After the utter fiasco of Smash Hits Mix ’97, Ashley Abram reverted to the formula that had worked so well in the past. No mixing, partial or otherwise. And all the better for it.
Smash Hits – Summer ’97 does exactly what you’d expect. It covers the late spring / early summer chart action and steals a march on the upcoming Now 37. We start with I Wanna Be The Only One, a wonderful collaboration between Eternal and the mysterious Bebe Winans. Afterwards, it’s a lush run through R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly [complete with pelvic-thrusting grunt], Damage’s cover of Wonderful Tonight and the Backstreet Boys’ Quit Playing Games (With My Heart). Bow down for the Spice Girls and their dynamite slammer Who Do You Think You Are, the AA-side with Mama. Superstars in the world of fame. Robbie Williams lashes out on the world-weary but catchy Old Before I Die while Republica’s Ready To Go screams of Ericsson mobile phones and Eircell bills. So 1997.
Two Ibiza smashes originally included on Now That’s What I Call Music 36: Bellissma and Encore Une Fois. Break for love on George Michael’s crucial Forthright Edit of Star People ’97 and the spring fever of Professional Widow, as remixed by Armand Van Helden. The latter and Republica form part of New Hits ’97 territory, along with Mark Morrison – Moan And Groan, The Course – Ready Or Not, Gina G – Fresh, OTT – Let Me In, Mark Owen – Clementine, Smoke City – Underwater Love, Michelle Gayle – Do You Know. 911 get funky on Bodyshakin’ while Kavana bomb with I Can Make You Feel Good. A double banger to end CD1: Louise’s One Kiss From Heaven and the awesome techno swirl of Hal’s Extremis featuring The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson.
CD2: Boyzone’s middling cover of Words. There’s a throwback to July on Gary Barlow’s drippy Forever Love and back to Christmas for 3T’s stark I Need You. Fast forward to Strike’s street tuff I Have Peace. Before and after, a bunch of tunes already written about on Now 36: Gabrielle – Walk On By, The Blueboy – Remember Me, The Source featuring Candi Staton – You Got The Love, Ant and Dec – Shout, White Town – Your Woman. Britpop zone: Blur’s manic thrash of Song 2, the furious mod smash ‘n’ grabber Richard III by Supergrass and the Beatle-esque Smile by the Supernaturals. Not forgetting 1996’s Tattva and The Charlatans’ epic North Country Boy. Later: Brainbug and the mysterious strings of Nightmare while B.B.E. weld together another trance epic in the heady Flash.
“We love the air of paranoia and speed-freak righteousness . . . It’s a pure underground film, rammed with claustrophobia”
The 1971 road movie Vanishing Point was the inspiration for Primal Scream’s 1997 album of the same name. A scenic trip post-Woodstock with Barry Newman in the title role / roll.
Lead single Kowalski was named after the film’s anti-hero. Samples: Super Soul’s “last American hero” speech from the film. The video features a Dodge Challenger and super model Kate Moss beating up the band. The crucial Dan The Automator Mix is here.
Latest: Laurie Johnson’s The Professionals theme as re-imagined by The Blueboy. MK III.
George Michael – Star People ’97 (Forthright Edit)
Blur – Song 2
Supergrass – Richard III
Primal Scream – Kowalski (Automator Mix)
Supernaturals – Smile
Lest we forget
Hal featuring Gillian Anderson – Extremis (Qattara Remix Edit)