Now that’s what I call music history

Tomorrow sees the release of the latest Now album, and we have finally reached 100!

The name of the series came from a poster Virgin boss Richard Branson found in a bric-a-brac shop on Portobello Road, depicting a singing chicken and a pig exclaiming ‘Now that’s what I call music!’.

It’s 35 years ago now since the very first album was released back in 1983 and can you remember the very first song on side one? It was Phil Collins and his first solo number 1 with You Can’t Hurry Love. I recently read that a lot of artists apparently fought over themselves to get side one track one and they felt it gave them a higher status.

Queen apparently made it a condition for their inclusion initially but then I think all acts realised it didn’t really matter, as just being included on the album itself was huge thrill for them.

Robbie Williams is the most-featured artist in the compilation series, with Rihanna, Kylie and Girls Aloud making up the top four. Calvin Harris has appeared on just one album with three different songs!

I joined the party and bought Now 2, 3 and 4 all at the same time, well actually it was a Christmas present in 1984, so I was catching up for joining late.

I was never able to get hold of Now 1 as it wasn’t available at that time, and that still irritates me!

So much has changed since then, but the albums still sell in massive quantities despite the arrival of music streaming services where we can all make up our own compilation albums.

Some people have been avid collectors of the entire series and if you have some of the earlier editions on CD and good condition tucked away in the loft, hang on to them as they are increasing in value every year with some exchanging hands for hundreds of pounds.

Despite streaming and downloads, I suspect the albums will still be here in 35 years as Now 200 is released.

They really do time stamp our music tastes each year and are fantastic to look back on.

Although by then, I don’t expect to recognise any of the tracks and artists on disc two!

:: More mutterings on Twitter @stumcginley

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