Now That’s What I Call Music Albums of the 80s
I cannot overemphasize the importance and influence of Now That’s What I Call Music albums (often called just Now for short). During the 80s they were the only compilation LPs many people bought, and when released each contained all the top hits from recent times.
At least one on vinyl was part of my own collection, though I can’t recall which it was. Perhaps it will come back to me while I’m researching and writing this post…
If you want to know all about the Now albums of the 80s and 90s, join me as I delve deeper into the musical archives. This piece will cover when the first Now That’s What I Call Music album was released as well as how many came out during the 80s.
Also included are some of the non-numbered Now albums – such as the Now 80s CD. The Now series were some of the first to be produced on compact disc, as the then-new format gradually overtook vinyl and tapes.
I was never a fan of tapes, and only owned vinyl albums or CD ones. All that fast-forwarding and rewinding to hear the song you wanted: I much preferred to put the needle on the record. Although there was the risk of skipping, scratching and so on. Which is precisely why CDs took over. They are still my preferred format today.
Anyway, here we go. Everything you (possibly) wanted to know about the Now That’s What I Call Music series can be found right here. Or via the links provided. But first, here’s a quick reference guide to the numbered releases of the 80s.
Now That’s What I Call Music Albums of the 80s
|1||November 1983||Culture Club, Duran Duran, Madness, UB40, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner||Click here|
|2||March 1984||Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Queen, David Bowie, Paul McCartney||Click here|
|3||April 1984||Duran Duran, Queen, Thompson Twins, Wham, Alison Moyet, Nik Kershaw||Click here|
|4||November 1984||Eurythmics, U2, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie, Kim Wilde||Click here|
|5||August 1985||Katrina & the Waves, Simply Red, Sister Sledge, Bryan Ferry, Phil Collins||Click here|
|6||November 1985||Arcadia, Queen, Level 42, Madness, UB40, Elton John, Feargal Sharkey||Click here|
|7||August 1986||A-ha, Housemartins, Genesis, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Ocean, Peter Gabriel||Click here|
|8||November 1986||Communards, Human League, Status Quo, Huey Lewis, Kate Bush, Grace Jones||Click here|
|9||March 1987||A-ha, Bon Jovi, 5 Star, Boy George, Ben E King, Freddie Mercury, Jackie Wilson||Click here|
|10||November 1987||Bananarama, Erasure, Kiss, Pet Shop Boys, T’Pau, Wet Wet Wet, Billy Idol||Click here|
|11||March 1988||Bananarama, Mel & Kim, Wet Wet Wet, Morrissey, Belinda Carlisle, Kylie Minogue||Click here|
|12||July 1988||Aswad, Communards, Heart, S’Express, T’Pau, Tiffany, Elton John, Maxi Priest||Click here|
|13||November 1988||Brother Beyond, Duran Duran The Hollies, Salt & Pepa, Robert Palmer, Yazz||Click here|
|14||March 1989||Erasure, INXS, Marc Almond & Gene Pitney, Paula Abdul, Roy Orbison, Yazz||Click here|
|15||August 1989||Transvision Vamp, Soul II Soul, Bobby Brown, Cliff Richard, Neneh Cherry||Click here|
|16||November 1989||Beautiful South, Milli Vanilli, Tears For Fears, Richard Marx, Tina Turner||Click here|
All about Now That’s What I Call Music in the 80s
Now That’s What I Call Music 1
The very first Now That’s What I Call Music album was released on 28th November 1983. It went to number 1 in the UK album chart – and platinum three times over. This first of the mega-popular compilations was initially sold on vinyl and cassette only.
80s bands and artists that featured on the original Now That’s What I Call Music album included Culture Club, The Cure, Duran Duran, Kajagoogoo, Madness, UB40, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Paul Young and Tina Turner. Culture Club, UB40 and Kajagoogoo had two hits each featured.
Now That’s What I Call Music numbered albums
16 numbered Now That’s What I Call Music albums were released between November 1983 and November 1989. The 17th came out in April 1990, after the start of the new decade.
Other Now That’s What I Call Music albums
As well as the numbered Now That’s What I Call Music 80s albums, several other titles were released during the decade itself. These included three dance albums, one Now That’s What I Call Christmas LP and three special editions.
Titles relating to the previous decade that became available during the 1990s included the 10th Anniversary Series released during 1993. There were seven of these covering the 80s – 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989.
In 1999, The Millenium Series was sold to mark the turn of the century. These ran from Now That’s What I Call Music! 1980 – The Millennium Series right up to Now That’s What I Call Music! 1989 – The Millennium Series, with ten titles spanning the entire decade.
2000 & on
Since the 80s, a number of Now That’s What I Call Music albums have also been released which feature music from the decade. Titles include Now That’s What I Call the 80s (2007 & 2015), Now That’s What I Call 80s Dance (2013) and Now That’s What I Call an 80s Party (2017).
The Now 100 Hits series also includes various 80s titles. These are Now 100 Hits: 80s, Now 100 Hits: Forgotten 80s, Now 100 Hits: Even More Forgotten 80s (all 2019) and Now 100 Hits: 80s No.1s (2020).
Now 1 to 12 have so far been re-released, and they came out between 2018 and 2022. Some of these differ slightly from the originals in terms of track listings and song mixes.
In 2021, Now began releasing special 4 CD editions, including Now Eighties Dancefloor (2021). During the same year the Now Yearbook series also became available. So far there are Now Yearbook and Now Yearbook Extra titles for 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. This covers the part of the 80s that passed before the original Now That’s What I Call Music was released – and beyond.
An interactive DVD game, Now That’s What I Call A Music Quiz – The 80s, also became available in the UK in 2007.
26 countries and regions of the world had their own versions of the Now That’s What I Call Music albums. These included the US, Canada, Australia, Asia and a number of European nations.
Some of these had different themes, such as Now That’s What I Call Country or Now Country available in the US and Canada respectively. Now Big Hits was a thing in Denmark, while in Italy music fans could buy Now – All The Hits albums.
In Japan, meanwhile, there were reggae, jazz and classical Now LPs. Now This Is Music was the series sold in the Netherlands. In Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the albums were available entitled Now That’s What I Call Arabia.
Countries such as Spain, Poland, France, Hungary and Greece had Now albums titled in their own languages instead of English. In the US, four Now Esta Es Musica! Latino albums were sold alongside the other versions between 2006 and 2009.
Now That’s What I Call Music FAQs
When was the first Now That’s What I Call Music album released?
28th November 1983 was the release date of the first Now That’s What I Call Music album. It was available on vinyl LP or music cassette. Acts whose music featured on Now 1 included Culture Club, Duran Duran, Madness, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and UB40.
How many Now That’s What I Call Music albums are there?
Up to April 2022, 111 Now That’s What I Call Music numbered albums had been released. There are numerous others, however, including the Now Dance, Now Christmas, Now 100 series and other special editions. Now 1 to 12 have also been re-issued since 2018, though some have one or more tracks missing.
What other Now That’s What I Call Music albums are there?
The Now That’s What I Call Music series has spawned hundreds of other editions besides the numbered albums. Themes include dance and Christmas as well as anniversary, yearbook, millenium editions and more. Special editions cover all genres, from Now That’s What I Call Love, Now That’s What I Call a Wedding! or Now That’s What I Call Chill to Now That’s What I Call Classical, Now That’s What I Call Power Ballads, Now That’s What I Call Disney Princess or Now That’s What I Call Dad Rock. A number of countries also had their own versions.
When were the Now albums released?
Now albums have been released since November 1983, and are still ongoing. The original numbered series has also been added to. Other types include the Now 100, Now Dance and Now Christmas series. Some of the 80s Now albums have been re-issued since 2018, though some have missing tracks.
Which are the best Now albums?
The Now That’s What I Call Music albums from the 80s are the most popular. Now 6, Now 8, Now 10 and Now 13 all went quadruple platinum at the time. Now 1 and Now 16 were the first and last 80s’ numbered Now albums and they both went triple platinum.
Which Now albums did you own in the 80s?
I still can’t remember for sure which of those 80s Now albums I owned! Though I’m pretty sure the vinyl sleeve was blue, and the cover of Now 11 looks the most familiar. Did you own any of these? Let me know in the comments section below!
- 80s compilation albums
- Top 100 singles of the 80s
- Best selling albums of the 1980s
- Top 80s bands
- Top selling 1980s artists
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