What Was On The First "Now That’s What I Call Music" Album?
28 July 2018, 10:00
The classic compilation series has reached the incredible of milestone of 100 editions this month. It’s taken them 35 years to get there - but what was on the very first LP, back in 1983? Let’s drop the needle on side 1, track 1 and find out…
RECORD ONE, SIDE ONE
Phil Collins - You Can’t Hurry Love
The drummer with Genesis finally makes the transition to pop superstar with this cover of the Supremes’ Motown classic. The video showcases his acting talents. Sort of.
Duran Duran - Is There Something I Should Know
Duran entered the halls of pop superstardom this year and the video was suitably grandiose (and expensive).
UB40 - Red Red Wine
The Brummie reggae outfit put aside their hard—edged political tunes for some more mainstream tracks. They covered this song thinking it was a Jamaican classic. Turned out it was originally done by crooner Neil Diamond. Oops.
Limahl - Only For Love
The former frontman with flavour-of-1983 Kajagoogoo went solo with indecent haste, but we genuinely don’t remember this one, just the Never-Ending Story theme tune. Do you like his jumper and braces combo?
Heaven 17 - Temptation
After splitting from The Human League in 1981, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh concocted this studio project, which had some excellent hits. This is the best known and is still a banger.
KC And The Sunshine Band - Give It Up
Harry Wayne Casey (aka KC himself) leads the band with this poptastic hit which took them from their R&B and disco roots to Number 1 in the UK charts. CHECK THE MOVES.
Malcolm McLaren - Double Dutch
Always on the lookout for the next big thing, former Sex Pistols manager McLaren teamed up with a New York skipping team and powered this tune with some authentic South African sounds and hip hop scratching. Skipping was suddenly dead fashionable in the UK for about three weeks.
Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
The Welsh power-balladeer teams up with Meat Loaf’s producer Jim Steinman for this epic piece of 80s nonsense. Video filmed in the home of gothic drama, Virginia Water in Surrey.
END OF SIDE ONE.
REMEMBER TO SET THE VIDEO FOR “FAME”
RECORD ONE, SIDE TWO
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
With this Number 1 hit, Boy George made the leap from clubland wannabe to pop legend. Please do not swim in the river.
Men Without Hats - Safety Dance
Obscure - but excellent - Canadian synthpop ditty. You won’t be able to get it out of your head for days, now. Video looks like a clip from The Hobbit.
Kajagoogoo - Too Shy
See Limahl on side 1. Hailing from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire this people of blue-eyed soul produced by Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran made the top of the charts, but pin-up frontman Limahl left barely six months after this hit the charts. That’s showbiz. Imagine dancing to this in a club in Romford on a Friday night.
Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow
Young Mike didn’t really follow up the huge success of 1973’s Tubular Bells, but he made a return to the charts with this folky ditty. It’s now best known (in our house) for being the theme tune to “Dave Angel: Eco Warrior” on The Fast Show.
Men At Work - Down Under
Huge, huge international hit for this Australian band - but it went sour when the publishers of the old classroom song “Kookaburra” took legal action, claiming the flute riff was similar to their melody. Great video.
The Rock Steady Crew - (Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew
The most “1983” hit on Now 1, this is hip-hop and the breakdance craze in all its innocent glory. Let’s body pop! Watch my lino!
Rod Stewart - Baby Jane
Like a lot of old rockers, Rod The Mod enjoyed a resurgence as one of the Old Guard in the 1980s (see: Elton John, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney). This is a respectable hit, but the cheesy video leaves a lot to be desired.
Paul Young - Wherever I Lay My Hat
1983’s vocal superstar scored big with this Marvin Gaye cover. He then went on to cover Love Will Tear Us Apart. Oh dear.
END OF SIDE TWO
GET SECOND RECORD OUT OF SLEEVE. POP DOWNSTAIRS FOR A PACKET OF DISCOS AND A CAN OF 7-UP
RECORD TWO, SIDE ONE
New Edition - Candy Girl
An adolescent Bobby Brown starred in this R&B kids’ group, which also spawned 90s crooners Bell, Biv AND DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant. The Jackson who?
Kajagoogoo - Big Apple
We really don’t need another Kajagoogoo track, thanks.
Tina Turner - Let’s Stay Together
After spending the latter half of the 70s in the wilderness, Tina reinvented herself as a superstar in the 80s, with this Al Green cover being a highlight.
The Human League - (Keep Feeling) Fascination
The League lost a bit of momentum following the massive success of their 1981 album Dare and this was something of a stopgap single. Fans of the synthpop pioneers were horrified by the appearance in this video of an actual guitar. Ugh!
Howard Jones - New Song
Synth solo star that shot up the charts in ’83. He was accompanied by a mime artist called Jed who “threw off his mental chains” as the lyrics suggested. Howard, people want to get home, stop blocking the exits!
UB40 - Please Don’t Make Me Cry
Another track from the ’40, this got to Number 10 in the charts.
Peabo Bryson And Roberta Flack - Tonight I Celebrate My Love
We can only speculate how many people were conceived to the sounds of this slushy ballad in the summer of 1983. Wow.
RECORD TWO, SIDE TWO
Tracey Ullman - They Don’t Know
Between being a comedian on the BBC and becoming a TV star in the US and launching The Simpsons, Ullman had a brief career as a pop star. This hit was written by the much-loved Kirsty MacColl.
Will Powers - Kissing With Confidence
Weird, weird hit from artist Lynn Goldsmith who uses a harmoniser to make her sound like a bloke on this guide to love and self-help. At least that’s the idea. Nile Rodgers was involved. Of course he was.
Genesis - That’s All
Phil Collins kept a successful solo career going at the same time as his main band, and 1982 saw Genesis go full-on pop. This tune seems to sum up his recent divorce, judging by the lyrics.
The Cure - The Love Cats
They did it! After years of producing gloomy albums and moping about in long raincoats, Robert Smith and co became proper pop stars with this student disco classic.
Simple Minds - Waterfront
Jim Kerr’s major bid to become the next U2, but the Breakfast Club was calling.
Madness - The Sun And The Rain
Chirpy and underrated single from the Nutty Boys. Someone should make a musical out of their songs, they really should.
Culture Club - Victims
Well, it was George’s year, so let’s leave on a high - literally. The video sees the Boy sat on a crane in what was the most expensive pop promo ever made (that week).