“Would I lie to you?
Would I lie to you honey?
Now would I say somethin’ that wasn’t true?
I’m askin’ you sugar would I lie to you?”
Be Yourself Tonight was the Eurythmics fourth LP and the first to spawn a #1 hit single in Australia. Would I Lie To You? typifies the band’s move from a more experimental synth sound towards rockier territories. The extended version was subsequently included on Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes. The 10th Anniversary series reaches what should have been its final destination: 1992. The Charles and Eddie song that became a UK #1 in November is not a Eurythmics cover; instead it’s a gentle slice of popular soul that neatly sets up the two oldies that follow. Sisters are doing it for themselves: Erma (not Aretha) Franklin’s jeans-busting (Take A Little) Piece Of My Heart and The Temptations’ sweet My Girl. The circle is complete for song 4, Annie Lennox’s jealously-wrapped Walking On Broken Glass.
The opening sequence of Now That’s What I Call Music 23 is revisted with Sleeping Satellite and Just Another Day, both debut hits for Tasmin Archer and Jon Secada. The former has an irresistible melody with a surprisingly mature world-weary tone. Secada’s soulful voice makes his track unforgettably heartfelt. The laid back tempo continues with Simply Red’s lushly devotional For Your Babies before slipping into sentimental overload with Curtis Stigers’ overblown I Wonder Why. This is followed by another sequential pairing, this time from Now That’s What I Call Music 21: Wet Wet Wet’s honeyed Goodnight Girl and Shakespears Sister epic eight week chart topper Stay. The big guns continue with a third successive #1: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
Genesis take a sideswipe at jeans commercials with the sardonic I Can’t Dance. Del Amitri’s Always The Last To Know is the most unsuccessful track here [reached #13] but its tortured subject matter make for a classic rock song. Unlike Ugly Kid Joe’s gauché Everything About You and Mr Big’s cloying To Be With You. We take the blues away with Madness’ evergreen cover of It Must Be Love before Crowded House’s likeable singalong Weather With You. Darkness falls with Richard Marx’s extremely creepy Hazard. A compelling narrative and three different videos were made. Have you made up your mind on the killer yet? The last track on CD1 is Freddie Mercury and Montserrat’s Barcelona, reissued as the official Olympics theme. Boxing memories: Michael Carruth won gold in the welterweight final while Wayne McCullough got a bantamweight silver.
“He’s got pink carpet on the sliding door
And super bubbles on the marble floor
Dont need no money ’cause the entry’s free
And Andy James is going to make the whole world smile
CD2 shifts the focus to the club scene. Snap’s powerful Rhythm Is A Dancer breaks out first with Take That’s extremely catchy Could It Be Magic a hot second track. 1992 was the year of Abba, Erasure and Björn Again. Abbaesque is represented by Take A Chance On Me, the leader on Now That’s What I Call Music 22. It’s a smiley vibe with The Shamen’s prankster rave of Ebeneezer Goode and The KLF’s memorable duet with Tammy Wynette, Justified And Ancient. Was (Not Was) had their biggest UK hit with Shake Your Head; it’s the slightly longer Now 23 version that’s here too. Kim Basinger in the house. Meanwhile Jimmy Nail resurfaced with the paranoid sentiments of Ain’t No Doubt. Winner. But the nadir of this edition and the entire series is Billy Ray Cyrus’ wreck Achy Breaky Heart.
Vanessa Paradis relaunched her career with the help of Lenny Kravitz on self-assured Be My Baby. The booklet lists it as Joe Le Taxi. Shanice Nelson teamed up with producer Narada Michael Walden for the sparkling new jack city swing of I Love Your Smile. Purely groovy. And it’s third time lucky for Right Said Fred as Deeply Dippy made #1 in April ’92. Back to the old skool with Arrested Development’s slyly stoned People Everyday and Kriss Kross’ magic beans anthem Jump. And Ce Ce Peniston’s got a love thang going with the textbook R&B of Finally which is followed by the slamming party corker I’m Gonna Get You from Bizarre Inc. and Angie Brown.
The remainder of the disc is like being back in the Cellar bar for Christmas 1992. SL2’s total tune On A Ragga Tip, a #2 hit in May. Also pipped at the final post were 2 Unlimited and the manic sound of Twilight Zone. Late Night Movies, Rathmines. Elsewhere there’s Utah Saints and the grandstanding Kate Bush-sampling Something Good while Dr Alban’s It’s My Life saw the ex-dentist sell records all over Europe. KWS spent £300 on recording a cover of Please Don’t Go. In their bedrooms. It spent five weeks at the top and seemed to close every DJ set that summer. In this case there’s time for just one more: Undercover’s wistful cover of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. Again, there’s another typo as the inlay states and describes it as being Never Let Her Slip Away. Curiouser and curiouser.
“Who needs love like that”.
Shakespears Sister – Stay
Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
Jimmy Nail – Ain’t No Doubt
Annie Lennox – Walking On Broken Glass
Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer
Lest we forget
Del Amitri – Always The Last To Know
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Now That’s What I Call Music 1992 is much more satisfying than the 1991 edition. It’s chock-full with massive and memorable tunes and is impeccably sequenced. It doesn’t quite have the manic pop thrills of Smash Hits ’92 but the distance between the two is very slight. Personally I could do without ever hearing the Billy Ray Cyrus, Curtis Stigers and Mr Big tracks again but recognise that their sales figures justify inclusion. The Jacksons, Michael [Heal The World] and Janet [on duet duty with Luther Vandross] would have been welcome substitutes. Just be thankful they didn’t include Nick Berry’s Heartbeat too.
Just 12 tracks reached #1 during 1992. 10 are here; no sign of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You and Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road. However the latter crossed the ocean on The Awards 1993. The Wedding Present broke records by releasing 12 of them, one each month. Come Play With Me reached #10. Others worthy of consideration were the Manic Street Preachers’ Suicide Is Painless, East 17’s House Of Love and GNR’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. And don’t forget the Mercury Music Prize winners, Primal Scream. Movin’ On Up would have worked as an opener. Another #11 peak came from Cork’s The Frank And Walters with After All. Supported by Radiohead on their UK tour.
A staggering 35 out of 40 tracks were compiled on 1992’s Nows: Now 21 (12), Now 22 (10) and Now 23 (13). And don’t forget Take That’s Could It Be Magic was featured on spring 1993’s Now That’s What I Call Music 24. Other contributors were Smash Hits ’92 [Jump] and Hits ’93 – Volume 3 [It’s My Life]. This means that just two songs are unaccounted for – Walking On Broken Glass, Always The Last To Know. The series should have ended here; 10 years, 10 annual compilations. But the record companies had other ideas. . .
Biggest omission here to me is You by Ten Sharp. Also would have benefitted with Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Incognito (on the Millennium version) and Make it on My Own by Alison Limerick.
Ten Sharp seemed to have more airplay in Europe. It was picked up on the Formel Eins series, the one with the red cover.
The Curtis Stigers song on here is I Wonder Why not You’re All that Matters to me. Although in the booklet I got with my copy, it lists I Wonder Why on the back (and indeed the back of the case) and lists You’re All that matters… on the blurb inside. A rare cock-up there for the Now people.
Although my copy of The Millenium Series-1982 is far worse. The running order does not match the track listing for about half a dozen tracks in the middle of Disc 2. It’s the same tracks ousted, just not in the same order. The 1990 version also has some discrepancies between listing and actual content.
Thanks for the Curtis Stigers note. Duly edited. A total head-wreck and my copy is the same as yours. In my initial notes (written last year) I had it as I Wonder Why then changed it when reading the booklet. The Undercover error is also sloppy. Yes – the 1982 Millennium playback always confused me.
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Interesting that Ce Ce Peniston’s Finally appears on here using the edit released in 1991, not the one that made no.2 in 1992. There’s not much difference, but it is noticeable. The same edit was used on The Best Dance Album In The World…Ever!
Thanks Andrew – well-spotted. The Best Dance Album In The World…Ever! another Ashley Abram effort so yes, identical edits ported over between the compilations.
Late to this, possibly prompted by the Top of the Pops repeats reaching 1992. This was a strong entry in a strong series, but the one area it did fall down was in not including anything from the hard rock or alternative scenes. So in the first half of the year huge hits were scored by Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Sisters of Mercy, Guns n Roses, Def Leppard and ZZ Top but none of them appear here, probably due to licensing problems. Also uncompiled anywhere is Shut Up and Dance’s Raving I’m Raving, for the same reasons it was pulled at the time, and in the year of the Vanessas Ms Paradis is present, but not Ms Williams. Not sure what would have been bumped to make way for all these though, as there isn’t much filler on the Now 10th anniversary series generally. Possibly Queen and George and Elton as they were 1991 songs?
Hi Ben, thanks for your comment.
Good point re the alternative tunes – certainly could have done with Come As You Are and Temple Of Love ’92 instead of Achy Breaky Heart and that Mr Big atrocity.
Ben, I couldn’t agree more. 1992 was one of the most diverse years popular music has ever known in my opinion. My interest is primarily in dance music – there was so much going on that year, so many different styles, that it was impossible to predict where it would go in 1993. Lots of rave tracks were licensed to small record companies, happy to let any compilers use them for income.
1992 seemed to be the year traditional rock faded away. Grunge and more alternative scenes developed. I would have loved to have seen Def Leppard’s ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ compiled at some point.
Nows were more middle of the road. Now 20 was an almost dance free zone at a time when much of the charts was full of dance music. On A Ragga Tip appeared on Now 22 with a note that it was a “Paul McCartney favourite”.
It would have been interesting to see what the Hits series would have done with 1992. I suspect it would have been more interesting.
I am tempted to compile a few Hits 1992 playlists……
Andrew: for all sorts of reasons it’s one of music’s great forgotten years. Without the Hits albums competing with them, the Now compilations did pretty well at getting a good range of the year’s hits, though Mariah, MJ and the returning Bruce Springsteen were absent. All three were Sony signings; would they have made it onto a Hits album? Also from Sony labels were Desree’s Feel So High and the first real hits for the Manic Street Preachers. Michael Bolton too. BMG had Felix’s two hits and TLC, while Sisters and ZZ Top were on Warner labels and had appeared on the Hits series before, with REM’s Drive being the other big Warner release that the Now albums couldn’t get.