NOW Dance 89 - Compilation Album
By Mark Nobes
The NOW Dance '89 album was released on 3rd July 1989, on double vinyl, cassette and CD. It was the third in the series, and no compilations were released in 1987 or '88, although don't ask me why! So did you buy this one?
You may also remember the very first release (which I bought on cassette) which came out on 1985, and this remains my favourite of them all.
It's interesting to hear how 1989 was such a very different year musically compared to 1985. Black music artists and electronic dance music (such as acid house) were definitely becoming more popular, and the rock genre was in decline, but there was a resurgence with Indie rock and Britpop in the 90s, of course, and rock never fell out of favour with myself, though.
The NOW Dance '89 album featured twenty 12 inch mixes, so if you loved your extended mixes then it certainly made for interesting listening. It was also a more cost-effective way to hear the tracks without buying the separate 12" singles, which would have cost me at least a whole weeks wages - I was still paid in cash back then and miss the thrill of ripping open my pay packet and holding all of those £10 notes!
There is one track on this compilation that I really don't remember at all by Maze called "Joy and Pain", and I can honestly say that I've actually never heard of it! Thankfully, I am familiar with the rest of the tracks on here, otherwise this would be a very short review of the album!
So now that one is out of the way, let me start with "Helyom Halib" by Cappella, which is my favourite on here. This was an early Italo House hit with a stunning 303 acid bassline. It was the group's first hit and was a lot less mainstream than their early 90s releases. I actually bought this on CD single which features an album's worth of remixes. Indeed, dance music was so fresh and exciting at this time.
"Buffalo Stance" is definitely one of the biggest hits on here, and Neneh Cherry released a new album called The Versions on June 10th 2022 - yes, she is still very much alive and recording new material! In fact, Neneh is now 59 years old, would you believe, and has continued releasing music since the 1980s, although her last hit was "7 Seconds" with Youssou N'Dour, which reached No.3 in the UK in 1994.
Another favourite on here is the Fine Young Cannibals track "She Drives Me Crazy". The band split-up in 1996, but reformed briefly to release a new single "The Flame" to promote their Greatest Hits compilation album. The single reached No.17 in the UK. However, this was not their last hit, as a remix of "She Drives Me Crazy" reached No.37 in 1997.
The song on here with the most classic 80s dance pop production is "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul, and it's the only one to actually feature electric guitars. The song reached No.3 in the UK and was the first of six consecutive No.1 singles in the U.S. It was lifted from her debut album Forever Your Girl.
"People Hold On" by Coldcut is notable for introducing us to the English singer/songwriter Lisa Stansfield. Little did we know that by the end of 1989, Lisa would have achieved success with a No.1 single "All Around The World" and a No.1 debut album, Affection, which eventually went triple platinum!
No dance compilation album from 1989 would dare not to include Soul II Soul in their track listing, and, thankfully, their first chart hit with Caron Wheeler "Keep On Movin'" is on side 1. The British group then released their massive follow-up "Back To Life", which was No.1 during the summer of '89.
Overall, NOW Dance 89 was definitely an album worth forking out for. It featured a nice blend of well-known, mainstream dance pop hits, hip hop and less mainstream house tracks, and offered something different to the main NOW 15 and 16 albums, which were released in the Autumn of this year.
Back in 1989, of course, the only way to listen to your favourite dance hits was to either wait for them to play on the radio, or visit a record store such as Our Price, (which was a chain of music stores that sold vinyl, cassettes and CDs) and buy a compilation album, which was the most convenient and cost effective way to listen to the hits. I used to visit my local store on a regular basis and this is another experience that I greatly miss.
Of course, you can listen to virtually anything you want to these days on sites such as Youtube, Spotify and Deezer, but the thrill of popping down to the record store and spending some hard-earned cash on some vinyl or a cassette will never be beaten.
View all the NOW albums from the 80s
1. Bobby Brown - My Prerogative (Extended Remix) 8:02
2. Neneh Cherry –Buffalo Stance 5:48
3. Inner City – Ain't Nobody Better (Groove Corporation Remix) 6:03
4. Soul II Soul / Caron Wheeler – Keep On Movin' 5:47
5. Maze* – Joy And Pain 7:20
6. Tone Loc – Funky Cold Medina 4:07
7. The Cookie Crew - Got To Keep On 5:06
8. The Beatmasters With Merlin – Who's In The House (The Hip House Anthem) 6:23
9. D-Mob* Featuring LRS* – It Is Time To Get Funky 7:17
10. Tyree* Featuring Kool Rock Steady – Turn Up The Bass (Super Duper Mix Part 1 & 2) 10:04
11. Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy 7:05
12. Paula Abdul – Straight Up (12" Remix) 6:52
13. Yazz – Where Has All The Love Gone? (US Extended Remix) 6:31
14. Kym Mazelle – Got To Get You Back (The Groovy Piano Mix) 6:20
15. Diana Ross – Workin' Overtime 7:33
16. Cappella – Helyom Halib (Part One) 6:33
17. Coldcut Featuring Lisa Stansfield – People Hold On 7:32
18. Paul Simpson Featuring Adeva – Musical Freedom (Free At Last)(Extended Freedom Mix) 6:21
19. Chanelle – One Man (One Mix) 7:49
20. Double Trouble And The Rebel MC* – Just Keep Rockin' (Sk'ouse Mix) 4:54