Now That’s What I Call Music 1985: The Millennium Series (EMI / Virgin / Universal, 1999)

Now Millennium 1985

Now Millennium 1985 r

Jo Payton’s sleeve notes for the 1985 edition of Now’s Millennium series are centred around Live Aid. There’s a nice snapshot of memories from 13 July: references to Jack Nicholson introducing U2, Simple Minds playing out of Philadelphia plus Queen’s epic performance. The latter were all involved in solo projects that year – Freddie Mercury releasing I Was Born To Love You, John Deacon guesting on Elton John’s Ice On Fire and Roger Taylor producing solo singles by Feargal Sharkey and Jimmy Nail.

Every single track has already been compiled elsewhere. Take a look at these reviews:
The Hits Album 2: Kirsty MacColl – A New England, Ashford and Simpson – Solid, Commodores – Nightshift, Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy – Kiss Me.
Out Now!: Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Paul Hardcastle – 19, Nik Kershaw – The Riddle, Phyllis Nelson – Move Closer, David Grant and Jaki Graham – Could It Be I’m Falling In Love, Go West – We Close Our Eyes.
Now That’s What I Call Music 5: Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home, Duran Duran – A View To A Kill, U2 – The Unforgettable Fire, Marillion – Kayleigh, Katrina and The Waves – Walking On Sunshine, Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love, Phil Collins – One More Night, Kool and The Gang – Cherish, Jimmy Nail – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.
Out Now!! 2: Billy Idol – White Wedding, Dan Hartman – I Can Dream About You.
The Greatest Hits Of 1985: DeBarge – The Rhythm Of The Night.
Now That’s What I Call Music 6: Queen – One Vision, Simple Minds – Alive And Kicking, Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill, Feargal Sharkey – A Good Heart, Midge Ure – If I Was, Elton John – Nikita, Tina Turner – We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome), UB40 – Don’t Break My Heart, Level 42 – Something About You.
Hits 3 – The Album: Huey Lewis and The News – The Power Of Love, John Parr – St Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion), Colonel Abrams – Trapped.
Hits 4: Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls.
Now That’s What I Call Music 1985: Talking Heads – Road Of Nowhere.

For the second successive year, Queen were in pole position. One Vision was recorded in September 1985, released as a single in November and was also included on the Iron Eagle soundtrack – but the film didn’t made its debut in UK cinemas until August 1986. Other movie tie-ins include Duran Duran’ A View To A Kill, John Parr’s St Elmo’s Fire, Huey Lewis & The News’ The Power Of Love (Back To The Future), DeBarge’s The Rhythm Of The Night (The Last Dragon), Dan Hartman’s I Can Dream About You (Streets Of Fire), Bryan Ferry’s Slave To Love (9 1/2 Weeks) and Tina Turner’s Mad Max II slowburner We Don’t Need Another Here (Thunderdome). 1985 was also the year of The Breakfast Club (Simple Minds are here, but with Alive and Kicking), Desperately Seeking Susan, Fletch, The Goonies, Jewel Of The Nile, Krush Groove, Vision Quest and Teen Wolf. I am currently working on an 80s soundtrack mix project. I’ve bought loads over the years and there’s tonnes of new wave, pop and rock tracks from such films that are obscure or just languishing. It’ll consist of multiple parts and will be finished in early 2018.

War was still a musical theme during 1985. While Orbis’ part-work Nam: The Vietnam Experience 1965-1975 was still two years away, Paul Hardcastle dropped a strong anti-war message with 19, topping the UK charts for five weeks and also a #1 in 12 other countries. 19 featured sampled narration (voiced by Peter Thomas), out-of-context interview dialogue (“I wasn’t really sure what was going on”) and news reports from Vietnam Requiem, the ABC television documentary about the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by Vietnam veterans. There were three different 12″ mixes in the UK – Extended Version, Destruction Mix and The Final Story – along with other takes recorded in French, Spanish, German and Japanese. The accompanying self-titled album included a version which omitted the Peter Thomas narration, instead using the voice of Clark Peters.

Go West won Best British Newcomer at the 1986 Brit Awards. Their debut single, We Close Our Eyes, went all the way to #5 in the UK with its Godley and Creme directed video becoming an MTV favourite. The debut album – also called Go West – was a soulful pop treat and included successful follow up singles Call Me, Goodbye Girl and Don’t Look Down. A remix LP called Bangs And Crashes followed in 1986. My most enduring memory of them is the appearance of Goodbye Girl in the opening episode of Miami Vice’s second season, The Prodigal Son. Friday nights on RTE 1. Crockett, Tubbs and Jimmy in Club DEliRiOUS. In the same episode is Phil Collins’ Take Me Home, a track which I’d love to have seen instead of One More Night which already made the 10th Anniversary series.

“Do you remember chalk hearts melting on a playground wall
Do you remember dawn escapes from moon washed college halls
Do you remember the cherry blossom in the market square
Do you remember I thought it was confetti in our hair”

1985: when Marillion were gods. Is Misplaced Childhood the last great progressive rock album? I remember when it came out; about a week or so after I broke up for the summer holidays. I’d just finished my first year in secondary school and my taste was getting wider. The concept was conceived by Fish during a 10 hour acid trip. The story has thematic elements of lost love, sudden success, acceptance, and lost childhood, along with an upbeat ending. The wistful Kayleigh follows Midge Ure’s If I Was on this compilation, and is centred around Fish’s ex Kay Lee. Loads of baby girls born during the late spring and early summer of 1985 were named Kayleigh. After the album’s release Fish announced, “Now there is time for one more track… the name of the track is Misplaced Childhood”, and the band performed the entire album in sequence. You still see comments like “I was named after this song” all over YouTube. Sadly Kay Lee passed away in October 2012.

Back to Live Aid. This trio of male artists all played in the afternoon:
2.22pm: Nik Kershaw – Wide Boy / Don Quixote / The Riddle / Wouldn’t It Be Good.
3.49pm: Howard Jones – Hide And Seek.
4.40pm: Paul Young – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (intro) / Come Back and Stay / That’s the Way Love Is” (with Alison Moyet) / Every Time You Go Away.
All had released two albums and between six and eight singles each. Each one of them would release their third LP in 1986 with their respective lead singles all performing (relatively) poorly compared with previous releases.
Nik Kershaw – When A Heart Beats (27).
Howard Jones – No One Is To Blame (16).
Paul Young – Wonderland (24).
The shininess of new pop was coming to an end.

I said this in my review of Now That’s What I Call Music 1985: “What does 1985 mean to me? Well it’s my favourite year for albums; I own more LPs from ’85 than any other and will produce a definitive list of these later on in 2015.” So, slightly later than originally anticipated, here’s 101 reasons why I think 1985 is the best year ever for albums.

10,000 Maniacs – The Wishing Chair
ABC – How To Be A Zillionaire
A-ha – Hunting High And Low
Arcadia – So Red The Rose
Big Audio Dynamite – This Is Big Audio Dynamite
Blancmange – Believe You Me
Michael Brook – Hybrid
Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – The Firstborn Is Dead

The Chameleons – What Does Anything Mean? Basically
China Crisis – Flaunt The Imperfection
The Church – Heyday
Clan Of Xymox – Clan Of Xymox
Lloyd Cole and The Commotions – Easy Pieces
Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
Colourbox – Colourbox
The Cult – Love
The Cure – The Head On The Door
The Damned – Phantasmagoria

Dead Can Dance – Spleen And Ideal
Dead Kennedys – Frankenchrist
Dead Or Alive – Youthquake
Dexys Midnight Runners – Don’t Stand Me Down
Dif Juz – Extractions
Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
Dream Academy – The Dream Academy
Stephen TinTin Duffy – The Ups And Downs
Dukes Of Stratosphear – 25 O’Clock
Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon

Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight
Everything But The Girl – Love Not Money
The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
Felt – Ignite The Seven Cannons
Bryan Ferry – Boys And Girls
Fine Young Cannibals – Fine Young Cannibals
Five Star – Luxury Of Life
Aretha Franklin – Who’s Zoomin’ Who
Peter Gabriel – Birdy
Half Man Half Biscuit – Back In The DHSS

Paul Hardcastle – Paul Hardcastle
Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians – Fegmania!
Husker Du – New Day Rising
Husker Du – Flip Your Wig
Iron Maiden – Live After Death
Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri – Worlds In A Small Room
Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
Grace Jones – Slave To The Rhythm
Howard Jones – Dream Into Action
Killing Joke – Night Time

Level 42 – World Machine
LL Cool J – Radio
Lone Justice – Lone Justice
Love and Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven
Madness – Mad Not Mad
Marillion – Misplaced Childhood
Meat Puppets – Up On The Sun
Mekons – Fear And Whiskey
Microdisney – The Clock Comes Down The Stairs
Mission Of Burma – The Horrible Truth About Burma

Joni Mitchell – Dog Eat Dog
Van Morrison – A Sense Of Wonder
New Order – Low-Life
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Crush
Pale Fountains – From Across The Kitchen Table
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Southern Accents
The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy and The Lash
Andrew Poppy – The Beating Of Wings
Power Station – The Power Station
Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen

Prince and The Revolution – Around The World In A Day
Propaganda – A Secret Wish
Chris Rea – Shamrock Diaries
REM – Fables Of The Reconstruction
The Replacements – Tim
Run DMC – King Of Rock
Sade – The Promise
Scritti Politti – Cupid and Psyche ’85
Shriekback – Oil And Gold
Simple Minds – Once Upon A Time

Sisters Of Mercy – First And Last And Always
The Smiths – Meat Is Murder
Belouis Some – Some People
Sonic Youth – Bad Moon Rising
The Sound – Heads And Hearts
Squeeze – Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti
Sting – Dream Of The Blue Turtles
Strawberry Switchblade – Strawberry Switchblade
Style Council – Our Favourite Shop
David Sylvian – Alchemy: An Index Of Possibilities

Talking Heads – Little Creatures
Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair
Richard Thompson – Across A Crowded Room
Thompson Twins – Here’s To Future Days
Those Nervous Animals – Hyperspace
Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
The Waterboys – This Is The Sea
Working Week – Working Nights
Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat
Paul Young – The Secret Of Association

Favourite tracks
U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

Duran Duran – A View To A Kill

Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love

Marillion – Kayleigh

Lest we forget
Commodores – Nightshift

Missing tracks and other thoughts
Despite the lack of real surprises, The Millennium Series 1985 is another very enjoyable trip. The first half of CD1 is suitably anthemic with big music – a stadium-like trilogy from Tears For Fears – U2 – Simple Minds. Running Up That Hill + Road To Nowhere = genius. I also love the understated punch of A New England and The Riddle that signs off disc 1. Part 2 is suitably melancholy – West End Girls through Thunderdome via the Howards’ Way yacht vibes of Bryan Ferry and Phil Collins. An extended soul and R&B sequence is works really well too before the closing pop gems of We Close Our Eyes, Kiss Me and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. It’s a pity that there’s no look back to Now Dance – The 12″ Mixes as the RAH Band’s Clouds Across The Moon would have really worked.

So how does it compare with Now’s 10th Anniversary? Well there are 25 overlapping tracks between the two sets – Fine Young Cannibals, Duran Duran, Marillion, Katrina and The Waves, Bryan Ferry, Phil Collins, Jimmy Nail, Simple Minds, Kate Bush, Feargal Sharkey, Midge Ure, Elton John, Level 42, Kirsty MacColl, Ashford and Simpson, Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy, Huey Lewis and The News, John Parr, Colonel Abrams, Pet Shop Boys, Tears For Fears, Paul Hardcastle, Phyllis Nelson, Go West, Talking Heads. There were two Now albums released in 1985 and 18 of their tracks are featured on this Millennium entry.

19 songs reached the top of the UK charts during 1985. Only four of them are present whereas the 10th Anniversary set had eight. West End Girls was a 1986 #1. Easy Lover really should be here along with Jennifer Rush. I’d also welcome Wham!’s I’m Your Man. More omissions: The Cure – In Between Days, Paul Young – Everything Must Change or Every Time You Go Away, Howard Jones’ Things Can Only Get Better and anything by King. Frankie Goes To Hollywood were still on a high and the #2 placing for Welcome To The Pleasure Dome should have ensured its selection. Once again, Pie Jesu is regrettably absent while if you’re considering a one hit wonder then who better than Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy or even The Commentators’ 19 ace parody sequenced straight after Paul Hardcastle. Non-obvious choice: Loving You rather than A Good Heart. And of the three big charity records of 1985, We Are The World would have been a grand finale for CD2.

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11 Responses to Now That’s What I Call Music 1985: The Millennium Series (EMI / Virgin / Universal, 1999)

  1. Feel the Quality says:

    Yet again, not a bad entry but the 10th Anniversary equivalent blows this one out of the water.

    I think Now Dance is fairly well represented here with a quarter of its playlist present (well, if you included Imagination on the next volume that is). But you’re right, The RAH Band would have been a nice inclusion.

    A few other missing songs (that missed out on both Now 1985 sets): Love and Pride – King, You Spin me Round – Dead or Alive, Walls come Tumbling Down – Style Council, I Know Him so Well – Elaine Paige/Barbara Dickson, Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade, Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F, I Feel Love – Bronski Beat/Marc Almond, Close (to the Edit) – Art of Noise, Lean on Me -Red Box, anything by Springsteen and maybe even the not very good but still a huge hit and a Now 5/Hits 3 straddler, Frankie. I might even make a case for the pretentious but still a favourite of mine, Election Day.
    Like 84, 85 is one of my favourite years so to fit them all in would be impossible.

    And then of course there’s Madonna. Possibly her biggest year of the 80s, three huge singles (and a couple of others that were no slouches). My choice, Into the Groove.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi – fair point re the other Now Dance tunes. I suppose I was looking back to where they were first compiled (and in 7″ form). For Madonna – a massive year – Into The Groove would be my choice too. A View To A Kill – Some Like It Hot – Election Day would be a brilliant sequence!

  2. cosmo says:

    I’ve always much preferred 85 to 84 music-wise. And yes, I would need 3 sets of 6 CDs worth to fit in all of my favourite tunes from 82, 85 and 88. (For a year with such a supposedly weak summer, it had loads of “summery” tunes in the charts!)

    Yes, the Anniversary version was better and was a corker – but this one was uniformly excellent too. Though Eurythmics There Must be an Angel and A-Ha’s Take on Me are painful omissions. Madonna (who was one of the year’s top acts) seems to never make it onto Now compilations? (Agreed on Into the Groove.)
    The dance sequence on CD2 would have benefitted with the inclusion of Amii Stewart’s Friends and the Rah Band’s Clouds Across the Moon.
    And probably another nice inclussion (though pushing it a bit) would be When Love Breaks Down by Prefab Sprout.
    I really can’t highlight any track here though, as this album is still fab. Probably Dan Hartman was the “surprise” track on this album (good as it is, not my favourite if his).

    And with Queen you could never go wrong. “Fried Chicken!”

    • Feel the Quality says:

      The Madonna absence is always something that baffled me. I could see her not being included on the main series back in the day as the Hits series monopolised her (and seemingly most of the big USA acts) but when the 10th Anniversary editions came along, they included a lot of those giant artists such as Prince, George Michael, Whitney Houston and others. Yet Madonna was still conspicuous by her absence.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Cosmo – nice shout outs for Prefab Sprout and Amii Stewart. Two fantastic singles of that year.

  3. andynoax says:

    I generally prefer 1985 to the year before, and this collection does a pretty good job of compiling the year, although King and Dead Or Alive are big omissions for me. Good to have Dan Hartman and a lesser heard U2 track on here.

    Goodness me, disc 2 gets very dull in the middle though. The Phil Collins track at least should definitely get the push!

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