Everyone remembers their first Now That’s What I Call Music album – for me, it was #7, kicking off with Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. 🙂
The compilation series releases its 100th edition this week, and while it’s fair to say that download culture has lessened its impact somewhat (we also surmise that the pig adorning the early covers has long since been turned into bacon), it’s still a momentous milestone for an concept that commenced in 1983.
909originals, however, as you know, is all about the old school, and with that in mind, we look back at seven times Now That’s What I Call Music went proper acieed!
Now 9… March 1987
While most of Now 9 is composed of mid-80s Stock, Aitken and Waterman style tat – Five Star? Pepsi & Shirlie? – Side 1 of Record 2 does feature arguably the first house track to top the charts, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s Jack Your Body.
Buried in with Freddie Mercury, Taffy and Curiosity Killed The Cat, it’s hardly an epoch defining dance compilation; rather a subtle nod to the nascent scene, just ahead of Paul Oakenfold et al’s legendary trip to Ibiza that summer.
Now 13… November 1988
Kicking off with Yazz’s The Only Way is Up, Now 13 indicated just how far dance music had come in a year and a half – as evidenced by Record 2, notable for the first use of the word ‘acid’, or should that be ‘acieed’, on a Now compilation, in the form of D-Mob featuring Gary Haisman’s We Call It Acieed.
I was never that much of a fan of D-Mob, to be honest, but the fact that on this compilation, it follows on from Inner City featuring Kevin Saunderson’s Big Fun, I’ll give it a pass.
Now 11… March 1988
The future Mrs Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, is the pop standout of Now 11’s Record 2 (with Joe Le Taxi), but things heat up after that, with some classic cuts from Bomb The Bass (Beat Dis), Coldcut (Doctorin The House), Jack n Chill (The Jack That House Built) and the Beatmasters and Cookie Crew (Rok Da House).
Just the tonic to get you in the mood for the ‘second summer of love’, which followed not long after.
Now 16… November 1989
What’s all this, lurking near the end of Record 2? Why it’s French Kiss, the genre defining house track by Lil Louis, which famously features a female orgasm about half way through.
Sadly, the version here is the ’Radio Edit’ [Ed: NOT the version below!] so no need for granny to spit out her false teeth when the record was played for the first time in many Christmas households.
Lil Louis’ masterpiece is notably preceded by Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam on this compilation, a nod to the more Eurodance direction the Now series would follow in the years to come.
Now 22… March 1992
Record 1 of Now 22 kicks off with Erasure’s cross-dressing Abba tribute, Take A Chance On Me, so you know the mix is going to be diverse. And so it comes to pass, as house music anthems nestle in between tracks by Nick Berry (Heartbeat, of course) and The Beautiful South.
CeCe Peniston’s Finally, Utah Saints’ Something Good and The Shamen’s LSI (Love Sex Intelligence) all make an appearance, before it all gets totally ‘ardcore with On a Ragga Tip (positioned after Ugly Kid Joe!) and The Orb’s Blue Room.
Now 19… March 1991
Again, the presence of bona fide house classics on Record 1 indicates the level to which dance was permeating the charts; here, the Now series pulls off arguably its finest segue of tracks, from track three through nine.
Over the course of around 20 minutes, the listener gets to enjoy, in order: The Source featuring Candi Staton – You Got the Love ; The KLF – 3 a.m. Eternal; C+C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now); Nomad – (I Wanna Give You) Devotion; EMF – I Believe; 808 State – In Yer Face; and Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack
How’s THAT for a slice of fried gold?
Now 17… April 1990
Now 17 truly is the daddy of acid house-tinged Now compilations: a time capsule of a time when everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was drinking the Kool-Aid.
Record 1features such downtempo delights as Beats International’s Dub Be Good To Me and Candy Flip’s trippy take on Strawberry Fields Forever, as well as an epic segue from Happy Mondays’ Step On into Primal Scream’s Loaded.
Record 2 picks up the pace, with Adamski’s Killer, Orbital’s Chime, Electribe 101’s Talking With Myself, and… shock horror… Everything Starts With An ‘E’, by E-Zee Possee featuring MC Kinky.
I have NO idea how or where the selection process took place for this one, but I’m hoping it took place on the balcony of the Hacienda, just as Mike Pickering was dropping a savage Balearic cut.
Reach for the lasers!
[Kudos to Gary Cookson, Richard Ian Tracy, massiveattack, OldPodge, InnerCityVEVO, Discofiebel, Music, etc for the YouTube uploads]