Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Three of a kind #36

Three tracks from The Hits Album 7 compilation today, which I picked up on double CD for the princely sum of 50p in a charity shop the other day. How I loved these albums back in my early record-buying days. So much so, in fact, that I'm now going to blather on about them at length. Don't say you weren't warned!

Conceived in late '84 as a rival to the hugely successful Now That's What I Call Music series, the Hits compilations were, for all their early success, eventually destined to fall by the wayside while their rivals continued to prosper, in much the same way that Betamax video tapes had been seen off by VHS years earlier.

A large reason for this may well have been because The Hits brigade never quite established their (shudder) brand as firmly as their Now counterparts had: whereas Now's early releases generally had pictures of that cartoon pig in sunglasses (an idea they filched from an advertising poster for Danish meat products, by the way!) and their distinctive logo adorning the sleeves, Hits never quite seemed to settle on a regular look for their releases; in fact, they couldn't even get something as straightforward as the numbering of the albums right. After successfully negotiating Volumes 1-10 they suddenly decided to change tack and christened the next release (ie what should have been Hits 11) Monster Hits.

But they weren't satisfied with that. They followed Monster Hits with: Snap It Up! Monster Hits 2 and The Hit Pack: The Best of Chart Music, before belatedly reverting back to the numbering system with The Hits Album 15 - despite the fact that this was actually the fourteenth release in the series! What a shambles!

Things became even more confusing as the series continued to be relaunched and rebranded intermittently throughout the nineties and beyond, always including the word "Hits" somewhere in the albums' titles, viz Hits 93 Vols 1-4, The Ultimate Hits Album, New Hits 96, Fresh Hits 96, Huge Hits 96, Big Hits etc etc, before suddenly and arbitrarily adopting the moniker Hits 50 for what was actually their 47th release, in 2001, in order to steal a March on Now, who were poised to release their own (actual) 50th volume shortly afterwards. So Hits 50 was basically a rather shameless attempt to "overtake" their rivals! The cheek!

This re-rebranding exercise obviously only had limited success, and by late 2004 (and Hits 60), the Hits had pretty much dried up - although, true to form, they did try one last repackaging exercise with Essential Hits, in 2005. It obviously can't have been that essential for the music buying public, though, as this proved to be the final release in the series.

Anyway, back to happier times, and Hits 7. There were quite a few songs from the 32 featured that I'd have been happy to include here (although perhaps not Spagna's Call Me, which, much like Dorian Gray's picture or a five-week-old pint of milk, has not aged at all well!), but these are the ones I've plumped for.

Alexander O'Neal - Criticize mp3

Desireless - Voyage Voyage mp3

Eric B. and Rakim - Paid In Full mp3

(mp3s available for 7 days)

Buy music by today's featured artists here


I Am Not The Beatles said...

There is a shockingly bad Special Dance Mix of Paul McCartney's admittedly already pretty awful No More Lonely Nights on Now 5.

*looks shocked*

But 'dis Spagna at your peril...

It's got a brilliant do-do-do-dooo-do-da-doo bit and a desperate use of the word the word 'slumber' :

"Hey I can wait but I beg you babe don't lose my number,
I tell you babe call me now coz I'm losin' slumber..."

That's genius in everybody's book, surely ?

Kippers said...

*cough* The pointless dance mix of No More Lonely Nights is actually on Now 5, as any over-earnest compilation album spod will tell you.

As for Spagna, I'm not convinced. I mean, If it hadn't been for the be-frightwigged Italian blazing a trail we'd probably never have ended up with the even worse Sabrina and Glenn Medeiros clogging up our summer charts the following year, so she's got a lot to answer for.

Now Ryan Paris's Dolce Vita - that really was an example of tip-top Euro pop!

I Am Not The Beatles said...

Oh so hilariously, I think we both meant to say Now 4 - and then oddly both didn't... so we are now both officially Now That's What I Call Going Bonkers.

You Spagna hater you... I'm going to kidnap you, tie you down and make you listen to the 12" of Call Me. At 7 and half stupidly long minutes, it feels a little like being waterboarded and it is certainly possibly that you may well admit to anything by the end - even secretly liking Owen Paul.

Kippers said...

Heh, blimey! Now 4 blindness. Who'd've thunk it?

No kidnap or Spagna torture necessary - I lurve Owen Paul. In fact (chuckle) listening to his one big hit is (snigger) one of my (splutter) favourite wastes of time.

I have little or no shame.

ally. said...

at least paid in full is an undisputed classic - i've been making scratching noises all morning

Kippers said...

And I've been thinking how I could get some Dead Presidents. (I had absolutely no idea what that line meant back in the day. Quite confusing it was!)

ally. said...

you don't want them matey they're bleedin worthless - you need solid gold or nothing