The Greatest Hits Of 1998 is notable for its packaging – the (slight) return of the fatbox. Last seen on a UK compilation sometime around late 1994. This allows the reverse of the front inlay to carry an advertisement for The Best Of Dance ’98 (which I’ll review on 9 September). The booklet has the customary credits in a larger font and we get six number ones: Never Ever, Doctor Jones, Brimful Of Asha, Three Lions ’98, Feel It, It’s Like That.
I’ve already written about the bulk of the tracks (33). See these:
Big Hits: Natalie Imbruglia – Torn.
New Hits ’98: Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix), Backstreet Boys – All I Have To Give, Run DMC and Jason Nevins – It’s Like That, Five – When The Lights Go Out.
Now That’s What I Call Music 39: Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You, Spice Girls – Stop, All Saints – Never Ever, LeeAnn Rimes – How Do I Live, Space with Cerys – The Ballad Of Tom Jones, Lighthouse Family – High, Billie Myers – Kiss The Rain.
Smash Hits Summer ’98: Aqua – Doctor Jones, The Tamperer featuring Maya – Feel It.
Fresh Hits ’98: The Corrs – Dreams (Tee’s Radio), Simply Red – Say You Love Me, Lutricia McNeal – Stranded, Baddiel and Skinner and Lightning Seeds – Three Lions ’98, Bus Stop featuring Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting.
Now That’s What I Call Music 40: The Mavericks – Dance The Night Away, Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank, Fat Les – Vindaloo, Embrace – Come Back To What You Know, Mousse T vs Hot ‘N’ Juicy – Horny, K-Ci & Jo-Jo – All My Life, Sparkle featuring R Kelly – Be Careful
Big Hits ’98: Steps – One For Sorrow.
Now Dance ’98: Jennifer Paige – Crush (Dance Mix), Touch & Go – Would You?, Sash featuring Tina Cousins – Mysterious Times, Ace Of Base – Life Is A Flower, Fatboy Slim – Gangster Trippin’, T-Spoon – Sex On The Beach.
“They shaved their heads, and had tattoos, and were a lot, lot cooler than the nancy boys of Take That. In the great five-year battle that dominated British pop, East 17 were also on the winning side. Their music was sharper and more streetwise. It was infused with hip hop and sold by the bucketload: 18 million records across Europe, compared with Take That’s paltry 17 million.” (Guy Adams)
East 17 had gone through a turbulent 1997. Brian Harvey was sacked after praising the taking of ecstasy while Tony Mortimer left a few months later. Harvey was re-instated and the band – now calling themselves E-17 – landed a deal with Telstar. So that means Each Time is the first “exclusive” on The Greatest Hits Of 1998; it’s a slow jam, not one that immediately grabs you.
CD2 throws up Alda’s Real Good Time, uptempo positive Icelandic pop while its final five tracks are fresh. What do I get? Will Mellor’s cover of I Need You is predictably bland. Better is Lutricia McNeal’s reggae-flavoured Someone Loves You Honey. Sash! makes a second appearance and churns out another trance bomb but unfortunately Move Mania is a bit of damp squib. There’s a double from T-Spoon too; Tom’s Party is a bastardised attempt at mashing up Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner into bad Euro house. Stick with DNA. And finally this uninspiring stretch concludes with the garish wedding disco nightmare Tell Me Ma which is brought to you by the abysmal fake folk sound of Sham Rock.
All Saints – Never Ever
Spice Girls – Stop
Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)
Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
Space with Cerys of Catatonia – The Ballad Of Tom Jones
Lest we forget
Fat Les – Vindaloo
Missing tracks and other thoughts
A disappointing entry in The Greatest Hits Of series. As an annual event, it invariably struggles against predictable inclusions. However, in this instance the compilers would have been better sticking to established hits rather than the anaemic “new” tunes. It’s clear that the budget wasn’t there to follow the Huge Hits 1998 template and drop in a couple of monster hits.