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No dodgy remixes, no re-recordings, but not quite as advertised!
on 3 November 2012
"100 Hits: 80s Originals" is one of five new additions to the brand this autumn. Among this century of UK chart entries (hits is a little on the generous side as a description for some), there are a few genuine rarities but a much narrower range of acts than ever before (the EMI stable gets raided on this occasion, Warner having been host to many recent 80s sets from Demon). Plus, for the first time, the specific version or mix that is claimed to be on the disc does not always turn out to be what is actually on the disc.
So, for potential purchasers and perhaps anyone else who is interested in such matters, here are the main differences between what you see and what you get:
Heaven 17's Temptation is credited as an "edit", but is longer than the 7" mix on most Heaven 17 compilations (4:11 compared to 3:36). 19 by Paul Hardcastle is not actually claimed to be a single mix, so bear in mind this is the full 5-minute plus version from the album. Most compilations use one of two shorter edits around 3.30.
Simple Minds' Sanctify Yourself is not an "edit" but the usual 4.59 album version. Some mp3 retailers list it as 3.59 but on the CD it is a full minute longer.
Jingo by Jellybean should be listed as an edit, as this is the much shorter 4.25 single mix which is very hard to find anywhere, and does not appear on the original CD of Just Visiting This Planet.
Love Don't Live Here Anymore by Jimmy Nail is the shortest edit available, previously featured on NOW 1985 in the 90s and not the 3.48 mix from Jimmy Nail albums/compilations.
China Crisis' Christian is the full album mix, at 5.44, and neither an edit nor one that lasts 2.44, as the mp3 sites suggest in their tracklisting details.
All the other edits/mixes where noted on the CD sleeve and linernotes are as described. Several of them are fairly hard to get anywhere else, such as an even more edited mix of The Politics Of Dancing (3.48 compared to 4.10 and 4.16 on other 80s compilations), and the single versions of Let's Go All The Way and C'est la Vie. Listen To Your Father, a 1984 solo non-album single from Feargal Sharkey (written and backed by Madness) makes a very welcome first appearance on CD for at least 28 years, since the near-mythical NOW 4 was pressed in limited quantities.
Also be warned that many of the tracks are modern-day remasters, dating from 1999 right up to 2012, so they may sound slightly louder or clearer than earlier versions. The booklet is helpful in that sense, as it clearly lists what remaster is used where applicable.
Overall, this latest installment in the 100 Hits 80s series is really only for collectors and purists, since the biggest hits have been included several times already on other collections and the songs chosen to represent the likes of Kim Wilde, Kate Bush, T'Pau and so on might be considered "second division" selections by casual music followers. The upshot of this is that Breathing, View From A Bridge and I Will Be With You get the chance to shine, instead of the usual suspects Running Up That Hill, Kids in America and China In Your Hand.
As always, check the full tracklisting at leisure to make sure there is, to quote an old 80s advert, enough Fizz for your Bucks.