Now That’s What I Call Music 2 to be reissued on CD

The very first Now That’s What I Call Music compilation, issued in the UK in November 1983, has been reissued a number of times but the second volume, which followed four months after the first in March 84, is to be released on CD for the first time in April.

Now That’s What I Call Music 2 has long considered to be one of the best ‘NOWs’ (it helps that it was issued in early ’84, the best year in pop) and it effortlessly combines some contributions from relative veterans (Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Slade, Queen) with brilliant ‘new’ pop from the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Eurythmics, Nik Kershaw, Thompson Twins, Nena and Cyndi Lauper.

The Smiths, China Crisis and Thomas Dolby keep things interesting and the way I remember it is that virtually EVERYONE bought this originally (the options were 2LP gatefold vinyl or double cassette).

NOW 2 is actually being reissued on vinyl as well, but it’s the two-CD that is the most interesting aspect, especially at just over a tenner, in the UK. Presumably, the two-disc set will come in a simple jewel case, similar to last year’s re-reissue of NOW 1.

Now That’s What I Call Music 2 will be reissued on 12 April 2019.

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Now That's What I Call Music 2 - 2CD edition


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Now That's What I Call Music 2 - 2LP vinyl edition


Original track listing in 1984

  1. Queen
    Radio Ga Ga
  2. Nik Kershaw
    Wouldn’t It Be Good
  3. Thompson Twins
    Hold Me Now
  4. Matt Bianco
    Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed
  5. Carmel
    More, More, More
  6. Madness
    Michael Caine
  7. Flying Pickets
    Only You
  8. Nena
    99 Red Balloons
  9. Cyndi Lauper
    Girls Just Want To Have Fun
  10. Tracey Ullman
    My Guy’s Mad At Me
  11. Matthew Wilder
    Break My Stride
  12. Julia & Company
    Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)
  13. Joe Fagin
    That’s Living Alright
  14. Hot Chocolate
    I Gave You My Heart (Didn’t I)
  15. Snowy White
    Bird Of Paradise
  16. Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  17. Eurythmics
    Here Comes The Rain Again
  18. Howard Jones
    What Is Love?
  19. The Smiths
    What Difference Does It Make?
  20. Fiction Factory
    (Feels Like) Heaven
  21. Re-Flex (2)
    The Politics Of Dancing
  22. Thomas Dolby
  23. China Crisis
    Wishful Thinking
  24. David Bowie
    Modern Love
  25. Culture Club
    It’s A Miracle
  26. Rolling Stones*
    Undercover Of The Night
  27. Big Country
  28. Slade
    Run Runaway
  29. Duran Duran
    New Moon On Monday
  30. Paul McCartney
    Pipes Of Peace

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I’ really glad Now’s 1 and 2 have been reissued on CD. They are brilliant! I’m hoping that Now’s 3-9 are also reissued on CD. Would be great! Have just picked up the audio cassette versions of Now 3, Now 4, Now 5 and Now 6 from eBay. Got them in case Now’s 3-9 don’t get reissued. So apart from the cassette versions of Now’s 7, 8 and 9, I’ve got every UK Now release from 1-102!

Darren Willmott

Now 3 now has a CD UK release date of 19th July. Unsurprisingly GG is left off but, perhaps in an attempt to even things out, so is ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley. That’s kinda more annoying than GG being off.

Joseph Mullen

Hi paul McCartney song at the start is not the same as the original version

Michael Mulloy

Are they going to re release all of the early ones or not

peter m

If I remember correctly, both glitter & the
Associates with those first impressions were
Given ‘wild card’ appearances on TOTP, as
Both were just outside the top 40.

Liam Bastick

I see earlier in the comments someone mentioning Tracey Ullman’s Breakway, which wasn’t a half bad song. My memory is a little hazy, but I remember a Radio 1 DJ (can’t remember who) claiming it was a cover version of an old 60’s song and playing her single at 33rpm as “the original” and fooling a lot of people. If any of you have the single, it’s well worth a listen at 33rpm! (Perhaps we should start a new threads: brilliant songs when played at the wrong speed…)

Matthew Legg

I hope that Dance Me Up isn’t removed as it would be changing the original release. We can’t just remove things to make some people feel better. If you remove it, it’ll draw more attention to it (which would make things worse) and the completes will be disappointed which means people upgrading their original vinyl won’t bother as it’s incomplete


Such good news that this compilation is being reissued on CD, I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that the same thing happens with all the early Now albums.

But the tracklisting also shows why retrospective 80s compilations so often miss the mark, with compilers assuming that buyers will just want forty of the biggest hits by the biggest names, and end up all covering the same ground, but always falling short because of the unavailability of the likes of Madonna and MJ.

But as well as unusual picks from Duran and the Eurythmics, on here we find several one-offs including the brilliant Break My Stride, the only appearance on the main Now series by a seminal guitar group, and the theme to a much-loved TV show. Tracks that give much more variety and a much sharper sense of the time they were released, and I suspect some of them are next to impossible to find on CD.

I’d love to see the early volumes of the rival Hits series reissued on CD (also owned by Sony I believe). The first three especially have fantastic tracklistings for anyone who has any time at all for 80s music. Unlike Now they did sometimes edit tracks to fit them onto the vinyl, but this wouldn’t be a problem on double CD.


Agreed. Especially your comment regarding the ‘modern’ 80s compilations. I love collecting ‘from-that-time’ 80s/90s compilations because they always have some rare gold – perhaps a song that wasn’t the big hit someone predicted, maybe an exclusive mix/edit or possibly a really big hit that for one reason or another has just been forgotten.

We had plenty of 80s compilations here in Australia, but I also like collecting the “Now…” series because I get to discover a lot of great songs/artists that were probably well known in Britain but were never hits/released here in Oz.

I know there are a few rock-snobs who dismiss top-40-compilation-albums as ‘naff’ or ‘lame’. but I love them. And I know I’m not alone – when a rare CD version of an Aussie 80s one shows up on eBay auction, it can go for $60-$200 AUD !

elliott buckingham

i wonder what track they will substitute the gary glitter track on now3 for

Paul English

Ashley Abram confirmed when I interviewed him that the mix of No More Lonely Nights was the only one the label would license at the time. He also has some insight into Opportunities on Now 7.

See here https://www.classicpopmag.com/2018/07/now-then-now-thats-what-i-call-music/

Marshall Fish

Excellent articles, Paul.

I’m glad the Now Music 2 title is being reissued.
A long time ago, I wrote a web article on some of my favorite Now Music CD’s. I apologize for the shameless plug:

Neil Kelly


Kevin Hughes

FOUR tracks on both the 2009 and 2018 CD reissues of NOW 1 are the incorrect longer album versions.

They should have been:

Only for Love (7″ Single Version) – Limahl

Double Dutch (7″ Single Version) – Malcolm McLaren & The Ebonettes

Candy Girl (7″ Single Version) – New Edition

Waterfront (7″ Single Edit) – Simple Minds

3 of these have been officially released on CD apart from the ‘Double Dutch’ (7″ Single Version) which to my knowledge, has not been released either digitally or on CD anywhere in the world to date.

I’ll be interesting to see how NOW 2 compares to the original album when it’s released in April, with Julia & Company’s ‘Breakin’ Down (Sugar Samba)’ (7″ Single Version) being the big draw here, which again has never seen an official CD/digital release.

The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make? (7″ Single Edit 3:26) was only ever officially released as a download only code from the 7″ singles box set in 2008.


You can get a digital download of the Single edit of The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make? from 7Digital https://uk.7digital.com/artist/the-smiths/release/complete-1401738?h=85&f=20%2C19%2C12%2C16%2C17%2C9

Mark Dynamix

(Matrix Mix) of Opportunities / PSB I meant to say…

Mark Dynamix

If the NOW people did their homework, they would re-release NOW7 on CD for the first time, and include the exclusive 7″ mix (Matrix Mix) that they put on the vinyl/casssette in error – as it’s the only place to get this version.
You would have tens of thousands of PSB fans around the world buying the compilation just for that reason.
Nudge nudge? hurry up!

Craig Hedges

I think these albums are being re-compiled, The first cd release of the first Now album contained some different mixes, Limahl’s ‘Only for love’ was the album version. Also as these are now being issued by Sony instead of EMI/Virgin they might not have access to the original tapes from 1984, if they were kept in the first place.
Sorry to dash your hopes but If they were to reissue Now 7 it’s more than likely be the version of ‘Opportunities’ that’s been used on previous PSB compilations like Discography and Popart.
On Now 4 was an edit of Arthur Baker’s mix of Paul McCartney’s ‘No more lonely nights’. Was this exclusive to this release? if so it’ll be interesting to see if this get’s a release or if it gets changed to the ‘Playout version’.

Larry Davis

I actually have the original Now 4 on double vinyl I got from a friend who was willing to sell some records to me from his collection…dunno how rare it is because Britpop faves Saint Etienne do these very limited compilations of a few copies each, and one of their rarest they titled “Now 4” as a tribute to the rarity at the time of this release in 1984/1985, I think they only pressed, like, 5 of these, haha…I hope they reissue 2CDs of the other early ones never on CD before, 2 per year, 35 year anniversaries…which at that rate would be out in early 2020…


There seem to be 2 songs on here that I haven’t heard yet. Julia and co, which I checked and is really great, like mentioned before in the comments. And then Joe Fagin, which sounds horrible. I don’t think that song made it anywhere outside the UK. Is it a novelty records or something?

Stephen Rickard

It was the theme tune to the brilliant tv series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. About a group of mainly Geordie builders working in Germany.


Will definately get this.

I made virtual double albums of 2-9 taking track listings from the LP’s. I’m hoping they re-issue Now Dance & Now Dance 86. I’ve also made virtual doubles of these two.

They went wrong on the Now Dance series after NOW Dance 903 going to 7” versions instead of 12” versions.


Julia And Co is the ONLY real reason to buy this, since the 7” is impossible to find on CD. If it’s omitted, forget it. The point of these early ones coming out again should be to fill these gapsm not recycle common album mixes. Use the original album reel.


Alan you’re right, Breakin’ Down is such a great but now totally forgotten track. I have fond memories of it being played at the Pink Toothbrush in Rayleigh back in the day! I had no idea it was on this compilation and it actually seems quite leftfield alongside the other tracks which I’m sure are generally going to be well remembered by the average punter.

I have picked up a couple of copies of the 12” vinyl from charity shops for a pound, but have never seen the 7” edit, and the M+M remix is the only version available on streaming services. If this remains on the tracklisting then it’s an easy buy for me.

Neil Kelly

The Pink toothbrush?


Ah The Pink Toothbrush… Many happy, patchy memories of that place :)

Daniel P

And they still keep using the wrong version of Relax on countless compilation.

Richard Magill

I may be wrong, but wasn’t the original vinyl release withdrawn because ZTT gave them a mix of Relax that they shouldn’t have?

Roel Glas

Nice to see Fiction Factory’s, Feels Like Heaven & Snowy White’s Bird of Paradise on a compilation. Might have to buy this


..and will the Now4 release be a copy of the original CD release or replicate the vinyl/cassette which had completely different tracks?

Neil Kelly

Clearly the latter come on. If they even happen (here’s hoping)


Surprised so many people still have an interest in those various artists compilations focusing on hit singles of the moment. Wether it’s NOW or Indie Top 20, I’ve never had had much interest in those hits compilations. Anyway it’s an Interesting discussion.

Daniel P

It was definitely before your time. Nobody would make a statement if you haven’t lived through that era. Naive comment

Stephen Rickard

Daniel P — I totally agree with you, everybody was buying compilations back in the day, most would get to #1, Where else could you get 15 – 20 hits on one record. I was mad for those K-tel and Ronco compilations of the late 70’s & early 80’s, but there was always a few tracks that never made the charts, and the hits were often chopped due to running times. When “Now Music” came along it was like a breath of fresh air, every track was a top 30 hit, and not edited.


This is clearly an ignorant case of “I have no interest in this, therefore nobody else should”. Fans have wanted this for a very long time, and now they are finally getting it.


Feels more like the people knocking his viewpoint are the ‘ignorant’ ones.
These compilations are definitely not before my time, but I too find it hard to imagine why people are still interested in these now.

That’s not an ignorant opinion or a naive one, simply an ‘opinion’. Like every comment on here :)

Craig Hedges

Rather than record companies keep reminding us how great pop music was in the past, why don’t they get off their arses and sign up some proper talent in this country. All the music industry has at the moment is people who just want to be famous. Pop music is more than that, that was why is was so successful in the 80s. It wasn’t totally youth orinentated, amazing to watch the re runs of top of the pops and see artists in their 30 and 40. That wouldnt be allowed today. Pop music is now like Logan’s Run.
Today everything is done by committee and artist are to scared to release a record by themselves so they get in guest artists to prop each other’s careers up.
Sorry for complaining I been listening to the PSB ep all week and it’s rubbed off.


I wouldn’t worry about it too much – everyone turns into their parents eventually with regards to modern (turn that racket off!) music. There’s 50-60 years of music to fall back on and work you’re way through. I was looking through one of the monthly UK music magazines Top 50 albums of 2018 recently. I didn’t own a single one and hadn’t heard of most of the artists. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest if another song is never written again – there are still dozens upon dozens of albums (mostly from the 70s) on my wishlist.

Stephen Rickard

RJS. Just out of curiosity I viewed the top 50 albums of 2018. I do own one, The Arctic Monkeys, but I only bought it because it was coloured vinyl. I’ve not played it, like the last 20 or so Now CD’s, sitting on my shelf still sealed, I gave up buying them when it reached 100.

Matthew Hudson

If you’re looking for an absolutely standout pop album from 2018 check out Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae


I’ve never bought any of the Now releases.

Daniel P

Great comment. Totally agree


You can keep your 1984; The Millennium editions Now That’s What I Call 1981 and 1982 are superb.


If we got “Now 1” reissue with the release of “Now 100” and “Now 101” and we’re getting “Now 2” with the release of “Now 102”, we should get “Now 3” reissue with the release of “Now 103”, “Now 4” with “Now 104”, “Now 5” with “Now 105”, “Now 6” with “Now 106”, “Now 7” with “Now 107”, “Now 8” with “Now 108” and “Now 9” with “Now 109”.
That should be logical, shouldn’t it?


You can also look forward to the reissue of Now 100 with the release of Now 200 in about 35 years time.

Sanyo 1979

NOW 3 has a Gary Glitter track on side 4, which I expect will be removed if NOW3 is reissued.


Now thats what i call an interesting discussion 3. Dance Me Up is indeed on Now 3. Though Gary Glitter is largely erased from releases these days (Another Rock n Roll Christmas certainly has lost its mainstay status on christmas compilations), would a historical re-release be exorcised?

Neil Kelly

For sure, unfortunately


Well then you can erase ‘Farewell My Summer Love’ by Michael Jackson from Now 4!


Totally agree with you on this!

David mci tyre

Those early now albums were brilliant. Now5 with the pig cover from 85 remains my favorite although 2 and 4 are close behind


1984 the best year in pop? Only if you think the 80’s was the best decade in pop. Some would seriously disagree. Besides, weren’t quite a few of these songs released in 1983?


When I stumbled upon the Now 1 lp in a common record store in early 1984 it was a treat. Of course I had all of those singles, but finding that album in the US was a miracle. I’d seen it advertised in the British magazines and couldn’t wait to get it. Finding it on cd a few years ago was almost the same feeling.
I figured Now 2 would shortly follow. It didn’t, but I’m still looking forward to it.
My next fave is Now 5.. I put it on cassettes and carried that everywhere.
The Golden Age of Pop varies in the US. Started near the end of 1982 and fizzled out by the beginning of 1985.. But 1984 was definitely the highlight.

Steven Roberts

If memory serves, wasn’t the mix on the Big Country song unique to this compilation? I seem to recall it featuring an extra verse or something.

Will be interesting to see if this carries through to the re-release…..

Gareth Greenwood

It was “East Of Eden” on Now 4 that was a unique mix. I bet you anything, that if they do a re-issue of Now 4, it won’t have that mix on.

Steven Roberts

Thanks, Gareth, I stand corrected :)

I’m sure you are correct in that any re-release won’t feature the unique EoE mix – but wouldn’t it be cool if it did ?


I wonder if they will re-release further volumes? Nos. 6 to 16 are worth it for the artwork alone. From 20 onwards it’s all very generic and hard to remember one from another, but 6 to 16 feature some of the best compilation album artwork ever seen.


What a great selection, 1984 was an amazing year I agree, it was my first year working full time, with lots of money to spend on music. I had this on LP but I didn’t bring any of the Now albums with me to Canada 9 years ago sadly, I regret every record I culled.

Paul English

Will we finally get the 7” edit of What Difference Does It Make on CD? Just one of three Smiths tracks still unreleased on CD.


Doubt it… the original version of Now That’s What I Call Music 2 used the 3.50 version, not the single 3.26 single edit….

Paul English

The version of What’s Difference Does It Make? on Now 2 is the 3:25 7″ edit. Just played it again.


I stand corrected. Seems the info I had is incorrect. I hope it will also be the single edit on this release.


So what’s the other two? Ask 7 inch maybe at 2.59 , can’t think of the 3rd

Paul English

@ Gavaxeman
Shakespeare’s Sister (Live Oxford 18/3/85) [from the Joke 12″]
Work Is A Four Letter Word (7″ Mix)

Actually you’re right about Ask. That’s a headwreck – it’s on The Very Best Of The Smiths but is slightly longer than the 7″.

Steve Benson

My year by year iTunes singles playlists: 1967 – 307 songs (15 hours 39 mins), 1984 – 43 (3 hours 4 mins). To be fair it very much depends on how old you were when.


The best music news for me today!
At last!
Numbers 3 to 9 should follow to make the whole circle complete as well!


I bought the reissue of Now 1 on cassette. Any news on a Now 2 reissue on this much maligned format Paul?


I love the early Now releases but instead of reissuing them, why don’t they start releasing the ones from Now 36 onwards, which weren’t released on vinyl. Or maybe some of the hard to find vinyl editions.


Maybe because most Now albums from 10-ish onwards were starting to become generic cash-cows? The first few were good to excellent compilations that reflected the high quality of 80s pop whereas after then they reflected a much lower standard once the charts started becoming meaningless and sales plummeted.

I suspect a vinyl reissue of Now 36 onwards would have a tiny market and they’d have to cull many of the tracks to fit a 2CD onto a 2LP format.

Adam Wilkez

now 36 was issued on lp, with the track listing the same as the cd, the sound is a bit quiet but still sounds lovely

martin farnworth

the best year for pop was 1982. i believe those early NOW CD’S go for a fortune.


There are only single CD selections for Now 4, 8 and 9, they mirror the albums from 10 onwards, with some exceptions (e.g. 16 has three extra tracks). Now 4 has selections from 2, 3 and 4 by the way.


Actually, it was 1991.

Kevin Galliford

I had that & loved it & you’re probably right, 1984 was the best year in pop, along with perhaps 1983. For me, so much synthesizer music was good , pop was more inventive & less contrived & also it was before the music scene changed to be more earnest where musicians had to have a conscience. All very good for the soul but really f**king boring to listen to if I’m being honest.

Chris Squires

Oh lord, this was by far the best compilation, only run close by the original Now Christmas (not the awful reissue). I can hear each and every segue in my head. It’s 1984 all over again…. Down the Malt Shovel drinking Swan light or kaliber (designated driver in my Dad’s Marina) oh to be 17 again……Happy Days……


very much looking foward to this. this was ahead of my time (i was born in ’87). dunno why i’m obsessed with 80s music lol. right this second i can assemble the entire tracklist as a playlist except for three tracks. i’m a CD-only guy so it’s a no-brainer. that cheesy-ass basic bitch cover art though… i love it.


I got the first Now reissue on vinyl (the original was the first album I ever bought although I got it on cassette) but I was disappointed that they left out the original sleeve notes.

Ben Williams

One of the best compilations of all time – Macca’s Pipes of Peace and The Smiths’ What Difference Does It Make on the same record, will definitely be picking this one up!

Tommy sausages

At last!


I had this when it came out but don’t ever recall the Rolling Stones being on it



The Rolling Stones’ “Undercover Of The Night” was on the original “Now 2” release, actually.
That single was released towards the end of 1983.


This comes out on the same day as NOW 102. Do you think they’re planning to continue the re-issues … i.e. with NOW 3 re-released alongside NOW 103 etc.?


I think NOW 3 included a track by a certain G**y G*****r


I had no idea Tracey Ullman released music or had a hit song.


She had at least three hit singles and the accompanying album did ok from memory. One of the singles, her cover version of Kirsty MacColl’s “They don’t know” is a belter!


My Guy (Madness cover) above and They Don’t Know (Kirsty Maccoll cover) are both great songs!

She also had a hit with Breakaway, album was You Broke My Heart in 17 Places

I’m OK with just the above two songs

Chris Squires

And of course a certain Paul McCartney as co-star in the (excellent) video to they don’t know.

Larry Davis

Breakaway was also a Kirsty song, which at the time was a shelved followup to “They Don’t Know” cuz in 1979 after “They Don’t Know” was a radio hit, it didn’t make the chart cuz of a stupid postal strike…so she left Stiff for Polydor and the label shelved single #2…after Polydor stiffed her over her 1983 album “Real”, shelving that, she returned to Stiff, released some great singles but no album because when one was about to be released in 1986-ish, Stiff folded…bummer…then she couldn’t record for 3 years but played with and appeared on records by acts/bands she loved, like the Smiths and Talking Heads, and the Wonder Stuff…finally, Virgin bought her contract and she was freed up. recording the brilliant “Kite” in 1989…but yes, Tracey Ullman made 2 albums…

Jarmo Keranen

How old you were in the 80’s? I think everyone who listened music in the 80’s knows some of her songs. You must live on Mars at that time!

Dave H

Hey Jarmo, a stab in the dark but maybe Michael is American which will make perfect sense because Tracey Ullman became big star in the US after she had hit singles in the UK. A lot of American will probably not know that but they will tell you that the Simpsons first appeared in the US on the Tracey Ullman show.

I don’t think I heard anyone call America, Mars but some people may hope it was a distant planet.

Anyone remember Sunglasses?


Will it be the original single mixes? If that’s the case i will get it.


Good news! hope they will continue up to volume 10


Definitely the best Now ever released, late 83/early 84 was magical pop time, shown by New Moon on Monday only reaching no.9 and track 29 on the album! Question is will they use the right 30 edits or be slap dash and insert the easiest versions to find.