32 episodes

Celebrating all things related to the variously compiled world of pop.
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Back to NOW‪!‬ Pop Rambler

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Celebrating all things related to the variously compiled world of pop.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    NOW 26 - Autumn ‘93: Will Hodgkinson

    NOW 26 - Autumn ‘93: Will Hodgkinson

    Welcome to 1993. Autumn, to be exact. 
    And how was it all looking?
    Well, it wasn’t really baggy like 1990, or rave-y like 1991, but it wasn’t Britpoppy like 1995. It was all a bit…well, who knows? Can we say, a bit of a pop hinterland?
    And were there any clues across our ever reliant pop culture landscape for how ‘93 had shaped up? Well in a year that saw the launch of two modern icons - the Vauxhall Corsa and QVC - actually, perhaps, we’ll come back to them later. Not!
    Back to the hinterland then. We had the ever reliant and still relatively imperial Neil and Chris, resplendent in their dayglo uniforms marching to the Village People in Moscow. Or perhaps your CD single (with 6 extra dance mixes) was celebrating the glorious invasion of Europop of Culture Beat, 2 Unlimited and Haddaway. Or maybe you were, frankly too cool for school and had bunked off to the shimmering r’n’b from SWV, Janet and Eternal.
    And where was Indie? What even was indie in 1993?
    One thing is for certain, your musical tribe in 1993 was considerably, undeniably, very untribal. 
    But isn’t waiting for the Next Big Thing - and spotting the red herrings along the way - so terribly exciting?
    So if it’s autumn ‘93, it’s definitely time for NOW That’s What I Call Music 26! 
    And joining us for this excursion back 30 (!) years, none other than author and chief rock & pop critic for The Times Will Hodgkinson. 
    Will selects his highlights from the wonderfully packaged 40 Top Chart Hits as well exploring the wider pop culture landscape of 1993. Along the way, we discover Will’s inspiration for his, quite frankly wonderful exploration of 1970’s pop ‘In Perfect Harmony’ and how 1973 and 1993 really had a lot more in common than you may think.
    We also take excursions into some of 1993’s other memorable musical moments, courtesy of Bjork, London’s eclectic club scene and (unashamedly) Bowie’s Buddha of Suburbia (with a real cameo from Will, no less!)
    Expect starring (and a few understudy) roles from Meat Loaf, The Shamen, Lawrence from Denim, Stakka Bo (only a bit Stereo MCs), Crustys, Frank Farian, Hacky sacks(!) and some illicit colour photocopying - you will be shocked!
    All of this and much, much more!
    And find out why the Spin Doctors (amongst a few others) will not be returning our calls.

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    • 1 hr 20 min
    Back to NOW Christmas Flexidisc 2022

    Back to NOW Christmas Flexidisc 2022

    Welcome to this bonus edition of Back to Now!
    A small but perfectly formed bite-size extra serving of Festive Pop!
    To compliment the end of year review of 2022, enjoy a collection of previous lovely guests as they revisit some memorable Christmas hits.
    Or should that be December hits? Or Christmas adjacent pop?
    You decide, wonderful listeners!
    Indeed, in the true sense of pop memorabilia, consider this a free gift flexidisc stuck to the front cover of your double edition festive Smash Hits, back in the day - without the need to remove the sellotape and damage the cover - isn't the 21st century brilliant?
    So for 20 minutes - less than the time taken to baste your turkey - enjoy some facts and memories on hits by the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, The KLF (and Tammy!), The Housemartins, Culture Club, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl and Band Aid.
    Merry Christmas Back to Now listeners, have a good one and we'll see you bright and early on the other side!

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    • 17 min
    The Back to NOW Review - 2022

    The Back to NOW Review - 2022

    Festive greetings and welcome to what all of the Pop Kids are rightly calling the 2nd annual Back to Now review for 2022!
    Can it really be a whole 12 months since we last pulled up a cosy chair, poured ourselves a large creme de menthe and ruminated on the variously compiled world of pop? Well, yes indeed and so much has happened since! We don’t talk about politics here, no, no no - it’s all about the music. And whilst 2022 saw some genuinely big passings, we also saw some spectacular pop moments! Harry (Styles not the other one) and Kate (Bush, not the other one) ruled the charts over the spring, LF system begged the rather confusing question were we ‘afraid to feel’ for the whole summer and the autumn and quite probably the winter belongs to Taylor and her many clock face guises! 
    But whilst volumes 111-113 expertly guided us expertly through the official singles chart, the story of NOW again has been much, much MORE!
    Electronic, Punk, 80s dance, 90s dance, Pride - compilation fans you have been spoilt! 
    And of course, let’s bow in reverence for the ongoing blistering success story that is the NOW Yearbooks! Feel the Quality indeed!
    With so much to explore we implore you to put down the decorations, chase away the carol singers and enjoy a romp through the pop wonderland of 2022 with our very three wise special guests. 
    Sounds of the 80s producer and chairperson for the ‘get all madonna remixes on Spotify Now’ campaign - Johnny Kalifornia.
    Pop journalist and chairperson for ‘The Human league are for life not just Christmas’ campaign - Ian Wade.
    And the man who can either be found lunching with xPropaganda, sipping cocktails with Bryan Ferry or entertaining the masses on a Saturday afternoon at the world famous Duckies nightclub, Mark Wood.
    And as it is that special time of the year, expect some fabulous extra guests too!
    So gather around, get festive and join us for a memorable twelve months in the world of pop and NOW.


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    • 1 hr 12 min
    NOW 9 - Spring '87: Will Harris

    NOW 9 - Spring '87: Will Harris

    Jack, jack, jack….wait? What? Who is this Jack?
    It’s 1987, and the future has arrived in the shape of the first No1 of the year courtesy of Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley - House Music is here!
    Hold up, wait a minute!
    As the ninth edition of the famous Now, That’s What I Call Music testified from within it’s (so 80s!) Ring binder cover, the charts were much more varied. Whilst dance music was loading up its record box and turning up the BPMs for the coming 12 months, the 30 top chart hits across the four sides of the latest compilation was telling a whole different story. Those big jeans adverts (or was that River Phoenix?) were bringing a spritely 48 (!) Year old Ben E. King back to the top, Jackie Wilson was r-r-r-r-esplendent in plasticine all over again and even Freddie Mercury was camping up The Platters smash from 1956 with The Great Pretender. 
    What decade are we in again?
    Fear not, as 1987 was definitely serving up its fair share of blistering singles from the likes of Robbie Nevil, The Blow Monkeys, a-Ha, Westworld and many others! Bright new things like Erasure, Curiosity Killed The Cat and Simply Red were rubbing shoulders with more experienced chart names like The Pretenders and Genesis whilst a swingorilliasnt smattering of one-off acts like Mental As Anything and Taffy were providing some shiny, memorable pop memories.
    And Hot Chocolate were back, Back, BACK and testing our knowledge of which Greatest Hits they were promoting this time (clue - not the Malteser one).
    So much to unpick, and who better to do it with than pop fan and Needle Mythology records’ Will Harris.
    Find out how Will passed his Elvis impersonator test (and which song he chose), how he championed the store racks (and West London's soul boys) of the 80s Our Price stores, and how the Finn Brother’s dad provided some much loved appreciation for his sons’ demo tracks.
    And discover Will’s big 1987 favourites from NOW9 and what was missing (spoiler - they were all on HITS6!)
    Let's fly high (like a rocket in the sky) back to a pop year like no other, and get ready for some great (BIG HAIR) memories!
    Altogether now, woooahh, we're half way there....

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    • 1 hr 23 min
    NOW 19 - Spring ‘91: Niall McMurray

    NOW 19 - Spring ‘91: Niall McMurray

    1991.
    It was the first palindromic year since 1881, and to be honest I’m not really up on the hits of that particular Victorian number. 
    (Newsflash: Bruckner’s 6th Symphony was pretty hot that year)
    Fast forward to the 2nd year of the ‘nineties’ as we called it, and there are plenty of other newsflashes abound. War in the Gulf dominated the spring (news and charts, but more of that later), Eastern Europe was reshaping, and on TV it was either Springfield or a cup of damn fine coffee. 
    So what was taking up the prime positions on the nation’s favourite compilation series in March 1991?
    Well, you actually may have been wondering what year it actually was. 
    1982? 1987? 1965? 1970? They were all here (you know which songs were which, don’t you? Of course you do.)
    Yes pop fans, TV, film, and TV films amongst other factors (chewing gum, jeans, Patrick Swayze) were all leaving quite a mark on the topper most region of the charts. 
    However fear not! The story of NOW, That’s What I Call Music 19 is much, much more - resplendent in it’s purple and yellow (ahem!) gatefold cover. The biggest number of tracks to date (34!), encompassing the blossoming decade’s many exciting genres (and Stevie B).
    And so we throw open the doors and welcome (amongst others) The KLF broadcasting loud and proud on Radio Freedom, Massive (yes, no Attack during this war period) providing a bona fide Unfinished classic, Kylie being totally imperial, Seal being totally everything and Chris Rea being like a pub (we believe) and providing youngsters up and down the country with the perfect CD for Dad this Christmas.
    Elsewhere there were big ballads (Oleta and long haired ‘serious’ Rick), big dance (The Source and Nomad) big pop (Belinda, her wonderful hair and INXS) and a majestic (if not entirely singable) ending from Steve Howe (and Queen).
    And yes, alright, seeing as you ask the totally amazing Banderas. One hit wonder or not? You decide.
    And indeed our guest does! Into the PopVoid blogger (he says it’s coming BACK, possibly) and all round Scots pop super fan Niall McMurray steers us expertly and enthusiastically across the hits, headlines (and Stevie B) from volume 1991. He also provides some great stories about growing up and branching out as a student in Glasgow (I was there too!), suggests some amazing (and they are AMAZING) missing tracks and we both, quite frankly, gush justifiably about ABBA Voyage. 
    All of this and much more (it says in my notes) - and find out why EMF, Hale and Pace and probably several others won’t be returning our calls anytime soon. 
    1991 - Awesome! (As a few other similar looking compilations told us.)

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    • 1 hr 12 min
    NOW 18 - Autumn ‘90: Lucy Bright

    NOW 18 - Autumn ‘90: Lucy Bright

    1990. 
    Well it certainly was time for the guru, but as the first year of the new decade was drawing to a close, it was time - a little time, if you will - for so much more. And as always, our favourite compilation series was there to capture it all.
    So volume 18 provided us with the NOW albums second numbered album of 1990 in the shape of big ballads, bigger ballads, pop, rock, dance, indie and even Timmy Mallet. Yes, all life forms were present and correct! 
    Elton was BACK and, with Bernie Taupin, scoring his biggest hit in years (and a first solo No1!). Sinead was rewriting the Prince songbook and music video like no one else could, William Orbit was quietly ushering in the rest of the decade with some fascinating rhythms and Kylie was not only sidling nicely alongside her then boyfriend Michael in INXS, she was riding on the love train somewhere back in time.
    There were remixes and reissues aplenty too; best of albums for PiL and Talk Talk alongside (are we allowed to say indie dance?) excursions from The Cure, Sting and Suzanne vega were reminding us that the 80s were still a force to be remixed with.
    And so to step back in time to NOW18 in this episode we are joined by film and TV music supervisor Lucy Bright. 
    Lucy started out at Mute Records working with artists such as Nick Cave and Depeche Mode, she then moved to Warner Classics for six years before leaving to manage composer Michael Nyman.
    In 2020 Lucy launched her own music publishing company, Bright Notion Music, which currently represents and nurtures some of the world’s most influential artists and composers working today. 
    And Lucy has music supervised some of the most critically-acclaimed British films and TV series of recent years: Samantha Morton’s directorial debut The Unloved, Charlotte Wells’ Cannes winning After Sun and both Shane Meadows’s This is England ‘90 and The Virtues.
    So we can think of no one better to navigate us through an album chock filled with film and TV related tracks! 
    Jeans! Pottery Wheels! Julia Roberts! Bridesmaids! Julian Temple in the desert! Tim Pope in a wardrobe! 
    As well as deciphering these conundrums, Lucy also joyfully revisits her first (and only?) NOW album whilst delighting us with some wonderful and personal stories including guest appearances from Youth, James Mason, Prince (and a chocolate milkshake), Michael Hutchence, Shane Meadows and Holly Knight (she wrote some big songs, oh yes) to name but a few! 
    1990 - who has time for the guru with all of this going on?
    Jump straight back in to the wonderfully eclectic and memory packed NOW18!


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    • 1 hr 7 min

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Wonderful podcast, can’t recommend highly enough for lovers of all things pop

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