The fourth volume of Hits ’93 was released at the end of November. It contained 21 tracks, eight of which featured on its immediate rival Now That’s What I Call Music 26 [Cappella, The Shamen, 2 Unlimited, Culture Beat, Urban Cookie Collective, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Bjork and David Arnold, SWV]. Remixes of a further two songs from the latter were also included here [Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Lisa Stansfield]. And yes, they still had CD walkmans and selection of albums to give away.
Now 26 got Pray [a summer smash] while the Hits team were bang up to date with Take That’s storming version of Dan ‘I Can Dream About You’ Hartman’s Relight My Fire. Lulu in tow. The heat is on with Cappella’s crazy Euro beat of U Got 2 Let The Music. The return of Relax: 10 years on. Thankfully it’s the updated MCMCXCIII: harder and faster. Dawn raids and 8.00am bedtimes – all soundtracked by Elegant Slumming. The taut M People Master Edit of Moving On Up is sheer joy. Keep smiling with The Shamen’s ear-grinning Comin’ On Strong. And then time to subject yourself to Maximum Overdrive and Mr Vain one after the other – just like another compilation I could mention.
Haddaway followed What Is Love with the the thought-provoking Life. It’s a hard one to love. Urban Cookie Collective up the quality with the addictive rush of Feels Like Heaven while Time Frequency’s Real Love is a classic banger of the era. The ever-present Boom! Shake The Room is followed by the interesting Be Boy Mix of Lisa Stansfield’s So Natural. And on Magnet, Espresso Logic: the new LP by Chris Rea. Lead single Julia is upbeat and good-spirited, a tribute to his daughter. Bjork and David Arnold’s Play Dead is next, her most Sugarcube-like solo vocal. Would have worked on Stick Around For Joy.
The sequencing on this compilation would benefit from an Abram intervention. It’s back to the dancefloor with the thudding trance sound of Captain Hollywood Project. More And More. Get in line with The Grid’s relentless Texas Cowboy while it’s over to a disco sound on Lovestation’s glittery Best Of My Love. A popular inclusion: SWV’s supremely lush Right Here (Human Nature Mix). A 60s throwback: Oui 3’s laidback take on Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth. Rappers’ delight. On the last carriage are Right Said Fred and the fading Bumped! One for the road: Bitty McLean’s meaningful Pass It On.
The Grid – Texas Cowboy
Cappella – U Got 2 Let The Music (Brescia Edit)
Chris Rea – Julia
Lest we forget
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (MCMCXCIII)
Missing tracks and other thoughts
A decent selection but too much overlap with the Now release. Some fresh blood:
The Prodigy – One Love. First fruits of The Jilted Generation.
Lemonheads – Into Your Arms. Future wedding song.
The Breeders – Cannonball. The last splash.
Shara Nelson – One Goodbye In Ten. Sweet R&B.
Cypress Hill – When The Shit Goes Down. Féile heroes.
Remember acquiring the cassette of this from my local charity shop in Mid December 2001 (with some of the money left over after buying christmas presents for my family). Got tempted by it as it contained a mixture of tracks I was familiar with from Now 26 and some I’d not previously heard.
Had never previously heard the Chris Rea track but its been a favourite of mine ever since.
Agree, the Chris Rea track is ace. One of his best late period tunes.
Fully agreed about the reworking of Relax. Far edgier and more impressive. Julia is a fantastic track that deserved better. Incredible to think Rea only managed 1 top 10 single in his career. The Be Boy remix of So Natural I think is a big improvement. There wasn’t much from Now 26 that I’d add on to this album. UB40, Eternal and Pet Shop Boys probably.
Texas Cowboys was my highlight track for some time after hearing it on here. They later released Diablo, a sort of cross between this and Swamp Thing, but it fared quite poorly.
Julia has made Paul’s More Forgotten ’90s – coming to Spotify in September.
Hi Paul, I have just noticed that this was the first time Telstar compiled Haddaway’s ‘Life’ and Bitty McLean’s ‘Pass It On’ in unedited form. Both tracks had appeared on more than one Telstar compilation prior to this with an edit.
I think the timing of its release is interesting as well. 2 weeks before, Best of Dance 93 was released, followed by Greatest Hits of 93 a week later. Then comes this, with new stuff from Take That and M People. The strength of those new tracks did little to help the album and it floundered a week later when Now 26 was released.
I’d say people held out for the Now (remember the tracklist was publicised before Hits ’93 V4 came out)
Agreed. Certainly once Now 26 was released, it blew this out of the water, selling well over 100k copies in the first week. I remember paying £16.99 for it in Boots and that was the cheapest I could find, in a day where cds were still left in their cases and there was no shrinkwrap!
I wonder if there was a reason that it shared so many tracks with Now 26 or whether it was just a coincidence? Is there a significance to this being the first of this Hits Series with a Hits catalogue number (934), making me wonder if BMG were controlling the compilation instead of Telstar? It’s also the only Hits album with an EMI/Virgin/Polygram track (Cappella).
Were the discs not behind the counter? 🙂 Good point re the overlap – hadn’t considered the Cappella inclusion before. I think Now including a fair few new / about to be released tracks worked well.