The second volume of Hits ’93 arrived in the shops on 29 May. It contained 20 tracks, two more than Hits ’93 – Volume 1. Five of these had already been included on the rival compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 24 [Snow, Shabba Ranks featuring Chevelle Franklin, Sub Sub featuring Melanie Williams, Robin S and Shaggy]. The inlay had a detachable questionnaire which, if returned, would double up as an entry form for a competition. The prize: a fantastic CD walkman. Three lucky runners-up would get £50 worth of records, cassettes or CDs from the Telstar collection.
Say that again: 2 Unlimited’s hedonistic Tribal Dance put me under a trance when watching the video on MTV’s Party Zone. The spell of Anita. Whitney’s next; she covered I’m Every Woman on The Bodyguard soundtrack. The Every Woman’s House / Club Mix is a sweaty blast; a respectable update from soul to house. Next up are SWV and the smooth harmonies of So Into You – quality 90s R&B that’s matched by Jade’s upfront Don’t Walk Away. In the middle of this sandwich: Lionrock’s Packet Of Peace, an old skool beauty of kicking beats and dope lyrics. Dedicated to Alistair Cooke and Jocelyn Higgins. The sound of Back To Basics and Francois on Fridays. Leave your mind on the slipmat.
Annie Lennox follows up her appearance on Volume 1 with the AA side of Love Song For A Vampire. Little Bird is a grower; faster than the previous two singles. The music video features several Lennox lookalikes dressed as the many different personas that she has used in her videos [both solo and as part of Eurythmics]. It also featured in the closing show for the 2012 Olympics. Snow and Shaggy come next – Informer and Mr Loverman – dancehall brothers in arms. Time for The Prodigy’s furious Wind It Up (Rewound) and Sub Sub’s legendary Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use). Melanie Williams kills this. One Dove / People Get Ready. And a memorable appearance on The Word? Word.
Under the radar: an uptempo cover version of Get Here [made famous by Oleta Adams] was released by the dance act Q featuring Tracey Ackerman and reached #37 in the UK. It’s followed by Take That’s classy smoocher Why Can’t I Wake Up With You and Sybil’s melodic joy of Whenever I’m Good And Ready. A song for Europe: Sonia’s 1950s rock’n’roll throwback Better The Devil You Know [not a Kylie Minogue cover] which ended up in second place to Niamh Kavanagh’s In Your Eyes [not a Peter Gabriel cover] at Eurovision 1993 which was held at Millstreet, County Cork.
We return to the club sound with Serious Rope’s two-part Happiness. Robin S follows with the euphoric Cellar Bar groover Show Me Love. The prodigal dancehall brother Shaggy slips in afterwards with Oh Carolina. Elsewhere there’s Dr Alban’s gospel garage of Sing Hallelujah! A discothèques anthem with dance and disco sonorities. The fever continues on Barry Manilow’s 1993 remix of his 1978 hit Copacabana (At The Copa). A sad tale: Lola the showgirl still dressed in her 1940s dress losing her mind. There’s a neat twist with the closing song, a real curveball: the beautiful title track of the Lemonheads’ breakthrough fifth LP, It’s A Shame About Ray. A short sharp album from my student days and played in almost every flat during the academic year of 1992-93. Rock on.
“If I make it through today,
I’ll know tomorrow not to put my feelings out on display”.
Annie Lennox – Little Bird
Lionrock – Packet Of Peace
Whitney Houston – I’m Every Woman (Every Woman’s House / Club Mix)
Lest we forget
Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray
Missing tracks and other thoughts
The spring of 1993 saw me spend a lot of time in Fibber Magee’s nightclub. This trio saw a lot of turntable action and would have been ideal inclusions:
Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name.
Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day. There goes the predator.
House Of Pain – Jump Around. Everlasting hip hop with a shamrock flavour.