Wednesday, 29 May 2013

30 years of 'Now that's what I call music!'

"Now that's what I call music!" has been part of our vinyl / cassette / CD / mini disc / download collections for 30 years, and is a name that is recognised by tweens and 40-somethings alike (maybe older if you have a cool grandma!). At some point, you probably owned a 'Now', whether it be 1 or, the most current, 84 or any in between.

Now! took over from the cheap and nasty compilation albums of the 70's and gave the public what they had been waiting for, all the biggest hits on the same album. They also gave lesser known bands and singers a chance to be heard, as producers often cut deals to push new artists; e.g. "you can have Phil Colins if you feature these two tracks (from lesser known bands) on the album too". This has resulted in the Now! albums providing an eclectic mix of music three times a year since 1983. Despite rival record companies offering similar compilation albums from time to time, none have managed to knock Now! off the top spot.
Now 3
NTWICM 3 featuring the pig as
part of the branding.
Now One Front
The first Now! album.

Now One Back
The back of the first Now! featuring
the poster from which the series got its name.
We were surprised to discover that the Now! series was created by Virgin, for some reason we just assumed it was its own brand, it has been such a huge success without having to broadcast who created it!

After watching ITV's documentary, and doing a bit of research, we found out some more facts about Now! some of which are quite surprising:

- The first ever song to appear on Now! was Phil Colins - You can't hurry love.

- Girls Aloud are the longest running consecutive artists having appeared on 13 Now! albums (54 to 66).

- Songs are edited to remove swearwords, this happened to ruin the concept of Mark Owen's song Four Minute Warning, which, you guessed it, was supposed to be exactly four minutes long.
Now 6
After Now! 5 the pig was dropped.
Now 21
At this point Now! had found their
signature look. This grouping of text
has not changed much since.

Now 18
By Now! 18 the 'snooker' ball logo
was dropped for a bolder look.

- Now 4 was the first album to be released on CD.

- Madonna has never appeared on a Now! album, and was once knocked off the number one chart spot by Now! 10. She campaigned for compilation albums to have a separate chart.

- The series has had over 100 million sales globally.

- Many countries have their own versions of Now! including Korea, Turkey, Israel and Norway.

- The total number of tracks on the UK Now! albums is 2693.

Now 84
The lastest numbered Now! album.
Now 30 Years
The pigs have made a come-back on
the commemorative album.

All of this got us discussing the first Now! albums that we bought. Owen has the first 'Now that's what I call music!' on tape! (Thinking about this caused a couple of laughs reminiscing about the issues we faced with tapes, such as winding the ribbon back in with a Biro). The first album Lucy remembers listening to is Now! 42, which included the likes of Steps, Billie and the Spice Girls. Annabel remembers Now! 43 as her first album, and Ross has Now! 44 somewhere at home, and he distinctly remembers that CD featuring Eiffel 65's 'Blue'.  

Which was the first Now! Album you bought?

Sources of Information:!