If Out Now went on a bit longer

Out Now cropped

The short-lived “third force” in the UK pop compilation world nearly came a cropper at the outset with a legal challenge from EMI and Virgin. The labels behind Out Now! – MCA and Chrysalis – strongly maintained that their release was not intended as a copy of the Now series. The first volume was quite successful on its launch in May 1985 and contained number ones from Paul Hardcastle and Phyllis Nelson. However the second instalment – arriving over five months later – struggled to licence successful chart hits, obvious for the inclusion of a number of top 75 tunes. This mini-project works on the premise that the series continued for two more volumes, settling down to an annual release in May of 1986 and 1987. In those years, the Now and Hits series avoided direct competition with each other until the November releases. Playlists for the two are now on Spotify – links below – and a couple of track substitutions were required – denoted by an asterisk in the listings. The originally-intended song will be mentioned underneath. In an ideal world, every 7″ mix would be on Spotify but there is a tolerance for album versions once they’re not excessively lengthy. Each one consists of 28 songs over four sides of vinyl. Please take the side breaks into account when listening & I encourage people not to use the shuffle option as sequencing and track flow is key. Feel free to add your suggestions or comments below.

Out Now 3
Record 1 Side 1
01 Cliff Richard & The Young Ones – Living Doll
02 Go West – Don’t Look Down: The Sequel
03 Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down
04 Clannad featuring Bono – In A Lifetime
05 Sting – Russians
06 Sarah Brightman & Steve Harley – The Phantom Of The Opera
07 Nana Mouskouri – Only Love

Record 1 Side 2
08 Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
09 Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F1-11
10 Samantha Fox – Touch Me (I Want Your Body)
11 Aretha Franklin – Who’s Zoomin’ Who
12 The Real Thing – You To Me Are Everything
13 Sophia George – Girlie Girlie
14 Atlantic Starr – Secret Lovers

Record 2 Side 1
01 Arcadia – The Promise
02 John Taylor – I Do What I Do (Theme From 9 1/2 Weeks)
03 Midge Ure – That Certain Smile
04 Bryan Ferry – Windswept
05 Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Cut Me Down
06 Ozzy Osbourne – Shot In The Dark
07 Art Of Noise featuring Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn

Record 2 Side 2
08 It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune)
09 Hipsway – The Honeythief
10 Cactus World News – Years Later
11 Suzanne Vega – Marlene On The Wall
12 ABC – Ocean Blue
13 The Pogues – A Rainy Night In Soho
14 Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms

Released May 1986. There was a four month gap between Hits 4 and Now That’s What I Call Music 7. What better to fill the gap than Out Now 3. The exclamation marks are gone. Licensing is basically whatever they can get. So there’s two #1s and in total, 10 tracks here reached the UK top 10. On the other side, four missed out on the top 40 with the second half a far more esoteric selection. Arcadia rub shoulders with John Taylor’s soundtrack gem while It’s Immaterial’s Balearic classic Driving Away From Home never gets old. Cactus World News and their storming Years Later, a real case of what if – while In A Lifetime paired with Russians reminds me of walking to school in the rain of January ’86.

Out Now 4
Record 1 Side 1
01 Suzanne Vega – Luka
02 Billy Idol – Don’t Need A Gun
03 Genesis – Tonight Tonight Tonight
04 Duran Duran – Meet El Presidente
05 Robbie Nevil – Dominoes
06 Huey Lewis & The News – Simple As That
07 The Bangles – Following *

Record 1 Side 2
08 Kim Wilde & Junior – Another Step (Closer To You)
09 Eurythmics – Missionary Man
10 Tina Turner – What You Get Is What You See
11 Rosie Vela – Magic Smile
12 Anita Baker – Caught Up In The Rapture
13 Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself
14 Al Jarreau – Moonlighting Theme

Record 2 Side 1
01 Fine Young Cannibals – Ever Fallen In Love
02 The Smiths – Sheila Take A Bow
03 The Housemartins – Five Get Over Excited
04 That Petrol Emotion – Big Decision
05 The Fall – There’s A Ghost In My House
06 The Mission – Severina
07 Spear Of Destiny – Never Take Me Alive

Record 2 Side 2
08 The Cult – Lil’ Devil
09 Gary Moore – Friday On My Mind
10 The Damned – Alone Again Or
11 Timbuk 3 – The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades
12 The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go
13 World Party – Ship Of Fools
14 Glass Tiger – Someday *

Released May 1987. This one bridges the gap between Now That’s What I Call Music 9 and The Hits Album 6. Pickings are slimmer with just four top 10 hits included. Six tracks failed to make the top 40 with one peaking at #80. Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s farewell Watching The Wildlife should be here but the radio-friendly 7″ is not on Spotify so side 1 concludes with The Bangles’ creepy Following. There’s a distinctly indie vibe to side 3 with The Fall (in their Smash Hits phase) making an appearance. After the two ’60s covers, the home stretch throws off the shackles into a glorious rock meets sophisti-pop finale. My ideal closing track was Diamond Lights, a slab of doom-laden synth pop from Glenn & Chris. Sadly unavailable but Glass Tiger are total supersubs with their evocative Someday. 1988 would see Now go to three volumes a year so Out Now bowed out gracefully. Again.

4 Responses to If Out Now went on a bit longer

  1. Andrew Chinnock says:

    Bravo! I’ve had them on play this evening. Learned lots of new music, tracks that have been dormant and almost unplayed for decades. I am well impressed with your knowledge and way around 80s music. Out of curiosity, have you ever tried Popmaster on Radio 2?

  2. antster1983, Patron Saint of Buzzcocks says:

    Chrysalis & MCA wish to thank the following Record Companies for their contribution to making Out Now! [add number] the finest hits compilation to date:

    Out Now! 3: WEA, CBS, RCA/Ariola, A&M, Polydor, Carrere, EMI, Jive, PRT, Winner, Polydor, Virgin, Phonogram & Stiff

    Out Now! 4: A&M, Virgin, EMI, CBS, RCA/Ariola, WEA, Motown, London, Rough Trade, Go! Discs, Polydor, Beggars Banquet, Phonogram & I.R.S.

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