Hot And New ’85 (WEA, 1985)

Hot And New '85

Hot And New '85 r

Review
WEA followed up their first digital release Hot And New with a second volume during the spring of 1985. This one sees a higher quotient of international hits with six of them [Chaka Khan, The Cars, ZZ Top, Sister Sledge, Billy Ocean, Prince and The Revolution] having already appeared on The Hits Album, the UK’s new rival to the Now series. It’s a fine compilation with a number of rare single mixes that make it very much in demand.

Hit that perfect beat with Chaka Khan’s incredible I Feel For You, a Prince cover that originally featured on his second LP. Khan’s version features gold cast with rapping from Melle Mel, keyboard and guitar by The System’s David Frank and chromatic harmonica playing from Stevie Wonder. It also uses vocal samples from Wonder’s Fingertips. Meanwhile The Cars’ Drive enjoyed chart success in both 1984 and 1985; its inclusion here is based on the first wave. A gorgeous electronic ballad with a memorable mannequin video. But it’s during Live Aid that it struck an even greater chord with the UK public as it was used as the background music to a montage of clips depicting the Ethiopian famine.

Kim Wilde’s driving The Second Time is the sole tune from EMI and Virgin’s Christmas ’84 sparring partner Now That’s What I Call Music 4. Next is Alphaville’s melancholy rites-of-passage ballad Forever Young, a track that has particular resonance with me and a group of friends from its early 1990s airings. Nik Kershaw’s curious Irish twist The Riddle continues to enthrall while Laura Branigan’s Satisfaction showcases her wonderful vocal range to great effect. And there’s the rare single edits of ZZ Top’s chrome smoker Gimme All Your Lovin’ and Sister Sledge’s timeless disco glory Lost In Music. No way back.

When The Rain Begins To Fall is a gorgeous duet from Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora. Epic chord progression. Elsewhere Billy Ocean was struggling with geography as European Queen failed to make the UK top 75; a quick transformation to Caribbean Queen ensured a #6 placing. A song from under the radar – Johan Daansen’s Deadly Game; ideal Miami Vice material. And some glorious jazz beats from Matt Bianco on the underrated Half A Minute; Basia and quality basslines. Rekindle the love affair with Scorpions on the tortured metal of Still Living You while Scott Marlowe’s gives us some moody Italo on the urban nightmare Living In Chinatown. Lastly it’s Prince in his own right; the magnificent Purple Rain in 7″ form. “I think you better close it”.

Favourite tracks
Alphaville – Forever Young

Matt Bianco – Half A Minute

Lest we forget
Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora – When The Rain Begins To Fall

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3 Responses to Hot And New ’85 (WEA, 1985)

  1. cosmo says:

    This compilation captures the flavour of late ’84/early ’85 quite accurately.

    Big in Japan was probably Alphaville’s biggest hit (apart from the expected success in mainland Europe, it also reached #8 in the UK and #4 in Ireland in the summer of ’84); yet, at least in the rest of Europe, Forever Young could well be their most-remembered track. Given the house cover treatment in ’96 courtesy of Interactive (UK #28). I Feel for You – killed Chaka track produced by the legendary Arif Mardin and with a rap backing by Grandmaster Flash. The Riddle – another of Nik Kershaw’s best-known track, yet it seems that his star started to somewhat fade after this. Could, ahem, “certain” reasons be the motive why Billy Ocean’s comeback flop as “European Queen” and hit high as “Caribbean Queen”…? (And don’t forget there was “African Queen” too.) I think I already mentioned my approval of Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora’s Moroderesque number. Matt Bianco – they were NOT “w*nk*rs”! They were actually quite good, blessed with Basia’s voice. Half a Minute (UK #23) is a rather nifty Bossa Nova/MPB-influenced ditty. Simple but effective video, too:

    • cosmo says:

      Whoops, I see you’ve included the Half a Minute video already.

      Feel free to delete it off my comment.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Thanks Cosmo. Big In Japan was massive here. It was played on 2FM every Saturday as it hung around the European chart for ages. Forever Young is amazing and got spun at a number of debs (Irish for proms) back in the day. Nik had a busy ’84 but you’re right, ’85 was uneven. When A Heart Beats [Now 6] was the last time he’d trouble the compilers. I had forgotten about African Queen, seemed Billy wanted to keep ALL the ladies happy. Matt Bianco – top class. Whose Side Are You On is one of my favourite LPs of the era.

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