Hits ’94 – Volume 1 (Telstar / BMG, 1994)

Hits 94 V1

Hits 94 V1 r

The first Hits album for 1994 contains 22 tracks, just like Hits ’93 – Volume 3. As a result a number of tracks are edited which makes for an unsatisfying listening experience.

We start on the bright side with D:Ream’s positivity anthem Things Can Only Get Better. I prefer the unconnected Howard Jones song of the same name. To promote Greatest Hits 1980 – 1994, Aretha Franklin covers Clivilles and Cole’s A Deeper Love. It also appears in Sister Act 2. After a truncated Come Baby Come we get M People’s fantastically slinky take on 80s Motown classic Don’t Look Any Further. The R&B vibe continues with E.Y.C. and their likeable move-buster The Way You Work It. Then it’s the LP mix of Bjork’s love/hate Big Time Sensuality before those subtle Belgians 2 Unlimited bring the noise with the airborne techno of Let The Beat Control Your Body. The funkiness of you.

Haddaway shows his sensitive side on the gorgeous I Miss You. A great pity that it’s cut by 23 seconds. Also trimmed are Shara Nelson’s razor-sharp Uptight and Suede’s sprawling standalone glam epic Stay Together [a further edit of the drastically-reduced 7″ version]. Thankfully Tori Amos’ story of cereal mutilation, Cornflake Girl, is present in its taut 3:54 single mix. The upcoming Now That’s What I Call Music 27 would feature the longer Under The Pink LP take. Back from hell: Meat Loaf reissued Bat Out Of Hell and it climbed to #8 in the UK. The 4:53 radio edit is very welcome. FGTH collectors rejoice: a new Two Tribes! Actually the compilers have decided to fade We Don’t Want To Die about 40 seconds too early in a crude hack-job. Shame none of the 1993 remixes made the CD.

Fatal extraction: Take That’s Babe crowned a most successful year. It knocked Mr Blobby off the #1 spot before the tables were turned for Christmas. The remaining eight tracks are all edited: there’s SWV’s yearning Jill swing of Downtown and Lisa Stansfield’s Little Bit Of Heaven [not enough!]. Next comes Level 42’s storming Forever Now and Bitty McLean’s mournful Here I Stand. Junior Boys Own take Fire Island’s disco juice There But For The Grace Of God and make it massive. Equally hypnotic is Jam and Spoon’s Right In The Night. But love will save the day: last dances for Nilsson’s reissued story of sorrow Without You and Whitney ‘n’ Bobby’s heartfelt Something In Common.

Favourite tracks
M People – Don’t Look Any Further (M-People Master Mix)

Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl

Bjork – Big Time Sensuality

Lest we forget
Take That – Babe (Return Remix)

Missing tracks and other thoughts
The worst thing about this one is definitely the track editing. 12 songs go under the knife. A far, far better thing would have been to cut the numbers to 18 or 19. Such poor decisions were common for the Hits franchise during the second wave. Other candidates:

Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting – All For Love. The three tenors.
Barry Manilow – Could It Be Magic 1993. Disco juice.
The The – That Was The Day. From the Disinfected EP
Cypress Hill – Insane In The Brain. Classic Féile moment later on in the summer.

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21 Responses to Hits ’94 – Volume 1 (Telstar / BMG, 1994)

  1. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 27 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1994) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  2. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 1994 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1994) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  3. Pingback: The Awards 1995 (Columbia, 1995) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Agreed about the editing. some of it so blatant that tracks are totally ruined. Cornflake Girl is hatcheted as well. Also, Telstar have done something bizarre with the eq of the album. It’s very loud and bassy compared with the original tracks.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      The vinyl sounds worse! Serious inner groove distortion – I picked up a copy after writing that review.

      • Andrew Chinnock says:

        I must get a copy! I notice that Telstar include the full 22 tracks on the vinyl release. That’s cramming them on. Hits 93 volume 3 omits 2 tracks on the vinyl version – Maxima and Evolution get the chop. The track listing is in a slightly different order as well.

  5. Martin Davis says:

    Own this on CD and possibly cassette but not one I’ve tended to listen to.

    In terms of Meatloaf when exactly was Bat Out Of Hell re-released in relation to Bat Out Of Hell 2 and when did the rerelease of “Bat Out Of Hell” come out in relation to “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”?

    Interesting to hear that the vinyl suffers from poor sound quality. I know you’ve mentioned that Now Dance 94-Volume 1 also did. Was it common on vinyl releases around this time?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      September 1993 – Bat Out Of Hell II album released
      December 1993 – Bat Out Of Hell single reissued
      February 1994 – Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through single released

      From 1990 onwards, the major labels did their utmost to phase out vinyl. Once CD became the industry standard, artists began recording longer albums. The vinyl releases should have been on two LPs but in an effort to discourage buyers, the labels pressed them on one platter with atrocious sound quality. They also refused to accept returns from record shops which meant that the latter cut down on their ordering. Anything longer than 25 minutes per side and the sound really suffers. Bat Out Of Hell II is 75 minutes – on one LP.

    • Andrew Chinnock says:

      It’s worth considering the length of these albums. Both are close to the 80 minute mark. Even a year or so before this album was released, compilations were more commonly 16-18 tracks long with running times of 70 mins or less. 35 mins each side for vinyl means a reduction of bass and overall volume to allow thinner grooves (well, 1 groove…). Add another 5 minutes and the sound must be thin and diabolical.

      • nlgbbbblth says:

        Hi Andrew, yes – that was a primary reason why I stopped buying compilations on vinyl. The sales of those 90s pressings were pitiful and the sound quality atrocious. I have DJed with “long” albums and they’re a curse to cue up etc.

  6. Any reason I wonder why they didn’t also do more volumes for ’94, they must have intended to with this being Volume 1, but was only followed with “The Ultimate Hits Album” later in the year!

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      It’s weird – both Telstar and BMG were still together so the re-branded name was an odd choice. Albeit that Ultimate Hits is top drawer stuff.

    • Andrew Chinnock says:

      Hi Michael, I have a few theories.

      Agreed that opening with volume 1 implies a move to keep going with the series, though Telstar had created other compilations starting with volume 1 and never followed it up with another.

      After this balls up, I reckon the Hits 94 series was tarnished. Hits 93v1 was their best seller from the year before. Volume 2 did ok. Volume 3 was a cracker but had too many edited tracks. Volume 4 was not the best. Telstar also had their Dance Hits 94 series which sold better than Hits 94v1.

      I remember, as a 16 year old, phoning Telstar to ask if there was going to be a Hits 94 volume 2 sometime that summer. I was told there were no plans.

      Telstar did release another hits album late that summer – 100% Hits. It borrowed heavily from Now 28 and clearly tried to borrow from the successful 100% Dance series. 100% Hits didn’t fare too badly but it wasn’t a roaring success, either. Telstar’s output in 1994 became more erratic and dried up considerably.

      I think Ultimate Hits album came about as BMG had a number of tracks it could use on a compilation. Its catalogue number is Hits 942. Telstar might have instigated its release.

      To sum up, I think Telstar were just more interested in dance compilations and sales suggested that. In 1994 that’s where the market was.

      • nlgbbbblth says:

        Great sum-up Andrew and yes, agree with your conclusions.

        • It is a great sum up almost as good as a blog entry on “100% Hits 1994”, though not part of the Hits series it kind of fits neatly in between “Hits ’94 Volume 1” and “The Ultimate Hits Album” so I’m including it within the Hits series in my personal collection. Wondered if it would be good for the original version of Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer can’t tell any difference from that and the one on so many other compilations, and also features the now rare “Children for Rwanda – Love Can Build a Bridge” that only made #57 I myself got it confused with the Cher, Chrissie Hynde & Neneh Cherry version from 1995. If they had done Hits’ 94 Volumes 2 and 3 it could have been this release, “The Ultimate Hits Album” could have been Hits ’94 Volume 4.

          • Andrew Chinnock says:

            Hi Bridgecountynews, the version of ‘Dreamer’ is the original from 1994, not the re-edited 95 version.

            This would have needed some work to have been Hits 94 vol 2 and 3. Not only does it feature D:Ream from Hits 94v1, there are also 4 tracks on here that were released in 1993. It also contains a few EMI and Polygram tracks, which were rarities on their Hits series in partnership with BMG.

            • Just seems like they wanted to cram in as many big recent hits in as they could, even putting Ace Of Base – All That She Wants on from 1993 just to have a “big” compilation, it is the closest thing we have to Hits ’94 – Vol 2 & 3 though. Just got The Awards 1995 which has D-Ream on as well I think it could actually be the record for the song on the most compilations it is on at least 10!

  7. And a good blast of early Oasis as well!

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