and beautiful.

The second disc starts with a promise of better things: The Only Way Is Up. August domination for the house anthem. To Ofra Haza and the mesmering groovy beats of Im Nin’Alu. And Whitney Houston’s shrill but sparkling Love Will Save The Day, a fifth 45 from her second LP. Take it easy with Engelbert’s holiday croon of Alone In The Night and Chris Norman’s lusted-up Wings Of Love. A switch to sports: The Four Tops with Smokey Robinson and the breezy soul of Indestructible which also ended up on the 1988 Summer Olympics Album. Meanwhile Big Troubles, No Troubles by Ellis, Beggs and Howard is catchy funk with a Prince feel and a cracking bassline. The ever-present Push It is listed as the US Remix and still gets asked for at weddings.

“We’ve come too far to give up who we are
So let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars”

Jermaine Stewart keeps the planets spinning with the bouncy Get Lucky. Den Harrow racks up another Italo disco banger with You Have A Way while Eruption’s ’88 update of Ann Peebles’ I Can’t The Stand The Rain is impeccably produced by Frank Farian and sung with passion by Precious Wilson. The cold war makes a re-appearance with sinister samples and fatalistic beats with Sheree’s Ronnie Talk To Russia. In the midst of this disco heat are The Hollies who sound distinctly out of step on the bland Shine Silently. Sandra Cretu: Queen of Pop steers us back to pouting greatness with the urgent Heaven Can Wait. That would have been an ideal closing track; however we’re treated to rather anti-climatic encore with UB40 and Chrissie Hynde’s sludge reggae of Breakfast In Bed. Exeunt.

“In Heaven
Everything is fine
You got your good thing
And I’ve got mine”

Favourite tracks
Breathe – Hands To Heaven

Ellis, Beggs and Howard – Big Bubbles, No Troubles

Den Harrow – You Have A Way

Sandra – Heaven Can Wait

Lest we forget
Various – Italo Dance Power Vol. 1

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