1991 saw Smash Hits release another summer compilation. Smash Hits Massive! was modeled on 1990’s Smash Hits Rave! with a tagline of “20 groovy chart hits”. The selection includes a decent mix of the year’s hits to date, ranging from rock to pop with a strong dance emphasis. As before, the concept was credited to Phil and John Cokell brothers while Mark Arthurworrey compiled the tunes. Unfortunately in an effort to keep within the 74 minutes duration, a number of tracks are edited.
Chesney Hawkes was one of 1991’s unlikely success stories. He recorded The One and Only, a song written by Nik Kershaw, and topped the UK charts for five weeks during March and April. I thank him for knocking the stinking Stonk off its perch. It was also included in the film Buddy’s Song where Chesney had a starring role along with Roger “Watch your backs” Daltrey. The Whole Of The Moon was originally released in the autumn of 1985 and reached #26. Its parent album, This Is The Sea, was the quintessential Big Sound LP. Fast forward to April 1991 and The Waterboys were promoting their Best Of. The Whole Of The Moon was reissued on the back of this compilation and became a top 3 hit and won an Ivor Novello award in the process.
Games was New Kids on the Block’s first single from their remix album No More Games. It’s a strong departure for their previously clean cut sound and includes cool jazz riffs sung by Jordan Knight and some quality rapping from Donnie Wahlberg. Black Box continued to milk the hits with the crossover house of Strike It Up while De La Soul prove they’re no one-trick ponies with the classic hip hop sound of Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) [3:42 edit]. Work those feet into a state with C&C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat, Xpansions’ hypnotic Move Your Body and the delicious bootleg sound of You Got The Love. Then there’s Soho’s Hippychick complete with Smiths riff. It made #8 in the UK; The Smiths only managed #10 twice [Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now in 1984 and Sheila Take A Bow in 1987]. Snap’s Mega Mix ends the first side, cramming in Ooops Up, The Power, Cult Of Snap and Mary Had A Little Boy into just over four minutes.
There’s a brief indie dance sequence starting with The Farm’s communal hymn All Together Now. It’s followed by the Inspiral Carpets’ Caravan. Creepy sleeve and an addictive dirge. The Beast Inside was a fantastic trip. And Jesus Jones’ buoyant psychedelic bomb International Bright Young Thing. Then a quick switch to more pop pastures with Kylie’s Minogue dreamy and underrated What Do I Have To Do before the rave glasses go back on. Off Shore and I Can’t Take The Power – pounding groove, emotional piano vibes. The Shamen’s reflective groover Hyperreal (Orbit Edit) is similarly affecting – bringing back memories of En-tact and Will Sinnott.
DJ H got Steffy on board for Think About. A true Italo classic, caned in clubs all over the UK and Ireland during 1991. To the right and to the left. Frances Nero had the voice of an angel and won a talent contest in Detroit in 1965 which gave her a year’s recording contract with Motown. Just one 45 emerged – Keep On Loving Me. Then nothing until Ian Levine and Ivy Jo Hunter wrote a song for her. Footsteps Following Me is wonderful, a beautiful snapshot of Northern Soul transported to the early 90s. Slide over Ice Ice Baby for more soul action: Kenny Thomas’ Outstanding is another winner, top drawer funk blanc. Blame it on the bassline.
Postscript: Those edits and early fades of which there are 11 in total. If you want the full horror then seek out the following:
Awesome!! – Soho, Vanilla Ice.
The Best Of Dance ’91 – C&C Music Factory, Xpansions, The Source & Candi Staton, Snap.
Hardcore Dancefloor – De La Soul.
Massive Hits – The Farm, DJ H featuring Stefy.
“Faith, hope and charity
Love is the greatest of the three”.
The Shamen – Hyperreal (Orbit Edit)
Off Shore – I Can’t Take The Power
Kylie Minogue – What Do I Have To Do
Lest we forget
Frances Nero – Footsteps Following Me