[Back in July 2018, I wrote about NOW 100 here on The Hideaway and declared it to be my final NOW post. Then came the NOW Yearbook '83 and I've been sucked back in...for NOW.]
When I was making mixtapes (and later, mix CDs) for friends and family a couple of decades ago, one of the most requested themes was one I called High School Years. This would usually break down into four tapes or discs, with each one corresponding to a year in high school (Freshman, Sophomore, etc) as well as their matching calendar years and the music from those years.
I never got around to making a High School Years series for myself though it could be said pretty much nearly every mixtape I made for personal use from 1980 to 2000 or so was surely an exercise in that same form of nostalgia.
Today's featured album from the bloody bastards at NOW HQ serves as either a refreshing, pointless, or frustrating flashback for my fellow music fans.
Paul Sinclair announced NOW Yearbook '83 on his fantastic Super Deluxe Edition site about a month ahead of its June 2021 release date. This spiffy compilation contains 80 songs that were popular in the United Kingdom during my Junior and Senior years and comes in three formats:
- a limited edition deluxe 4CD hardcover 28-page book version (left),
- a standard wallet-style 4CD digipak (right),
- and an even more limited edition 3LP version printed on red translucent vinyl that only features 43 tracks from the CD formats (center)
The comments section on Paul's post immediately exploded with excitement, criticism, and speculation: Was NOW Yearbook '83 the beginning of a new series of massive 4CD annual compilations or simply a one-off cash-grab? Was 1984 the next in line? When could we expect another NOW Yearbook? Why was (insert song from 1983) left off the set? Which version should I buy? Why did they include this version instead of that version?
Back in 1983, I was probably familiar with fewer than half of these 80 tracks and their respective artists. I was fortunate enough to pick up the very first Now That's What I Call Music compilation back in late 1983 or early 1984 which exposed me to a few acts also included here. After listening to NOW Yearbook '83 over a week's worth of commutes last Summer, I'd guess there was still a solid 25% unfamiliarity level with no new favorites discovered. Maybe next time...