Now That’s What I Call Music I was reissued with much fanfare late last year to coincide with Now 100, but the second album in the series arguably deserves more acclaim…

Now That's What I Call Music

Originally released in March 1984 and reissued now as a 2CD set, the 30-track Now That’s What I Call Music II was like a tape recording of the Top 40 as, mindful of the phenomenal success of Now I, tyro and veteran artists alike scrambled to be included.

1984 was the year, of course, of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the big, bold and banned Relax, but also of The Smiths and What Difference Does It Make?. Duran Duran (New Moon On Monday) figured, as did lesser lights from the fag-end of the electro-pop revolution: Nik Kershaw, Thompson Twins, Howard Jones, Fiction Factory.

The dinosaurs turned up: The Rolling Stones (Undercover Of The Night), Queen (Radio Ga Ga), Bowie’s glistening Modern Love, Paul McCartney’s regrettable Pipes Of Peace. Nor was novelty pop ignored – hello again Nena (99 Red Balloons), The Flying Pickets (Only You), Tracey Ullman (My Guy), and Joe Fagin’s theme tune to Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, That’s Living Alright.

The eternal curse and blessing of the Now series is that all pop life is there, both wondrous and wretched. But this is a fine period piece.

7/10

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Ian Gittins

 

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