Warning, the following sentence could make you feel very old.

Today marks the release of Now 70 - the latest chart-hits compilation that originally launched as Now That's What I Call Music back in 1983.

Wow - 70 double-albums (plus many spin-off 'best of the decade' compilations) and 25 years: that's some franchise. 

As someone who bought the very first Now (on double-cassette, no less), I've been thinking back at how much - or little - things have changed in that time.

Here's the track listing for Now That's What I Call Music - and I defy anyone of a certain age NOT to be singing at least one of these before the list is through:

  • You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins
  • Is There Something I Should Know - Duran Duran
  • Red Red Wine - UB40
  • Only For Love - Limahl
  • Temptation - Heaven 17
  • Give It Up - KC & The Sunshine Band
  • Double Dutch - Malcolm McLaren
  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
  • Karma Chameleon - Culture Club
  • Safety Dance  - Men Without Hats
  • Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
  • Down Under - Men At Work
  • Moonlight Shadow - Mike Oldfield
  • (Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew - Rock Steady Crew
  • Baby Jane - Rod Stewart
  • Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) - Paul Young
  • Candy Girl - New Edition
  • Big Apple (Metro Mix) - Kajagoogoo
  • Let's Stay Together - Tina Turner
  • (Keep Feeling) Fascination - The Human League
  • New Song - Howard Jones
  • Please Don't Make Me Cry - UB40
  • Tonight I Celebrate My Love -Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson
  • They Don't Know - Tracey Ullman
  • Kissing With Confidence - Will Powers
  • That's All - Genesis
  • Love Cats - The Cure
  • Waterfront (Union Jack Remix) - Simple Minds
  • The Sun And The Rain - Madness
  • Victims - Culture Club

Crikey, some challenging choices there (two Kajagoogoo tracks AND a Limahl solo single?!), and - and this continued for many a year, as I remember - no real rhyme or reason in ordering. Mixtape genius it ain't, but it was chock-full of chart hits for the money. 

Yes, any youngsters reading, back then this was the only way to get lots of singles without a) being extremely rich and buying everything in the charts or b) taping them off your mates' copies (very naughty). And - despite being compressed enough to fit 20-odd songs on each side - still doubtless in higher-quality than a 128kbps download.

So, here in the day of downloads, how is Now still thriving? Well, as I write this, Now 70 is sitting at no 7 in the Apple iTunes album downloads chart - showing quite a touching brand loyalty when you could have/can buy the vast bulk of its tracks individually before today's release date.

The compilations now also include exclusive content - the CDs and downloads now contain videos and bonus tracks, plus a digital booklet -  which my teenage stepson insists is 'cool'. ('Cool' is, apparently cool again, by the way). 

The music's changed a little in 25 years, though. Here's Now 70's track-listing: 

  • Estelle feat. Kanye West - American Boy
  • Dizzee Rascal feat. Calvin Harris & Chrome- Dance Wiv Me
  • Mint Royale - Singin' In The Rain
  • Sam Sparro - Black & Gold
  • Duffy - Warwick Avenue
  • Sara Bareilles - Love Song
  • Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me
  • Ne-Yo - Closer
  • Girls Aloud - Can't Speak French
  • Kylie Minogue - In My Arms
  • Sugababes - Denial
  • Jonas Brothers - S.O.S.
  • Alphabeat - 10,000 Nights
  • The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
  • The Kooks - Always Where I Need To Be
  • Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
  • Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
  • Scouting For Girls - Heartbeat
  • The Feeling - Turn It Up
  • The Hoosiers - Cops & Robbers
  • Paul Weller - Have You Made Up Your Mind
  • Coldplay - Violet Hill
  • Rihanna - Take A Bow
  • Jordin Sparks with Chris Brown - No Air
  • Will.I.am feat. Cheryl Cole - Heartbreaker
  • Usher feat. Young Jeezy - Love In This Club
  • Mariah Carey - Touch My Body
  • Leona Lewis - Better In Time
  • Chris Brown - With You
  • Ironik - Stay With Me
  • Taio Cruz - I Can Be
  • The Script - We Cry
  • Britney Spears - Break The Ice
  • Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson & Nicole Scherzinger - Scream
  • Flo Rida feat. T-Pain - Low
  • Wiley - Wearing My Rolex
  • DJ Q feat. MC Bonez - You Wot!
  • Basshunter - All I Ever Wanted
  • Scooter - Jumping All Over The World
  • Ultrabeat vs Darren Styles - Discolights
  • Alex Gaudino feat. Shena - Watch Out
  • September - Cry For You
  • Fragma - Toca's Miracle 2008

So, leaving musical styles aside, in 25 years we've lost the fad for brackets in song titles, and gained the need to name every featured artist (whereas before everyone just KNEW stuff like Stevie Wonder playing harmonica on everything).

Oh, and Paul Weller's still doing the business (first Now appearance in 1984's Now That's What I Call Music 3,  with Style Council -  You're The Best Thing).

For more Now nostalgia - including track listings of all 70 editions: heaven for one-hit wonder fans - there's a dedicated website.  

But for me the burning question remains: whatever happened to the pig in sunglasses?

 

More after the break