So let’s go back to Now That’s What I Call Music 3: “Charted at No. 54 on 19th June – sped to No. 36 the following week” was the blurb beside Young At Heart.
Nine years on: “Young At Heart originally reached No. 8 in 1984. . . The use of the track on a VW advert sent it racing to No. 1 in late March ’93. . . Bobby, Ken, David, Lawrence and Russell split up some years ago and are now pursuing different careers”.
The Bluebells were surely the band least likely to. I played their debut LP frequently during the closing months of 1984; I’m Falling and Will She Always Be Waiting really hit the mark. The VW jam always left me a little cold.
At first glance there’s a somewhat stale vibe coming from Now That’s What I Call Music 24. Five of the tracks had already featured on the recently revived Hits ’93 – Volume 1 [Take That, 2 Unlimited, West End featuring Sybil, Annie Lennox and Snap] while three others had previously been included on earlier Now volumes [Bluebells, Hue and Cry, Genesis]. To be fair, Invisible Touch is a live take from The Way We Walk Volume 1 but there’s major disappointment when Labour Of Love turns out to be the original version as opposed to the funky Urban Edit 7″. You’ll be wanting Mega Dance 2 – The Energy Zone for the latter; another Abram compilation from the same EMI, Virgin and Polygram stable.
The Take That rollercoaster continued with Could It Be Magic, peaking at #3. Sub Sub’s Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use) was a hot tip; a beaty number with a fine Melanie Williams vocal. Snap’s Exterminate sets up the killer disco of Sister Sledge’s We Are Family (Sure Is Pure Remix Edit). 1993 was the year for 1979 – 1984 reboots. What follows is a jaw-dropping dancehall triple play that’s gone down in history. Snow’s story of wrongful arrest Informer. Shabba Ranks’ joyous Mr Loverman featuring Chevelle Franklin. “Shabba”. And Shaggy’s loose fit / clown’s pocket groove of Oh Carolina. Meanwhile Deep was East 17’s third hit and remains a defining pop rap tune of the era. The video intercuts clips of the band performing the track in various locations whilst hanging out and playing pool in their local area.
The club tunes are in full swing on the ultra-cool boogie funk of Stereo MCs’ Step It Up and Arrested Development’s swinging hip hop Tennesse (The Mix). “Horseshoes“. The floor-fillers continue as Robin S intones Show Me Love while Lulu makes another comeback with the Brothers In Rhythm in tow on Independence. The Love I Lost sees Sybil tackle Philly soul with aplomb while No Limit pounds the listener into submission. Classic trance time with Cappella and U Got 2 Know. In every club and on every walkman. Suncreem’s throbbing melodies come next – Pressure Us – before Monie Love’s dope Prince-penned Born To B.R.E.E.D. We sign off CD1 with the Kane brothers’ Labour Of Love’s sadly not the “well-acclaimed remix”. Ain’t gonna work for you no more.
By 1993 Duran Duran’s star was fading. Ordinary World changed all that; a soaring epic ballad that screams massive and became their biggest hit since A View To A Kill. It’s followed by the equally sweeping Love Song For A Vampire, another Annie Lennox smash that played over the closing credits of Dracula. There’s a switch to a more understated sound with World Party’s thoughtful and bittersweet Is It Like Today? and KD Lang’s endlessly-caned Constant Craving. And Tasmin Archer’s got the power with the powerfully harrowing In Your Care. Meanwhile PM Dawn’s Looking Through Patient Eyes was the best thing on The Bliss Album, poetry in motion. Speaking of bliss, The Beloved had their biggest hit with the gorgeous and excellent Sweet Harmony. Ex:el.
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra assist Dina Carroll on her sedate ballad This Time. We go live for Simply Red [Lady Godiva’s Operation] and Genesis [Invisible Touch] before the paint-stripping guitar sound of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way. Depeche Mode return with the searing I Feel You while Peter Gabriel Steam was his most successful 45 since Sledgehammer. The final party of five is an odd ride. Three covers in a row: Ugly Kid Joe’s grotesque Cats In The Cradle is followed by Faith No More’s slick Easy and Bryan Ferry’s beguiling I Put A Spell On You. There’s just time for Ultravox’s Vienna [released to promote If I Was – The Very Best Of Midge Ure And Ultravox] before the simple Macca Mecca good vibrations Hope Of Deliverance. Duelling banjos.
“And we’ll never be royals,
It don’t run in our blood”.
East 17 – Deep (Breath Mix)
Duran Duran – Ordinary World (Single Version)
Cappella – U Got 2 Know
The Beloved – Sweet Harmony
Lest we forget
Sister Sledge – We Are Family (Sure Is Pure Remix Edit)
Missing tracks and other thoughts
The first Now for 1993 is just like Now That’s What I Call Music 23 – a curate’s egg. These would have spiced it up.
Freddie Mercury – In My Defence. The hits just keep coming.
808 State and UB40 – One In Ten. An unlikely two sevens clash.
The Frank and Walters – After All. The big time. With Radiohead as support.
Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way. Marlborough Road all-nighter anthem.
Heaven 17 – We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing (1993). The remix trend.
David Bowie – Jump They Say. Maxwell.