Pure Hits ’97 (Telstar, 1997)

Pure Hits 97

Pure Hits 97 r

Review
Pure Hits ’97 arrived at the beginning of August, just a fortnight before Fresh Hits 1997. It was not considered part of the Hits series at the time but in recent years, revisionists have had a change of heart. One of them has added the compilation to the discography list on the Hits series Wikipedia entry. They’ve even included a footnote:
“Pure Hits 97 was not a part of the main Hits series at the time, but rather the final installment of the Hits 93/94 era devised by Telstar and BMG”.

Somebody else has the following interpretation:
“BMG and Telstar went on to release Pure Hits 97 in 1997 which was (spiritually) a sequel to the Hits ’93 and Hits ’94 series to due to its very similar cover artwork”.

While Cosmo, a regular commentator on this blog, makes two salient points:
“But that still has the Telstar Hits logo”.
“I’d say that “Hits” album is a bit like the “complimentary” original Now Anniversary albums (93, 94, 95)”.

These are persuasive arguments. However I don’t fully agree. There are two reasons:
1) Telstar were not in control of the franchise at that time. And even if they were, why would they sabotage the normal schedule with release containing overlapping tracks? It really looks like a cash in on the brand using their previous involvement as a lever.
2) Look to the future – September 2001 – and Hits 50. The numbering system was restored with the intention of stealing some of the thunder from Now That’s What I Call Music 50, which wasn’t due for another six weeks. Including Pure Hits ’97 in the canon would mean that Hits 50 would really be Hits 51.

Pure Hits ’97 contains eight songs that would also end up on the almost-simultaneous Fresh Hits 1997: Gala – Freed For Desire, Backstreet Boys – Everybody, DJ Quicksilver – Bellissima, Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close, R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly, George Michael with Tony Bourke – Waltz Away Dreaming, Sarah Brightman – Time To Say Goodbye, Cardigans – Lovefool (Tee’s Club Mix).

Elsewhere 16 more of the tracks had originally featured on the following UK compilations:
Now That’s What I Call Music 35: East 17 featuring Gabrielle – If You Ever.
Now That’s What I Call Music 36: No Doubt – Don’t Speak, White Town – Your Woman, Ant and Dec – Shout, Blur – Beetlebum, The Blueboy – Remember Me, B.B.E. – Flash, Kavana – I Can Make You Feel Good, Placebo – Nancy Boy.
New Hits 1997: Smoke City – Underwater Love.
Smash Hits – Summer ’97: Supergrass – Richard III, 911 – Bodyshakin’.
Now That’s What I Call Music 37: Sash! featuring Rodriguez – Ecuador, Ocean Colour Scene – 100 Mile High City, Seahorses – Love Is The Law, N-Tyce, Hey DJ.

So what do Telstar bring to the party? Peter Andre’s All About Us is a jazzy surprise with a swinging beat. Blackstreet and Damage drop some smooth R&B; Don’t Leave Me and Love Lady. Edwyn Collins goes for the groove jugular on The Magic Piper Of Love, a slinky gem. Another amazing diamond geezer is Conner Reeves; My Father’s Son is beautifully sung, a soul classic. We go right back to 1965 for The Mamas and Papas’ timeless flight California Dreamin’, reissued in August 1997 and hitting #9 on the UK chart. Fast forward to Clock’s aimless cover of U Sexy Thing, after which The Source drop the bass-heavy Clouds.

CD2 starts with an indie fest. Beautiful freaks – Eels – spin a spooky tale, Susan’s House. Cast do a mean Oasis impression on the furious Free Me while The Charlatans defy the end with their soaring sunkissed Britpop anthem How High. Bush’s grungey Swallowed sounds better now than then. Elsewhere you get Cable’s Freeze The Atlantic, the song from the Sprite advert. Yes son, it’s time to go diabolical with Orbital’s illsick Satan. Masters of sonic emotion. And back to Cream ’97 for Basement Jaxx’s energetic jam Flylife. Remember the ultra-cool falsetto on Ten City’s That’s The Way Love Is. That was Byron Stingily who spent a week in Billboard top spot with Get Up (Everybody) in which he sampled Sylvester’s Dance (Disco Heat). It really hits the g-spot.

Favourite tracks
Orbital – Satan

Basement Jaxx – Flylife

Edwyn Collins – The Magic Piper Of Love

The Charlatans – How High

Conner Reeves – My Father’s Son

Lest we forget
Cable – Freeze The Atlantic

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One Response to Pure Hits ’97 (Telstar, 1997)

  1. Pingback: Smash Hits ’98 (Virgin, 1997) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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