Every Song on the Original 'NOW That's What I Call Music!', Ranked

1983 was a strange time for music, hair

By Kirk Miller

 
Now That's What I Call Music
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25 July 2018

“Play the hits!” music fans demanded.

And the record labels listened.

The original Now That’s What I Call Music! was released in England on cassette and double vinyl on November 28th, 1983. Containing 30 hits and 11 No. 1 songs, it launched a cottage industry of singles compilations that crossed record label borders and neatly encapsulated different musical trends.

(Kids, think of ‘em as more tactile Spotify playlists).

Sure, these albums sometimes go for the obvious and contain a lot of now-forgotten, should-be-forgotten one-hit wonders. But this isn’t a record for music snobs! A worldwide phenomenon, the Now! series currently spans over 24 countries and has racked up over 120 million record sales. Recently, the 100th edition of the U.K. series was released, and a 20th anniversary edition for the U.S. compilations is arriving later this year.

With those big dates in mind, we decided to make our own chart: Take a trip back with us to 1983 England, as we rank the original Now! hits.

KARAOKE CLASSICS

  1. “The Safety Dance,” Men Without Hats
  2. “Down Under,” Men at Work
  3. “Red Red Wine,” UB40
  4. “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Bonnie Tyler
  5. “Karma Chameleon,” Culture Club
  6. “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love,” Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack

GROUNDBREAKERS

7. “(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew,” Rock Steady Crew

8. “Double Dutch,” Malcolm McLaren

UNDERAPPRECIATED GEMS

9. “(Keep Feeling) Fascination,” The Human League

10, “New Song,” Howard Jones

11. “Temptation,” Heaven 17

12. “Candy Girl,” New Edition

SECOND-TIER SINGLES FROM CLASSIC MUSICAL ACTS

13. “The Lovecats,” The Cure

14. “Is There Something I Should Know,” Duran Duran

15. “Let’s Stay Together,” Tina Turner

16. “That’s All,” Genesis

17. “Waterfront,” Simple Minds

18. “Give It Up,” KC and the Sunshine Band

19. “The Sun and the Rain,” Madness

20. “Victims,” Culture Club

21. “Baby Jane,” Rod Stewart

IT’S A BRITISH THING

22. “Kissing With Confidence,” Will Powers

23. “They Don’t Know,” Tracey Ullman

24. “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home),” Paul Young

25. “Moonlight Shadow,” Mike Oldfield

26. “Please Don’t Make Me Cry,” UB40

THE WORST OFFENDERS

27. “You Can’t Hurry Love,” Phil Collins

28-30. “Shy” and “Big Apple,” Kajagoogoo; “Only For Love,” Limahl
Two songs by the C-level New Wave band ... who fired their singer. Who then grabbed his own forgettable solo hit (which actually only went to No. 16 on the charts). So, about three Kajagoogoo-related songs too many. But great hair!

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