Now That’s What I Call Music 28 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1994)

Now 28

Now 28 r

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come”

Summer ’94: Wet Wet Wet cover The Troggs’ Love Is All Around. It entered the charts at #4 on 15 May and reached the top a fortnight later. And remained there for 15 weeks, the second longest UK chart reign of all time [beaten only by Bryan Adams and (Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, which was #1 for 16 weeks]. On 11 September Whigfield put the nation out of its misery when Saturday Night reached the summit. Love Is All Around’s success was largely fuelled by its appearance in Four Weddings And A Funeral. As a result one of the main chart bridesmaids were All-4-One whose gentle pop soul of I Swear stayed rooted to #2 for seven weeks. It’s kinda fitting that it follows Marti and Co.

Ace Of Base continued to make hay with a surprisingly good take of Aswad’s Don’t Turn Around. And in some clever positioning the reggae boys are next with their infectious Shine. Back to the silver screen: The Flintstones was the buddy film of ’94 and catapulted the BC52s back into the charts. Another pop gem is the fantastic Crazy For You by Let Loose while D:Ream make it third time lucky for UR The Best Thing: remix makes #4. The original is on Now That’s What I Call Music 25. The Beautiful South carry on up their charts with a smooth rendition of Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’ from Midnight Cowboy.

Ex-sister of Shakespeare, Marcella Detroit delivers an amazing pick-me-up on I Believe while The Pretenders return in style on the gracefully addictive I’ll Stand By You. Stiltskin recorded the grungey Inside for a Levi Strauss and Co. advert known as Creek. Lead singer Ray Wilson would later join Genesis. A monochrome memory from Marlborough Road. As was Blur’s Parklife album; endlessly looped around bongs / Oranjeboom. Girls And Boys is immense, a singalong stormer. M People’s jazzed-up piano pounder Renaissance and Eternal’s quality R&B Just A Step From Heaven are two of 13 tracks that also feature on Now Dance – Summer ’94. I see the latter as a complementary rather than duplicate buy.

Now for a US #1: Toni Braxton’s classic soul groover Another Sad Love Song. It’s followed by China Black’s Searching, the original Longsy D mix. Not as good as the uptempo hit version. The vibe stays mellow on Dawn Penn’s smooth reggae mover You Don’t Love Me (No No No) while Chaka Demus and Pliers fly the flag for good loving on I Wanna Be Your Man. Meanwhile I Say I Say I Say became Erasure’s sixth LP; synth ballad Always’ video features Andy Bell in a Chinese scroll painting-inspired backdrop. Beautiful. The first disc ends with Seal’s portentous and haunting Prayer For The Dying. This bleeds 90s.

“When the cracks appear in the plan
And the rocks turn into sand
Better call my new French girlfriend”

The second disc: club zone. Swamp Thing, The Grid’s big breakthrough. Trance mission next; Two Cowboys, a Euro house project from Italy. You can file under “Better than Rednex”. Rave on with Maxx’s old skool smash Get-A-Way and Reel 2 Real’s lesser known Go On Move. The Prodigy make it seven in a row on the skittering clatter techno of No Good (Start The Dance). And Cappella continue to party hard as U And Me crashes into the top 10. Haddaway’s Rock My Heart and 2 Unlimited’s The Real Thing bring flashbacks of the Cellar Bar sound: Ray Houghton’s winner in The Giants Stadium. Channel the beats on the Sonic Surfers’ Don’t Give It Up; lose it to DJ Miko’s relentless What’s Up. And the Euro anthems continue with Club House’s burning Light My Fire. Carl Fanini in the house.

Sit back and drift: Tony Di Bart chases rainbows on the evocative Real Thing. Take a break from cramming and it drifts out of the radio speaker. Back to reggae with CJ Lewis and Bitty McLean before Salt ‘N’ Pepa join En Vogue on the street-tough Whatta Man. Get some smooth soul as R Kelly gets busy on Your Body’s Callin’ while N’Dea Davenport showcases her stunning vocal on the Brand New Heavies’ Dream On Dreamer. Another reactivation: Juliet Roberts’ floor-filler Caught In The Middle [again, the original is on Now 25]. Don’t forget Gloworm’s techno-gospel cracker Carry Me Home. And now some Comic Relief: Jennifer Saunders and Joanne Lumley team up with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe for the incomparable electric disco of Absolutely Fabulous. Chant as you speak.

“Dull soulless dance music”.

Favourite tracks
Tony Di Bart – The Real Thing

Let Loose – Crazy For You

Marcella Detroit – I Believe

All-4-One – I Swear

Cappella – U And Me

Lest we forget
Absolutely Fabulous – Absolutely Fabulous

Missing tracks and other thoughts
Now 28 was the final volume to be released in a fatbox; 1994 being its last gasp death shuffle. From on normal-sized hinged cases became the default. While there were shelf-saving benefits, the new slimmer sets were far less durable and prone to damage. Like the previous volume, this is another quality compilation with a number of underrated classics that don’t get the credit they deserve. A few more worthy of consideration:

Kate Bush – The Red Shoes. Wow.
Oasis – Supersonic. Starting to build momentum. Or else Shaker Maker.
Deep Forest – Deep Forest. Purely moody.
Pet Shop Boys – Liberation. Worthy of a double appearance.
Symbol – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World. Two Prince tracks appeared on previous Nows so this wouldn’t have been totally impossible.


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24 Responses to Now That’s What I Call Music 28 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1994)

  1. Feel the Quality says:

    Always glad to see another fan of Crazy for You, a cheesy but catchy as hell pop song. I prefer this version to the one with the different intro on Now 1994 (Millennium).
    I remember being surprised at the omission of certain tracks like Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and Baby I Love Your Way as they were everywhere that summer. Then they appeared on Now 29 instead. (Yet another reason why I love 29 so much).

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      The video of Crazy For You nailed it for me. Always a pleasant surprise when hits from earlier in the year turn up on the winter Nows. Volume #29 is brilliant.

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  7. Martin Davis says:

    Was very suprised “Everything Changes” by Take That wasn’t included here. Didn’t it get to No1 the week before “Most Beautiful Girl In The world”?

  8. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Another thing of interest. Several of the tracks are lifted directly from Dance to the Max 2. ‘Sweets For My Sweet’ has a strange start (the end of ‘I Like To Move It’). Others have quite noticeable fades to hide how they were compiled on DTTM2.

  9. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Have you come across a Dino compilation called Rave Generation? I haven’t seen a review of it, but I could easily have missed it. They use several tracks lifted directly from some of their Hardcore albums. Capella’s ‘Take Me Away’ has a weird fade in and rapid fade out due to the way it was compiled on Heavenly Hardcore. It’s a great compilation but not without the odd anomaly. Every time they used Zero B’s ‘Lock Up’, there’s always that annoying end of ‘Rave Generator’ by Toxic Two, courtesy of Cold Sweat.

  10. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Hi Paul, yet another reply on this one, so apologies! Have you come across a Telstar compilation called 100% Hits? 18 of the 40 tracks are featured on here, quite a duplicate list. Many of them were lifted directly from Now 28, including the only time Telstar ever used the unedited version of Swamp Thing. It did contain a few newer tracks from artists featured on Now 28 but also a splattering of tracks from 1993, including the bewildering decision to make One Night In Heaven by M People the 2nd track, presumably on the back of the fantastic Elegantly American EP….

  11. Regarding the use of the original Longsy D mix of China Black’s “Searching” on NOW 28, it was a rather ridiculous idea in the first place. You can find the proper Mykaell S. Riley uptempo mix that was a hit that year on Telstar compilations from that year, like “The Best of Dance 94” and “Smash Hits 94”.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Cheers Stephen, a confusing situation with those mixes.

      • Andrew Chinnock says:

        Just to add a sidenote to the situation – if you listen to the very first percussive notes on Now 28/1994, there’s a big degree of distortion to it. On the same remix on the single, there isn’t.

        Very odd.

    • Andrew Von Chinnock says:

      Stephen, I agree, though the proper version of “Searching” didn’t appear on compilation for a few months after Now 28. It was widely used at the end of the year. I can only put that down to a compiling decision by Ashley Abram.

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