Musicologists generally agree that the third wave of the Hits series began with the release of Hitz Blitz in August 1995. It’s a single CD from BMG, released under their compilations’ arm Global Television. BMG were one of the partners of the original run, having joined up with CBS and WEA for The Hits Album 6. Initially seen as a tentative release, its #2 chart placing ensured that Global Television would revive the series on a full time basis at year end, with Sony and Warner also getting back in the game later on.
Take That lead with the atmospheric Never Forget; a brand new release that month but in a truncated mix. All the way to number one. It’s followed by M People’s thoughtful Search For The Hero in its shorter radio edit. Now That’s What I Call Music 1995 would also use this rare version. However as a whole, the CD is marred by a plethora of early fades – again something that could easily be avoided by dropping two tracks. Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You and Annie Lennox’s gorgeous Whiter Shade Of Pale both suffer from premature finishes. After the inescapable Outhere Brothers, West End’s pop house of Love Rules is welcome treat. PJ and Duncan’s Stuck On You is harmless fluff with Kylie’s deep sensuality of Where Is The Feeling making her indie re-invention a career highlight.
Dance the night away with The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind) melding into Corona’s Try Me Out. There’s a nice surprise from the Nightcrawlers on their soulful grower Surrender Your Love but D:Ream’s Shoot Me With Your Love is hard work; flailing into anonymity. Jinny’s addictive Keep Warm is much better; decent piano and a classic beat. Next come Jam and Spoon with their groundbreaking Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music). And a nice gospel-flavoured surprise on Mozaic’s classy cover of Sing It (The Hallelujah Song). We’re here to pull you back in to do it all the same. Rave on.
Stretch out and wait for Bobby Brown to finish Humpin’ Around. Jodeci’s Freek N’ You is a slowburning R&B jam in its radio edit – unlike the more menacing dub mix. Next comes ex-Electribe 101 singer Billie Ray Martin with the super Your Loving Arms, cruelly faded early. And Clock’s Whoomph (There It Is) – a trance-blasting cover of the Tag Team number. Plus: it’s great to hear Michelle Gayle’s sorely underrated Freedom; a epic soul number. Things take a weird turn for the final pair. Zig and Zag’s appalling Rednex-ish Hands Up. And wave goodbye to the Soldier Soldier duo as Robson and Jerome bust out Unchained Melody and stay at the top of the charts for seven weeks. How things change.
M People – Search For The Hero
Clock – Whoomph (There It Is)
Robson and Jerome – Unchained Melody
Lest we forget
Michelle Gayle – Freedom
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Hit Blitz is a disappointing return for the series. Things would get better with the next release but this one should have dropped some of the over-familiar dance tunes and instead threw in a few of these:
Tricky – Black Steel. Believe the hype.
Take That – Back For Good. Superior to Never Forget and strangely absent on ’95 comps.
Black Grape – Reverend Black Grape. A total riot and rarely anthologised.
Method Man and Mary J Blige – I’ll Be There For You. Quality duet.