The Smash Hits franchise changed direction in 1995. Instead of an end-of-year round-up, Telstar decided on an early spring release. Smash Hits ’95 – Volume 1 was the result; a 22 track single CD brought to you by the UK’s biggest selling music magazine. The volume reference was a sure sign that more instalments would follow. Once again, it’s a decent collection but let down by excessive cramming; 18 fully intact single mixes would have sufficed instead of a some random early fades and a unique butchering of Whatever.
“Where did you come from?”
Get on up: Perfecto Allstarz, under the watchful eye of Paul Oakenfold, hit the top 10 with Reach Up (Papa’s Got A Brand New Big Bag). 14 seconds are lopped off the already tight radio edit. Rednex make the first of two appearances with the inexplicably popular Cotton Eye Joe while N-Trance’s Set You Free and the Human League’s sublime return Tell Me When are both short-changed. Thankfully M People’s Bizarre Fruit leader, Sight For Sore Eyes, is intact with a glorious chord progression and an infectious Moog bass line. Also present and correct is PJ and Duncan AKA’s inane Our Radio Rocks while indie Kylie strikes gold again on the almost trip hop Put Yourself In My Place. Deconstructed bliss.
“Where did you go?”
Aaliyah’s third 45, the relaxed R&B of Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number is gorgeous. It’s cut short though. Strike’s handbag smash U Sure Do nicks from Donna Allen’s Serious and doesn’t outstay its welcome. MC Sar and The Real McCoy’s Another Night loses 30 seconds – check out Now That’s What I Call Music 29 for all this and more. Meanwhile Nicki French takes on Total Eclipse Of The Heart under the supervision of Stock and Aitken with mixed results. The garish Rednex drop the horrendous Old Pop In An Oak. Moving on, Oz strikes back as the factory worker turned country singer on Crocodile Shoes. It’s extremely likeable stuff from Jimmy Nail and brings back memories of watching the television series in my student days. Elsewhere Scarlet does it a different way on the incredibly 80s-sounding dramatic showstopper Independent Love Song.
“This is the Zagamuffin calling planet Earth”
And now time for a soundalike – Kamakazi taking off Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes The Hotstepper – followed by R Kelly’s relentless Bump ‘N’ Grind. Clock polish off Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F in one trance induced swoop. Never mind the zagabongs, here’s Zig and Zag. In full effect on the brutal nitro deluxe ragga Them Girls Them Girls. And a Top Of The Pops appearance introduced by Gary Glitter. There’s a big up to the jungle massive on Soundman and Don Lloydie’s scattershot drum and bass tune Greater Love with a super Elisabeth Troy vocal. Down to the wire; all guitars to the floor for the last 10 minutes. There’s Oasis’ standalone Whatever, bizarrely faded after 3:42 – why oh why – and followed by Green Day’s frantic punk thrash of Basket Case. Slide away with Suede’s drenched-in-glam New Generation in rare 3:50 radio edit form. Britpop at its best.
Suede – New Generation
Zig and Zag – Them Girls Them Girls (Radio Mix)
Jimmy Nail – Crocodile Shoes
Lest we forget
Soundman and Don Lloydie with Elisabeth Troy – Greater Love