Autumn leaves were falling when Telstar released their third Smash Hits compilation of 1995. Both Smash Hits ’95 – Volume 1 and Smash Hits 2 were unsatisfactory from the point of having two many tracks [22 and 21 respectively] which led to some truncation. Smash Hits 3 rectifies this somewhat but cutting the number to 20. Less butchery.
There’s a Bohemian Rhapsody feel to the first track; the full version of Take That’s Never Forget. Although it’s listed here as Single Version while CD2 of the actual release calls it Single Mix. For trainspotters, note that CD1 contained the 5:32 radio edit. The 4:30 cut that’s on the likes of Hitz Blitz is something of an oddity. Anyway the opening of the song is taken from Verdi’s Requiem sang by the Henllan Boys Choir led by Alistair Stubbs while Howard Duncan handles the vocals. You’ll hear Robbie Williams’ voice before the final chorus while the angelic choir reprise their role just before the conclusion. A total epic.
N-Trance’s so 90s update of Stayin’ Alive leads off a busy dance section. Think of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. PJ and Duncan drop U Krazy Katz while Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative gets a fresh and funky makeover from Joe Vannelli, reaching #17 in the UK charts. 20 Fingers and Gillette ramp up the BPMs on the cutting Short Short Man while The Outhere Brothers return with the deep and wordy La La La Hey Hey. Meanwhile Backstreet Boys’ We’ve Got It Goin’ On is melodic goodness. And 740 Boyz add to the party vibe with the pounding hip house of Shimmy Shake. Slow down on Mary J Blige’s [never Bilge] smoking hot Mary Jane (All Night Long).
Smokie’s 1976 hit Living Next Door To Alice is given an execrable spin by Roy Chubby Brown on the inane Who The **** Is Alice. Naturally it’s the bleeped version. The obligatory Britpop section starts with Oasis’ driving #2 Roll With It. Then it’s Ash’s tumultous fifth 45, the gorgeous Girl From Mars. A friend of mine caught the Ash wave early, when Peel played Jack Names The Planets in 1994, so watching their rise with super 7″ after 7″ was particularly memorable. The epic Petrol, the Heineken stormer Uncle Part, Kung Fu’s cruel samples and crazy mosh-inducing. Afterwards came the touching Angel Interceptor, an introspective Goldfinger and summer smash Oh Yeah.
Back to reality: Suggs covers a key song from The Beatles’ Revolver, I’m Only Sleeping. Get into the dance groove once more for The Original have arrived and I Luv U Baby spins on the decks. More good stuff from De’Lacy and the neatly edited masterpiece of Hideaway (Deep Dish Radio Mix). Let loose, warehouse sound, no dress code. The tempo relaxes with MN8’s soul beamer Happy and Tina Arena’s sultry swinger Chains. M People’s slow-builing Search For The Hero wraps it up. But there’s more: Scooter’s gabba gabba hey debut Move Your Ass and Rednex with their barnyard banger Wild ‘N’ Free.
Take That – Never Forget
Ash – Girl From Mars
Oasis – Roll With It
Lest we forget
De’Lacy – Hideaway (Deep Dish Radio Mix)
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I’m guessing the 4’30 version of Never Forget that appears so often is Nic Moran’s butchering job for Hitz Blitz. The start with the brass entry is magical, but missing. Another example of why 22 tracks is too many for a hits compilation (usually).
19 / 20 optimum I think Andrew.