Happy Happy 30th Birthday to the wonderful Now That’s What I Call Music!
Now 39. That was my first, what was yours?
I remember, vividly, being in town on a Saturday with my mum and dad. It was April 1998 and I’d got some money from my birthday (15th if you’re wondering) and at the grand old age of 9 I decided I wanted a CD. So off we went into Pendulum Records (RIP) and my parents suggested the Now series. We looked at Now 39, newly released and so shiny – it had the Spice Girls, All Saints, Shania Twain! I was 9, I had little to no music taste at that point – all I knew was that this album had pop music galore and I couldn’t pay quick enough!
I was so very happy that day. I carried the little blue bag around like it was made of gold, telling everyone we ran into that I’d bought this AMAZING CD with my birthday money. I couldn’t wait to get it home and – very carefully so I didn’t scratch it – put it in my little CD player and start making up dance routines to Aqua. That CD played on repeat for months – until I discovered Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca in fact. But what I truly loved about Now 39 is that it opened up a world of music to me; a world which I am still engrossed in today.
Of course, I didn’t appreciate the likes of Radiohead or Pulp when I was 9, but when I’d look back at my old CDs during my early teens I had a new selection of songs to discover. And that is one of the greatest pleasures of the Now series, the breadth of music covered means there something for everyone to enjoy; even if you don’t like some tracks now, in a few years when tastes change you can still listen to same CD and gain as much enjoyment out of it as you did when it was new.
The Now range celebrates, three times a year, the best songs of the moment. The first track of disc 1 is always the most popular song at the time and it’s always interesting to see which one makes it. Currently, Now 86 is led by Katy Perry’s Roar (amazing song!), Now 85 was headed by Daft Punk’s Get Lucky (what else?). As Mark ‘voiceover extraordinaire’ Goodier says ‘Now That’s What I Call Music! has always been a hit because every edition brilliantly distills each 2 or 3 months in pop.’ And he’s true, its a wonderful piece of pop history which is fascinating to look back at.
And the enduring popularity of the series speaks volumes about its valuable place in music. According to Quietus, the current CD, Now 86 sold 270,000 copies in its first week on sale, down from Now 85’s first week of 317,000. In comparison, the highest artist album first week sales this year was for Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories which chalked up 165,000.
I want to raise a toast. To the delightful, compilation album that could, Now That’s What I Call Music! Long may it continue to inspire birthday presents, be a permanent fixture in every household’s music collection and celebrate the best music of the day!
Right, I’m going to listen to some Tin Tin Out.
Peace and love, Rx
Now That’s What I Call Music 39 Tracklist:
All Saints: “Never Ever”
Lighthouse Family: “High”
Janet Jackson: “Together Again”
Spice Girls: “Stop”
Natalie Imbruglia: “Torn”
Billie Myers: “Kiss the Rain”
Robbie Williams: “Angels”
Various Artists: “Perfect Day”
Boyzone: “Baby Can I Hold You”
Tin Tin Out featuring Shelley Nelson: “Here’s Where the Story Ends”
Space & Cerys Matthews: “The Ballad of Tom Jones”
LeAnn Rimes: “How Do I Live”
Shania Twain: “You’re Still the One”
Sheryl Crow: “Tomorrow Never Dies”
Radiohead: “No Surprises”
The Verve: “Lucky Man”
Pulp: “This Is Hardcore”
Robbie Williams: “Let Me Entertain You”
Catatonia: “Mulder and Scully”
Cornershop: “Brimful of Asha” (Norman Cook Remix)
Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins: “It’s Like That”
Wildchild: “Renegade Master ’98”
Ultra Nate: “Found a Cure”
Sash!: “La Primavera”
Aqua: “Barbie Girl”
Louise: “Let’s Go Round Again”
Camisra: “Let Me Show You”
DJ Quicksilver: “Planet Love”
Rest Assured: “Treat Infamy”
Warren G featuring Sissel: “Prince Igor”
Lutricia McNeal: “Ain’t That Just the Way”
Prince Buster: “Whine and Grine”
The All Seeing I: “Beat Goes On”
Backstreet Boys: “All I Have to Give”
Vanilla: “No Way No Way”