In late 1993, Oglio (pronounced OH-LEE-OH) Records put a CD on the market entitled Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites. There was no indication at the time that it was the beginning of a series nor did HERC have any clue who Richard Blade was. HERC bought the CD specifically for one track: "World Destruction" by Time Zone, the unlikely union of John Lydon, Afrika Bambaataa and Bill Laswell. The 12" vinyl single was one of HERC's favorite songs but sometime in the late '80s he let someone close borrow it along with one of two copies of "Rock Hard", the hard-to-find "Back In Black" sampling single by the Beastie Boys. Long story short, the guy and the records disappear without a trace. (Just Googled him for the first time ever and it turns out he is co-owner of a styling salon in San Francisco; there's a picture of him and everything. Wow!) Life goes on and one day HERC is in Zip's, a local record store with five or six locations at their peak in mid-Nineties, and he sees another copy of the Time Zone record. He picks it up but then later finds this Flashback Favorites disc which contains the track so he puts the record down and buys the disc. After all, it had a few good songs he knew he'd listen to as well as a couple he was curious about. As it stands, it was HERC's very first New Wave compilation CD purchase and one of the very first New Wave compilations ever issued by any label - Rhino's definitive Just Can't Get Enough series was still six months away!
On a later visit (maybe after Christmas 1993) to yet another record store, HERC found the CD pictured above, which was Oglio's first entry into the New Wave compilation game, preceding the Blade disc by six months or so. Among the promised "NeW WaVe ClaSSiCs" were nine tracks HERC knew very well and three he didn't recognize. For reasons that escape his memory, HERC got rid of this disc and never tried to replace it. There's one listed on murfie.com - SCORE!
Which brings back to that first Flashback disc HERC bought. The smiling bloke on the cover is Richard Blade, disc jockey and actor. He actually played most of these songs when they were fresh and new, later hosting the popular "Richard Blade's Flashback Lunch" program on KROQ and can now be heard on Sirius XM's 1st Wave. In the liner notes, Blade says when he was approached by Oglio about putting together a CD, together they:
"established a few priorities. First, the songs had to good - no filler..." and "Secondly, we wanted...songs and versions, like extended mixes, that were never before available on CD."
Each disc in the series except for the sampler below contained a dozen tracks
In January 1994, still five months ahead of the initial wave of the Just Can't Get Enough discs, volumes 2 and 3 of Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites showed up in stores and a promo only series sampler disc (above) was sent to radio stations and disc jockeys. In the booklet included with Volume 2, Blade explains:
"The response has been overwhelming from Volume 1 so we decided to make a series out of it."
Sure, there were a few less of those extended versions this time around but for years, Volume 2 was the only place on compact disc you could get the legendary "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide" by The Kings in all of its full-length goodness. That alone made the disc worth acquiring. At least six other tracks remain HERC favorites as well. One of the cool things about reading Blade's liner notes is his familiarity not only with the music but with the artists as well; he interviewed them, introduced them onstage and even acted with them in major motion pictures. He often greets them and offers apologies to them within the notes.
Half the tracks this time around were of the extended variety and were so noted on the back cover. The song selection on Vol. 4 is the least appealing in the series for HERC with only 25% of them ranking among his favorites but when you three volumes into a series you gotta buy the fourth, right?
Then the deluge started and the floodgates opened; 1992-1995 should be recognized as the golden age of CD compilations as labels rushed to mine their vaults. (Check your collection, you'll see.) Rhino began its Just Can't Get Enough series while EMI had begun putting out its own excellent Living In Oblivion series even earlier. As HERC continued trolling the bins of longboxes (remember those?) at record stores he discovered other New Wave and Eighties compilations like the Rock of the 80's series from Priority Records and Capitol's own Sedated in the Eighties series. Time-Life followed up its sprawling Sounds of the Seventies series with an equally ambitious Sounds of the Eighties series, though the songs tended more towards "pop" then "New Wave" with an occasional crossover. In 1999, Time-Life launched the Modern Rock series of double-disc compilations which focused entirely on New Wave and alternative music. HERC has plans to feature all of these series and more here on The Hideaway.
Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites Volume 5 saw both a return to Sony Music and a dearth of those coveted "extended versions" when it was released in October 1994. The disc does rate a full-on 75% HERC-approved track listing. HERC didn't acquire this disc until the early 2000s. He could never find Vol. 5 until one day while surfing the internet, he came upon the Oglio Records site and they were selling the entire six-volume series as a set to clear out inventory. Despite having the other five volumes, HERC plunked down his plastic cash ($36?) and soon he had his complete series. Despite his hopes otherwise, Volume 4 came with the same generic cover art as the one he already had and several lucky friends received HERC's duplicate discs that Christmas.
For their final entries in the New Wave compilation game, Ogilo hit the dance floor with a couple volumes of Hit That Perfect Beat! Both volumes featured nine tracks, mostly extended dance mixes; each cover stating the disc contained "80s dance hits". Vol. 1 (back of CD booklet, above) was manufactured by Warner Special Products while Vol. 2 (back of CD booklet, below) came out via MCA Special Markets & Products. For years, Vol. 2 was the only compact disc that contained the Special Remix Version of "One Thing Leads To Another".
Issued in tandem with Vol. 5, Volume 6 turned out to be the final disc in the series and the tracklisting resembled some bottom of the barrel scraping. Admittedly unfamiliar with most of the songs, HERC grew to appreciate several of them and rates this disc at 42%.
Oglio Records then issued two discs in 1995 entitled Flashback Cafe, a Vol. 1 and a Vol. 2, as seen above. Having most of the tracks on other discs, HERC did not purchase them. The vibe of the song selection was more laid-back; the cover of Vol. 2 says it's "the best blend of 80's mellow new wave." HERC likes to listen to the playlists during Summer Monsoons here at The Hideaway.
DISCLAIMER: All playlists are HERC's best attempts via Spotify to recreate the albums as they were issued. While every effort has been made to exclude re-recordings, alternate versions of some original recordings are included on purpose.