Like its predecessors, Hits Album 5, Hits Album 6 and Hits Album 7, the eighth volume in the Dutch Hits series contained 16 tracks. Four of these had already featured on the UK series variant The Hits Album 8 [A-ha, S’Express, Terence Trent D’Arby, Fleetwood Mac]. As I’ve said, the latter contained 14 early fades so it’s good to get the full 7″ versions of Stay On These Roads, Sign Your Name, Theme From S-Express and Everywhere now. Meanwhile Robbie Robertson would find himself washed-up on The Hits Album 9 – one of the most underrated compilations of the period.
The sequencing on this volume is excellent. We begin with A-ha’s atmospheric Stay On The Roads; a track I used to play on my walkman as I came home from badminton in the dark nights of 1988. An eerie soundtrack as I stood in the shadow of a 15th century castle. Robbie Roberston’s Somewhere Down That Crazy River is pure musical noir, into the apocalypse, dreading Kurtz. Tiffany’s deathless Could’ve Been remains her career high point, stunning mature regret. The downbeat vibe continues on Sade’s ambient Love Is Stronger Than Pride while Roger and Foreigner’s soulful ballads I Want To Be Your Man and I Don’t Want To Live Without You Love hit the spot. Freiheit’s gentle Play It Cool works as a perfect foil with Toto’s air-drumming masterpiece Stop Loving You.
After a sedate first half, the tempo picks up with the Theme From S-Express. And then one of the year’s funkiest tunes, Divine Emotions from Narada Michael Walden. Zoom back to the carefree summer of ’88 whenever I hear it. Elsewhere there’s the Push mix of Bros’ debut When I Will Be Famous and Playboy bunny Dale’s Simon Simon [released on Prince’s Paisley Park label]. Listen to the Bangles turn Simon and Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade Of A Winter on its head for the Less Than Zero soundtrack. Just say yes to Jon Anderson’s mystical Hold On To Love and marvel at the soft delicate sound of Terence Trent D’Arby’s Sign Your Name. Lastly sail away with Fleetwood Mac’s sublime Everywhere.
A-ha – Stay On These Roads
Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down That Crazy River
Lest we forget
Narada – Divine Emotions