Rounding up the stragglers: NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA [2021] and NOW Yearbook '84 EXTRA [2022]

So there we were. Between NOW Yearbook '83 and NOW Yearbook '84, we had an impressive 8 discs worth of British chart hits in just four short months and were now expecting 4 more discs to be imminently announced and then released as NOW Yearbook '85 sometime in early 2022. But then a surprise announcement on 4 November 2021 caused NOW fans to rethink any opinions regarding upcoming NOW Yearbooks.
Less than a week after the release of
NOW Yearbook '84 (read HERE), the ladies and gentlemen at NOW HQ dropped the surprise news of a 60-song, 3CD compilation under the title NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA to be released two weeks before Christmas 2021. Unlike the two previous NOW Yearbook releases, NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA is available only as a three-disc wallet-style digipak. No book-style disc packaging nor a truncated tracklist on colored vinyl companion release.
I enjoyed listening to 
NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA during a week's worth of commutes over the winter holidays of 2021. Initially, I mixed the tracks into a playlist with the NOW Yearbooks from 1983 and 1984, but after that first day, I listened to '83 EXTRA within its own 60-song playlist which allowed me to focus and appreciate the music on its own merits within the context of its peers.
My friend Paul English, who has reviewed many MANY Eighties pop compilations from the UK on his excellent blog A POP FAN'S DREAM, created a Spotify playlist that mopped up the apparently unlicensable and otherwise left-off tracks from 1983 that were not included on either NOW Yearbook '83 or NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA. And after making it through NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA proper, I dove into (and highly recommend) Paul's double-disc length Spotify playlist: Now Yearbook Extra Plus 1983. There were a dozen songs on '83 EXTRA that were unfamiliar to me and Paul's playlist added at least a dozen new to me tracks on top of that. Listening to those 181 songs from 1983 was a blast and had me looking forward to future NOW Yearbook releases.
NOW fans such as myself didn't have to wait long for the next release in the Yearbook series. Five days after NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA hit shelves on 10 December 2021, another announcement came down from on high at NOW HQ. NOW Yearbook '84 EXTRA featuring 60 More Essential Hits from 1984 would be released on 14 January 2022. Same deal as the '83 EXTRA set: only available as a 3CD wallet-style digipak. No vinyl and no deluxe book set.
I understand there are legal reasons that the Eurythmics have to now be officially credited as "Eurythmics, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart" but just like Daryl Hall & John Oates will always respectfully and simply be Hall & Oates in my collection, she & he & they & them will always be Eurythmics. So many great tracks here and I have no quibbles with which versions are included or not included.
Once again, I turned to Paul and his NOW Yearbook Extra Plus 1984 playlist to fill in a few gaps and cracks and continue the journey back through the hits of 1984. Has it really been almost 40 years since these were hits? Doesn't even feel like it. 
NOW Yearbook '84 EXTRA
is further proof that the singles charts in the UK and USA were much more in sync than in prior years. That, coupled with 1984 being my senior year in high school/freshman year in college, means many of these songs spark fantastic memories although one of these days I'm going to have to make a director's cut playlist with nothing but my favorite tracks from 1984. Now that the EXTRAS have been released, we thought it was safe to assume that NOW Yearbook '85 would definitely be #5 in the series. But you know what they say about assuming things. We'll cover the glorious fifth and sixth volumes in the NOW Yearbook series next time out.

NOW Yearbook Series
01    NOW Yearbook '83 [2021]
02    NOW Yearbook '84 [2021]
03    NOW Yearbook '83 EXTRA [2021]
04    NOW Yearbook '84 EXTRA [2022]
13    NOW Yearbook '85 [2022]

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