Telstar’s annual Greatest Hits series was bumped up to 40 tracks in 1993. This brought them in line with the Smash Hits franchise which had been cramming in 20 songs per disc since 1991. The design of the front sleeve was also much simpler with large red text on white background. This edition includes seven number ones which is about half of the year’s total. Once again, it’s confined to top 10 hits only which gives it an over-familiar vibe. Nevertheless it’s a blast to listen to if you want a pop and dance fix for 1993.
Disc 1 starts with three #1s: Take That’s spectacular summer anthem Pray, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s booming Boom! Shake The Room and 2 Unlimited’s No Limit. Haddaway’s plaintive What Is Love and Snap’s sparse yet funky Exterminate keep the standard high. In October 1993, Frankie Goes To Hollywood embarked on a reissue / remix programme to promote their Bang! compilation. Relax reached #5 that month and is included here; a welcome appearance given its failure to appear on the Now 10th Anniversary volumes for either 1983 or 1984. The holy dancehall trinity that were first sighted on Now That’s What I Call Music 24 appear in a different sequence now: Shaggy’s gruff Oh Carolina is followed by Shabba Ranks and Chevelle Franklin’s heart-struck Mr Loverman. You’ll find Snow’s Informer later on in the disc.
All I see are beautiful people: Arrested Development’s pure rap poetry on Mr Wendal still packs a punch. It’s followed by Shout’s makeover and The Bluebells’ ever-present Young At Heart. Back to the reggae sound with Bitty McLean’s It Keeps Rainin’ and Inner Circle’s Sweat. There’s a shift to more club grooves on the well-documented The Key, The Secret, How Can I Love You More and the MF jam from Robin S, Show Me Love. Ain’t No Love is pre-Doves Sub Sub; I’m dancing in the warm sunshine with a beer in hand and this class tune thumping out the sunshine vibe. To an uglier scene: House Of Love’s Jump Around will cause fights on the dance floor. All swagger and delivery. CD1 finishes with some killer disco – Sister Sledge’s We Are Family (Sure Is Pure Remix Edit).
CD2 is a fresher listen. But first we need to get the Swedish juggernaut Ace Of Base and All That She Wants out of the way. The Prodigy Experience continued to yield quality singles and Out Of Space is particularly memorable. I included it on a crazy mixtape back in May ’93 along with French Salut! samples, The JAMMs and Renegade Soundwave. Annie Lennox’s Little Bird is classic, a driving track with a great video. 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up and East 17’s ever-fresh Deep come next. Then there’s a delightful indie sequence starting with New Order’s triumphant Regret. Afterwards Suede’s pig-mask glam stomp of Animal Nitrate bleeds into Depeche Mode’s mammoth return I Feel You. Songs Of Faith And Devotion was another huge album for me and my friends in 1993. Plenty of action on the Ard Na Greine turntable in a year that saw a lot of us turn 21.
Cover time: Ugly Kid Joe’s deeply unpleasant Cats In The Cradle is followed by Faith No More’s oddball Easy. After Gabrielle’s wonderful Dreams it’s a move into slick R&B with Right Here, SWV’s thrilling re-working of Human Nature and Jade’s super-confident Don’t Walk Away. Sybil’s storming interpretation of Philly classic The Love I Lost is followed by Lisa Stansfield’s magnificent ballad In All The Right Places. The final furlong is blissfully uptempo: Dannii Minogue’s cheery This Is It, Cappella’s frenetic U Got 2 Know, Usura’s trance induction Open Your Mind and Utah Saints’ powerful Believe In Me. Just like CD1, we end ’79 remix: Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive rebooted by Phil Kelsey.
The Prodigy – Out Of Space
Arrested Development – Mr Wendal
Lisa Stansfield – In All The Right Places
New Order – Regret
Suede – Animal Nitrate
Lest we forget
Jade – Don’t Walk Away
Missing tracks and other thoughts
There’s not much to say here. In the bad metal wars I’d take Green Jelly’s Three Little Pigs ahead of Ugly Kid Joe. And with the benefit of foresight, maybe space could have been made for Mr Blobby. It was just about to hit the shops around the same time as this was coming out. Despite topping the charts, it’s only been comped twice.