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.
‘Suede’s glam stomper’ -yes! I wasn’t a fan of Britpop but I loved Suede… and I thought they weren’t really Britpop at all, but a glam rock band transplanted from 20 years before. I could imagine Bowie singing Animal Nitrate. Superb song, one of the best of the decade.
That’s a great way of putting it – imagining Bowie singing Animal Nitrate makes sense. That first album of theirs is fantastic; the sound of 1973 through a filter.
I agree that Britpop was massively overrated, with the relative exceptions of Suede and Radiohead.
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One thought regarding whether making these compilations top 10 only makes them predictable, I agree totally by the way, I wonder whether to keep any of these albums top 10 only or otherwise was intentional? I have a hunch that the decision was based solely on what tracks they could license and cost.
Both Telstar and Dino were quite fond of repeating tracks on future compilations to the point where I wonder if it worked out cheaper for them to do so. This Greatest Hits album contained 24 tracks from the Hits 93 series. Having compiled a track once, does that give some preference to using it again?
Hi Andrew, as far as I am aware, a lot of licensing agreements last for a period of time – so the labels are able to maximise revenue by including them on future compilations. When I see the incorrect versions on Now’s Forgotten ’80s, I know that these will be used in upcoming Now main series CD reissues e.g Sister Sledge’s Frankie on the imminent Now 5 will be the album version.
That would make sense. While I know you’re not a fan of Energy Rush (do you accept guest reviews lol), Dino did a fine job of creating extra Energy Rush compilations out of stuff they’d already compiled. Global were even more repetitive in their early days. Dance Buzz and Dance Tip 2 contained half of the same tracks.
I found Energy Rush 4 earlier. Loose in a box. Will give a play at weekend. The glut of compilations of the time meant I had to be selective as funds were not unlimited and prices were relatively high…..
4 was probably one of the worst ones, though marked an extraordinary change in compilation style from a year before! If you want any of them, message me on twitter.
Not great so far… cheers Andrew.
HI Paul, I’ve been having another look at this compilation, comparing it with Best of Dance 93, 100% Dance 2 and the Hits series that year. I notice this was released a year after Best of Dance 93.
It shares 22 tracks with Best of Dance 93, probably an unhealthy number. It’s noticeable that this doesn’t suffer from the awful EQ boosting of BoD93.
I appreciate this is anorak stuff! Happy to be a geek!
11 tracks are lifted from 100% Dance 2. Ace of Base, Jazzy Jeff, SWV, Gabrielle, Jade. Sybil, Louchie Lou, Utah Saints, Bitty McLean, Arrested Development and Gloria Gaynor are edits that feature on 100% Dance 2 and feature on GH1993. Tracks, where they are similar on BoD93, are the same, except Bitty McLean.
Despite featuring on 100% Dance 2, Urban Cookie Collective is lifted in edited form from Hits 93v3, as is Inner Circle. However, Best of Dance 93 includes both unedited, along with Bitty McLean.
‘Jump Around’ is featured here for the first time as the full length single edit, unlike the slightly shortened version lifted from Rave 92, which featured on everything else until this.
Cheers Andrew – unusual to lift the edited Urban Cookie Collective tune. Was trying to work out where I had the full Jump Around (used it for a mix tape which resurfaced a few months back) – so thanks for that – will use again!
Telstar used it again on The Greatest Dance Album Ever Made, released in 1997, though I think that was lifted from a Cookie Jar compilation called Jammin. They also used the 3:25 version on a number of other compilations in between.