NOW 100: The opening track on every NOW! album from 1 to 100

What can the first track on each NOW album tell you about the year it came out? We list the lot…

NOW 100: The opening track on every NOW! album from 1 to 100

Everyone has their favourite NOW album. Maybe it was the first one you bought, the one that you (or realistically your mum) worked hard to save up for. Or maybe it's the collection of songs you most associate with the highlights and lowlights of your younger days – the careworn CD or battered cassette you'd never leave the house without, its distinctive artwork bringing back a million memories.

This summer, the NOW albums reach 100. First launched in 1983, since then the compilations have aged a bit like dogs; three times as fast as humans. Happy hundredth birthday, NOW That's What I Call Music!.

Some tracks may have dated, while some are solid gold classics, but thanks to NOW, generations one shared reference point, as the music scene has changed around us.

MORE: What were compilations like before the NOW series?

The most coveted spot on every edition of the NOW album was Side A, Track 1 – or merely Track 1 if you are too young to remember when vinyl was a necessity not a trend and the days of cassettes getting chewed up in the tape deck – and it's true to say that each one is evocative of the period. 

Usually Track 1 was the biggest hit of the era, either on the radio or in the record stores, and more often than not topping the Official Singles Chart was a prerequisite to the prime position. So as a quick history lesson, we gathered together a list of every single one.

First off was Phil Collins and his cover version of the Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love, a Number 1. In total, 14 covers have opened a NOW album.

The first NOW opener not to hit Number 1 was earlier than you'd think – Paul McCartney's Number 2 hit No More Lonely Nights was Track 1 on NOW 4.

The first female artist to open a collection was Yazz and her Plastic Population in 1988, with huge summer smash The Only Way is Up on NOW 13. Things have started to balance out a little since then, with 41 of the 100 openers featuring a credited female artist. Between NOW 67 and NOW 77 there was a consecutive run of opening tracks by female artists.

Speaking of Girl Power, the inimitable Spice Girls claim the honour for most consecutive opening tracks: Wannabe, Say You'll Be There, and Mama opened NOW 34, 35, and 36.

Most opening tracks? Well, it could only go to Queen. The UK's rock royalty have landed seven opening tracks – starting with Radio Ga Ga on NOW 2 and ending on NOW 33 with Too Much Love Will Kill You. Lead singer Freddie Mercury scored one without the band too, opening NOW 10 with Barcelona, a duet with opera singer Montserrat Caballe.

Other notable multiple openers: Rihanna, Britney Spears, Duran Duran, Wet Wet Wet, all with 3; while Boyzone, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry, Pharrell, and Bruno Mars are among those with two each.

Find the opening track from your most memorable NOW below in our list of every Now That's What I Call Music! album ever.

NOW ALBUM

TRACK

ARTIST NOW RELEASE DATE

1

YOU CAN'T HURRY LOVE

PHIL COLLINS NOV 1983
2 RADIO GA GA QUEEN MAR 1984
3 THE REFLEX DURAN DURAN JUL 1984
4 NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS PAUL MCCARTNEY NOV 1984
5 A VIEW TO A KILL DURAN DURAN AUG 1985
6 ONE VISION QUEEN NOV 1985
7 SLEDGEHAMMER PETER GABRIEL AUG 1986
8 NOTORIOUS DURAN DURAN NOV 1986
9 REET PETITE JACKIE WILSON MAR 1987
10 BARCELONA FREDDIE MERCURY & MONTSERRAT CABALLE NOV 1987
11 ALWAYS ON MY MIND PET SHOP BOYS MAR 1988
12 WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS WET WET WET JUL 1988
13 THE ONLY WAY IS UP YAZZ AND THE PLASTIC POPULATION NOV 1988
14 SOMETHING'S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART MARC ALMOND MAR 1989
15 I WANT IT ALL QUEEN AUG 1989
16 SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE TEARS FOR FEARS NOV 1989
17 BLUE SAVANNAH ERASURE APR 1990
18 A LITTLE TIME THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH NOV 1990
19 SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO THE CLASH MAR 1991
20 DIZZY VIC REEVES & THE WONDER STUFF NOV 1991
21 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY QUEEN APR 1992
22 TAKE A CHANCE ON ME ERASURE JUL 1992
23 SLEEPING SATELLITE TAMSIN ARCHER NOV 1992
24 YOUNG AT HEART THE BLUEBELLS APR 1993
25 SOMEBODY TO LOVE (LIVE) GEORGE MICHAEL & QUEEN AUG 1993
26 (I CAN'T HELP) FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU UB40 NOV 1993
27 THE SIGN ACE OF BASE APRIL 1994
28 LOVE IS ALL AROUND WET WET WET AUG 1994
29 BABY COME BACK PATO BANTON WITH ROBIN CAMPBELL AND ALI CAMPBELL NOV 1994
30 TURN ON, TUNE IN, COP OUT FREAK POWER APR 1995
31 DON'T WANT TO FORGIVE ME NOW WET WET WET JUL 1995
32 HEAVEN FOR EVERYONE QUEEN NOV 1995
33 TOO MUCH LOVE WILL KILL YOU QUEEN MAR 1996
34 WANNABE SPICE GIRLS AUG 1996
35 SAY YOU'LL BE THERE SPICE GIRLS NOV 1996
36 MAMA SPICE GIRLS MAR 1997
37 MMMBOP HANSON AUG 1997
38 TUBTHUMPING CHUMBAWAMBA NOV 1997
39 NEVER EVER ALL SAINTS APR 1998
40 THE GREASE MEGAMIX JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUG 1998
41 NO MATTER WHAT BOYZONE NOV 1998
42 WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH BOYZONE MAR 1999
43 PERFECT MOMENT MARTINE MCCUTCHEON JUL 1999
44 …BABY ONE MORE TIME BRITNEY SPEARS NOV 1999
45 RISE GABRIELLE APR 2000
46 OOPS I DID IT AGAIN BRITNEY SPEARS JUL 2000
47 ROCK DJ ROBBIE WILLIAMS NOV 2000
48 WHOLE AGAIN ATOMIC KITTEN APR 2001
49 ETERNITY ROBBIE WILLIAMS JUL 2001
50 CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD KYLIE MINOGUE NOV 2001
51 HERO ENRIQUE IGLESIAS MAR 2002
52 IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES RONAN KEATING JUL 2002
53 HEAVEN DJ SAMMY NOV 2002
54 ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID TA.T.U. APR 2003
55 IGNITION (REMIX) R KELLY JUL 2003
56 WHERE IS THE LOVE? THE BLACK EYED PEAS NOV 2003
57 TOXIC BRITNEY SPEARS APR 2004
58 SOME GIRLS RACHEL STEVENS JUL 2004
59 CURTAIN FALLS BLUE NOV 2004
60 WHAT YOU WAITING FOR? GWEN STEFANI MAR 2005
61 YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL JAMES BLUNT JUL 2005
62 PUSH THE BUTTON SUGABABES NOV 2005
63 PUT YOUR RECORDS ON CORINNE BAILEY RAE APR 2006
64 CRAZY GNARLS BARKLEY JUL 2006
65 I DON'T FEEL LIKE DANCIN' SCISSOR SISTERS NOV 2006
66 GRACE KELLY MIKA APR 2007
67 UMBRELLA RIHANNA FEATURING JAY-Z JUL 2007
68 BLEEDING LOVE LEONA LEWIS NOV 2007
69 MERCY DUFFY MAR 2008
70 AMERICAN BOY ESTELLE FEATURING KANYE WEST JUL 2008
71 THE PROMISE GIRLS ALOUD NOV 2008
72 THE FEAR LILY ALLEN APR 2009
73 POKER FACE LADY GAGA JUL 2009
74 FIGHT FOR THIS LOVE CHERYL NOV 2009
75 BAD ROMANCE LADY GAGA MAR 2010
76 CALIFORNIA GURLS KATY PERRY FEATURING SNOOP DOGG JUL 2010
77 ONLY GIRL (IN THE WORLD) RIHANNA NOV 2010
78 GRENADE BRUNO MARS APR 2011
79 SOMEONE LIKE YOU ADELE JUL 2011
80 MOVES LIKE JAGGER MAROON 5 FEAT. CHRISTINA AGUILERA NOV 2011
81 SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW GOTYE APR 2012
82 WE ARE YOUNG FUN FEAT. JANELLE MONAE JUL 2012
83 GANGNAM STYLE PSY NOV 2012
84 ONE WAY OR ANOTHER (TEENAGE KICKS) ONE DIRECTION MAR 2013
85 GET LUCKY DAFT PUNK FT PHARRELL WILLIAMS JUL 2013
86 ROAR KATY PERRY NOV 2013
87 HAPPY PHARRELL WILLIAMS APR 2014
88 GHOST ELLA HENDERSON JUL 2014
89 ALL ABOUT THAT BASS MEGHAN TRAINOR NOV 2014
90 UPTOWN FUNK MARK RONSON FT BRUNO MARS MAR 2015
91 LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO ELLIE GOULDING JUL 2015
92 WRITING'S ON THE WALL SAM SMITH NOV 2015
93 7 YEARS LUKAS GRAHAM MAR 2016
94 THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR CALVIN HARRIS FEAT. RIHANNA JUL 2016
95 SAY YOU WON'T LET GO JAMES ARTHUR NOV 2016
96 CASTLE ON THE HILL ED SHEERAN APR 2017
97 DESPACITO (REMIX) LUIS FONSI & DADDY YANKEE FEAT. JUSTIN BIEBER JUL 2017
98 HAVANA CAMILA CABELLO FEAT. YOUNG THUG NOV 2017
99 THESE DAYS RUDIMENTAL FEAT. JESS GLYNNE, MACKLEMORE & DAN CAPLEN MAR 2018
100 ONE KISS CALVIN HARRIS & DUA LIPA JUL 2018

©2018 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

What does the first track on "your" NOW say about you? And how do you feel when you hear it? Tell us!