Now that's what I call my 30th birthday! Compilation celebrates three decades of pop

We all remember our first Now album...

Thirty years after its first compilation changed the face of pop, the Now That's What I Call Music series is marking its birthday.

Many music fans will recall with nostalgia giving the debut Now vinyl a spin when it hit record shops on 28 November 1983.

What are the artists on the first album doing now?

Despite digital downloads taking over from cassettes and CDs in the noughties, the iconic compilation is still going strong today.

Released last Monday, Now's latest album Now 86 sold over 200,000 copies in its first week to out-perform the rest of the Top 50 compilations put together.

But the likes of Duran Duran, Rod Stewart and The Cure from the first Now album have been replaced by contemporary artists spawned from the YouTube generation, including One Direction, Miley Cyrus and Ylvis with their comedy song "The Fox".

While the music industry remains in flux as the web's influence on pop culture grows, the Now brand has remained steadfast in its wide-ranging appeal. So much so that last summer’s Now 85 featuring Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" and Taylor Swift’s "22" became the biggest-selling album of the series, selling 900,000 copies.

Its long run has made Now the most successful compilation series ever and the longest-selling branded compilation album in the country.

While artist album sales are down 7.2 per cent year-on-year, with singles also suffering,compilations are up 7.7 per cent with 20.6 million copies sold in the UK last year.

The first Now That's What I Call Music was released on 28 November 1983 The first Now That's What I Call Music was released on 28 November 1983

Viral YouTube videos, music apps and attention-grabbing performances aside, the curation of pop is, it seems, still an art in demand.

“You can buy every track on iTunes or listen to them on Spotify but people want some guidance and help,” said Peter Duckworth, managing director of Now.

“In an era of downloads, when people said a few years ago that it’s the end of the compilation because people can now choose their tracks from iTunes, they’ve been proved wrong,” he told Sky News. “If you are faced with 15 million tracks, Now helps you choose.”

The popularity of Now lies in its ability to capture each age of music as a dynamic whole,  without simply presenting those artists considered “cool”.

The inspiration for the Now That’s What I Call Music title came from a 1920's advertisement for Danish Bacon that Richard Branson bought from Dodo's on Portobello Road. The Virgin Records director would make excuses to visit the bric-a-brac shop as he fancied the girl who worked there.

The poster, of a chicken singing to an appreciative pig declaring “Now, that’s what I call music”, caught eyes in a meeting to discuss potential names. The pig would then become a mascot of the series.

“It was a powerful and meaningful statement in its own right and, when abbreviated to ‘Now’, gave the ultimate contemporary message,” Branson said.

Incidentally, the entrepreneur’s wooing tactics were as much of a hit as his Now compilations. He went on to marry Joan Templeman, the lady from the shop.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices