The Greatest Hits Of ’96 (Telstar, 1996)

Greatest Hits Of 96

Greatest Hits Of 96 r

No-no-no, Tes-Tes-Tes-Tes. . . The sleeve design for The Greatest Hits Of ’96 is shockingly lazy. What should be the front cover has spine labels on either side so it suffices as the back inlay. Meanwhile the “booklet” has photographs and small typed credits on the front with tracklist on the final page. I have re-jigged it for the purposes of this review.

“Music please”

Don’t Look Back In Anger starts. I always thought that the “fade away” line should have been tied into referencing the Cigarettes and Alcohol B-side. Two more #1s follow; Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s and The Prodigy’s Firestarter. Just hitting the racks at the time of release was Pearl’s Girl from Underworld’s Second Toughest In The Infants LP. A perfectly realised giant of a tune, a nine minute plus album track succinctly distilled into a cracking radio edit. Peter Andre’s loose Flava and Simply Red’s gentle Never Never Love give way to full grotesque horror of Babybird’s You’re Gorgeous. He ain’t no James Blunt. Bad shave, bad trip. Equally unpalatable are Ant and Dec with their insipid When I Fall In Love and Robson and Jerome’s leaky lounge Up On The Roof.

Britpop comes in spurts. Ocean Colour Scene display cosmic stickwork on The Riverboat Song while The Charlatans sound revitalised on One To Another. Garbage’s vigorous Stupid Girl is followed by Space’s half-baked Neighbourhood. Later on you can lie back and think of Downpatrick on Ash’s hazy Oh Yeah, filmed in a rainy Great Yarmouth. Coming from the same place: Neil Hannon’s Divine Comedy and the sardonic Something For The Weekend. Then there’s Suede’s re-charge into 70s Ronson rockers on the immensely satisfying guitar squall of Trash. After the Diet Coke song, there’s a crusty comedown with The Levellers before Bjork’s show-stopping Hyperballad. Post version.

What do Peter Andre, Livin’ Joy and Underworld have in common? They both appear twice. The Culture Club, Kajagoogoo and UB40 of their day. Meanwhile there’s mighty fine downhome rhythm and blues courtesy of Mark Morrison [Crazy] and Backstreet Boys [We’ve Got It Goin’ Now] while points are lost for the inclusion of Los Del Mar’s lousy Macarena. Fresh Hits ’96 is your source for Los Del Rio. Piano pounders Livin’ Joy drop Follow The Rules, a neat house groove while Busta Rhymes and Coolio keep the hip hop flag aloft. Elsewhere Duke’s falsetto sounds 18 years out of time on So In Love With You.

Curiously funky: E-Motion’s The Naughty North And The Sexy South. Flamboyant dancers in the video. Alison Limerick knocks it out with the slammin’ remix of Where Love Is while DJ Dado’s X-Files cover continues to send shivers wherever it’s played. Gat Decor’s uplifting Passion is club perfection; a Rí-Rá favourite from the days when I could dance until 2.30am seven days a week. The last of the unknowns: Hotbox’s tacky pizza techno Too Spicy. They pale in comparison to The Fast Food Rockers. Yep, that weird.

Favourite tracks
Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

Gat Decor – Passion

Suede – Trash

Ash – Oh Yeah

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

Lest we forget
Bjork – Hyperballad

Missing tracks and other thoughts
On a par with The Greatest Hits Of ’95, the crappy sleeve design and lack of variety make this a less than inspiring adventure. Spice up your life with this triple play:

Toni Braxton – Un-break My Heart. Torn.
Donna Lewis – I Will Love You Always Forever. Epic.
Spice Girls – 2 Become 1. Would have been quite a coup as a (New).

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7 Responses to The Greatest Hits Of ’96 (Telstar, 1996)

  1. cosmo says:

    Apart from those tracks appearing and highlighted elsewhere, I would add:

    Duke – So in Love with You. Nu-disco classic.

    E-Motion – The Naughty North & The Sexy South. (The video features a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to the media coverage of Euro ’96.)

    Hotbox – Too Spicy
    7″/Radio version:


  2. cosmo says:

    Did Donna Lewis’s I Will Love You Always feature on any compilation release “back then”. I can’t remember now. If it didn’t, it should, as that was rad.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      The album version is on Hits ’97 which I’ll be reviewing on 20 November. It’s nearly 40 seconds longer than the radio edit. No 7″ over in UK / Ireland but I did pick one up in the US a few years ago.

  3. Pingback: Now That’s What I Call Music 35 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1996) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Hi Paul, any idea what happened to the Hotbox track? I have the promo cd single as a prized possession (found it in a charity shop in Swansea for 10p years ago). I understand there was a rights’ issue with using the pepperami voice, but wonder if you have any more inside knowledge as to why it didn’t get released, or did it get released?

    Second one, a possible track that got left out, a no.4 hit released on their own label – not that I’m a fan of the club or the song, but Pass & Move (It’s The Liverpool Groove). Slightly surprised that they never included it on any compilation. I can only guess they thought such an inclusion would affect sales in a negative way in places like Manchester… Moran and Global were happy to have Move, Move, Move on New Hits 96. Being a proud Welshman, Three Lions did nothing for me whatsoever (or Vindaloo) but never stopped me buying a compilation with them on!

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Andrew
      I have seen the promo (known as promo 2) a few times over the years and there’s a few on Discogs. A friend who was on a DJ mailing list (distributed by Vital) got sent a copy at the time. So there seem to be a few out there.

      Pass & Move isn’t bad! We had a copy in work that used to get played over the in-house stereo. I follow Manchester City but it was enjoyable. Better than Anfield Rap.

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