Now That’s What I Call Love was their first spin-off since 1987’s Now That’s What I Call Music – Smash Hits. It tied in with Valentine’s Day 1994 and I can remember a number of promotional stands in my local Virgin and HMV stores. There are 19 tracks here; 14 are contemporary with five oldies [four from the 1980s and one dating back to 1971].
The first two songs would also appear – again, side by side – on March’s Now That’s What I Call Music 27. The Bee Gees hit the heights on the dramatic ballad For Whom The Bell Tolls while Wendy Moten’s sweet Memphis soul singing on Come In Out Of The Rain is unforgettable. Tina Turner’s I Don’t Wanna Fight, used on her life story soundtrack What’s Love Got To Do With It, is both wistful and firm. Gabrielle’s Dreams needs no intro; a shoe-in for any romantic compilation. A London master blaster for the mid 90s. Next come Eternal and their fresh ‘n’ carefree debut Stay. And Take That’s ever-present Pray.
Roxette’s Almost Unreal is not held in high regard by the band. Written for Hocus Pocus and used in Super Mario Bros, it’s a heavy yet melodic rocker. We go back the 1980s for the next four tracks. Jennifer Rush’s The Power Of Love was originally snapped up on Hits 3 – The Album so the inclusion of that 7″ mix here is great. Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You was equally massive that year. Remembering the stolen moments listening to this on the 3-in-1. George Michael’s A Different Corner remains amazing; a sweeping symphony of regret. Given its company, Phil Collins’ A Groovy Kind Of Love sounds better than it should. Richard Marx’s syrupy Now And Forever brings us back.
Dina Carroll’s So Close is smooth central; the title track from an album that got extensive airplay during 1993. It was also the highest selling debut album by a female singer in UK chart history until 2001. Lisa Stansfield’s So Natural is a perfect fit; a fantastic big time sensual ballad. Then it’s Go West covering The Tracks Of My Tears before the return of Terence Trent D’Arby on Delicate featuring Des’ree. Dig the slowness of Heaven Help, Lenny Kravitz’s celestial soul. And spin out to Wet Wet Wet’s difficult Shed A Tear. We go back to 1971 for the grand finale: Nilsson’s sorrowful cover of Badfinger’s Without You. Harry had just passed away when this album was being compiled. Tired and emotional.
Eternal – Stay
Lisa Stansfield – So Natural
Lest we forget
Jennifer Rush – The Power Of Love