Now That’s What I Call Music 8 to be reissued as a two-CD set

The 1986 compilation is released on CD for the first time

Now That's What I Call Music 8 2CD set
Now That’s What I Call Music 8

1986 ‘various artists’ compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 8 will be issued as a two-CD set for the first time later this month.

Issued in November 1986, just three months after number seven, Now 8 was a massive seller, going quadruple platinum in the UK and reaching number one in the charts. They actually all reached number one (except for Now 4) until the rules were changed to exclude compilations from the ‘main’ album chart (Now 13 was the last chart-topper, fact fans).

Now 8 contained “32 top chart hits” (a 17-track CD was also released) and is a decent compilation, starting particularly strongly with Duran Duran‘s transatlantic top ten hit ‘Notorious’ and the remix of Pet Shop Boys ‘Suburbia’ –  the fourth, and final single from ‘Please’.

Other popular hits of the day include Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush‘s ‘Don’t Give Up’ (Gabriel’s second consecutive appearance on a ‘Now’), Run DMC‘s ‘Walk This Way’, the Communards‘ ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, Swing Out Sister‘s ‘Breakout’, Steve Winwood‘s ‘Higher Love’, Cameo‘s ‘Word Up’, The Cutting Crew‘s ‘(I Just) Died In Your Arms’ and Robert Palmer‘s ‘I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On’.

I’d argue that this set is the last compilation in the series that still feels (more or less) like classic, high-quality, diverse ‘Eighties’ pop music. Subsequent sets still have their moments, of course, but as dance music (Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, M/A/R/R/S etc.) and Stock-Aitken-Waterman productions creep in, the tone shifts and perhaps some ‘magic’ is lost.

There’s no confirmation, yet, as to how faithful the reissue will be to the original 32-track collection (the lack of attention to detail around mixes and random omissions has been well documented) but if ‘they’ are going to have licensing issues, then let’s hope we lose Nick Berry this time (with his Eastenders-promoted) ‘Every Loser Wins’, rather than, say, David Bowie!

Now That’s What I Call Music 8 will be reissued as a two-CD set on 26 March 2021.

Original track listing. Reissue not confirmed.

  1. Notorious
    Duran Duran
  2. Suburbia
    Pet Shop Boys
  3. Walk This Way
    Run DMC
  4. Don’t Leave Me This Way
    The Communards
  5. Breakout
    Swing Out Sister
  6. Higher Love
    Steve Winwood
  7. (Forever) Live And Die
    Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
  8. In Too Deep
  9. Word Up
  10. I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect For You)
    Grace Jones
  11. Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)
    Mel & Kim
  12. We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
    Jermaine Stewart
  13. Step Right Up
    Jaki Graham
  14. What Have You Done For Me Lately
    Janet Jackson
  15. Human
    The Human League
  16. I Wanna Wake Up With You
    Boris Gardiner
  17. Don’t Give Up
    Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush
  18. Think For A Minute
    The Housemartins
  19. (Waiting For The) Ghost Train
  20. In The Army Now
    Status Quo
  21. Stuck With You
    Huey Lewis & The News
  22. One Great Thing
    Big Country
  23. Greetings To The New Brunette
    Billy Bragg
  24. (I Just) Died In Your Arms
    Cutting Crew
  25. You Keep Me Hanging On
    Kim Wilde
  26. Calling All The Heroes
    It Bites
  27. Waterloo
    Doctor & The Medics
  28. French Kissin’ In The USA
    Deborah Harry
  29. I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On
    Robert Palmer
  30. The Wizard
    Paul Hardcastle
  31. (They Long To Be) Close To You
    Gwen Guthrie
  32. Every Loser Wins
    Nick Berry

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I’m guessing it’s already out but surprised I’m not seeing anybody’s comments. Is this one faithful to the original? Proper track listing but are there any wrong versions?

Analogue Andy

The only one I’ve noticed so far (as it’s one of my favourite singles and know it back to front) is Grace Jones’s ‘I’m Not Perfect’, which, I guess, is the album version at 3:58.

The UK 7″ single is 3:17 and has a chorus repeat in the middle edited out and a much earlier fade. I’m sure there’ll be others on there, but even when a track is listed as the Album Version (eg Robert Palmer), it’s not necessarily so.


They’ve now put up the track-listing for NOW 8 – and no omissions!
Looks like we’re getting the full original track-list.


Now 7 was the first Now reissue CD that Amazon didn’t drop to £7.99 on release day. Fortunately, Sainsbury kept it at £7.99, wonder if Now 8 will drop to £7.99.

Wonder if Now 10 will get a reissue with typical 2021 brick-wall mastering compared to the original CD with lower volume levels.


I wish they had lost the Nick Berry song somewhere now.

Gerard Murphy

It’s great their bringing the now thats what I call music the 1 to 9 back then it was vinyl and cassette tape but I think now 8 and now 9 might have had a single CD it was probably hard to get the only problem when you get the sleeve and go looking for the date of the song the writing is very small you need a good pair of Glasses or a Magnafine Glasses to read the writing it’s very small


As a Canadian Now collector. I am saddened by the fast & loose attention to detail on the reissues. Now 8 & 9 were the “holy grail” of trying to get back in the day. Imports were very expensive and musical tastes on both sides of the pond really got diverse by 9.


Sorry to disagree but Now!9 is simply the best release in the series.


I was fortunate enough to pick up NOW 9 on CD in a charity shop for £1 over 10 years ago.

It’s still my best find.

Gerard Murphy

Was their only one CD disc in Now that’s what I call music 9


Yes, Gerard.

4, 8, and 9 were all originally released as single disc editions.

Martin Farnworth

A fair bit of decent stuff but also a fair bit I’d pass on. Without going into “chart music nowadays” old chestnut pump up the volume beat dis, doctorin the house etc wouldn’t sound out too out of place on radio 1 because they have aged remarkably well. They also send me back to the times they were released far more than most of the stuff on this compilation.


In The Army Now was a really good record and the last great Quo single.

It was also great to see Stevie Winwood back with his ‘Back In The High Life’ album.

Pop-wise, 86 was a bit of a strange one. It was when Wham! called it a day, and I recall Spandau, Duran and Culture Club all made their ‘comebacks’ in 86. Of course, A-ha were the new pop kings at this time. And while ‘Fight For Ourselves’ and ‘Move Away’ weren’t really strong enough singles to return with, DD’s ‘Notorious’ was a cracker.

Strangely Brown

Burning Bridges is another fab Quo track which post dates In The Army


I like the way you say you hope they lose Nick Berry instead of David Bowie. Cue some of us to search several times through the track listing for Bowie to no avail! When the Wind Blows wasn’t a top 40 hit so the nearest contender would have been Underground.

Stephen dC

Of course, it’s not the NOW series ‘fault’ if it is the last of the ‘great’ CD’s – they could only put on there what is available at the the time and as others say, it is a reflection of the time and the music around. I think they started going off the rails when the artwork got lazy.

They are a good reflection of the course of the charts and ‘popular’ musical tastes from 80’s pop to the dirge of today – In the good old days it was Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Nick Berry [!] whereas it’s now so interbred, X ft Y [with Z on triangle and A talking all over it] or A Talking with Z & Y and someone who carnt Spel….

Thank heavens I have this site to keep me sane. I had no idea who Steve Wilson & Bob Mould were until I came here.


My thoughts exactly. The name of the artistes is complete gibberish and takes far longer to say and translate than the name of the song which is nearly always just one word:

Sm30ne @nd Wotzizn@me feat. B3ll3nD – Ph@ntazy
Wotzn@me feat. R<SDUUJHGVJ#89796(*^* – Luv U
@lsoRan vs. NV3rHrdoviM – F#Km3

U gt the idea…


There’s a few tracks that might be difficult to licence including

Madness Waiting for the ghost train
Grace Jones I’m not perfect
Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush Don’t give up
Billy Bragg Greetings to the new brunette

Neil Kelly

The first three of which i love (certain i have 2 on CD anyhow). Being a huge Madness fan that track is heavily underrated. I read the NME review at the time they stated it WILL be a top 5. I was very excited and then very disappointed when i seem to remember it stalled at 18 before decending. A great TOTP performance too sadly not repeated due to it being a Mike Smith episode. They finally played it live December 2019. It’s absent on a number of their compilations too, being Zarjazz / Virgin.

Sean Daly

What does the ‘Mike Smith’ referemce mean / refer to ?
… don’t understand!!7

Stan Butler

Mike Smith refused to allow any episodes of TOTP that he presented to be repeated.
Even after his death the BBC refused to show these epiosdes.
Always struck as a very selfish attitude. We watched TOTP for the artists, certainly not for the likes of anodyne DJs like Mike Smith. He could have been digitally cut out from between songs.


“Now” compilations are the tellers of the particular time we are living in. I observe them in that context. Buying them for the completism matters. Will buy this and “Now 9” (which is coming out late July/early August) compilation.

Stevie B

Pop Lovers : Lest we forget ‘ Now That’s What I Call Music, Smash Hits’ in 1987. I’d argue that was the last great 80’s ‘Now’ compilation. Hope that gets a reissue and the accompanying ’Smash Hits’ magazine released at the same time would be cool.


Every Loser Wins is arguably the worst No 1 of all time.
‘Every loser knows, the light the tunnel shows’? Absolutely diabolical. A lot of NeverEnders garbage clogged up the charts then. The theme ‘sung’ by Ange, Something Out Of Nothing by The Banned, and I think even Tony Carpenter had a single out. I remember Spitting Image satirising Top Of The Pops: with all the Albert Square characters in the Top Ten. ‘And at Number 4 ‘What about us lot then?’ from The Rest of the Cast’.

On the plus side, I do remember Notorious, a great track. And although it had only been 18 months or so since A View To A Kill, it seemed at the time that Duran had been away for an age. It was a great comeback single and probably their best since The Reflex.

Calling All The Heroes was also a fine track. Frank Dunnery is one of the most underrated guitarists .

John MC cann

Every loser knows,,that there is light at the end of the tunnel,,sits wrong with that?
My favourite is Paul Henry waiting T the crossroads,I’m it played at my funeral video as well look it up

Ian Lowe

This is the last Now I bought on vinyl before I moved to CD. Come to think of it it’s the last Now I bought full stop.

Neil Kelly

So you didn’t buy any on CD then…


I quite like House music and its origins, so it’s interesting to see this era unfold via the Now albums. If anything, Now 9 has too many older songs which just don’t fit the palette of the rest of the 80s songs included on the album.


Now 8, the last release for the dinosaur generation and their love of 80’s pop. Now 9 brings the fresh new sound of house music for the teenagers. Just like Now 109 is music for current teenagers and their love of reality TV pop stars.

Chris Squires


Dave H

The Now compilations can be seen as a time capsule of what was popular in the charts at the time. It may not necessarily be the best music around at the time since we all know the UK public love a novelty act or a charity record.
If anyone remembers the original release, they must be at least 40 years old since Now 8 was released 35 years ago, yes it’s been that long. I imagine there’s a lot of us on here whose taste in music has changed since the original release but like me, will purchase the CD for nostalgic reasons.
Anyone else who bought the original releases still buying the Now compilations just to hear what the kids are listening to?


I collect the current Nows and use it as a reason to discover what’s going on in the charts and 2020 Now releases were pretty strong compared to the awful Now 101-104. I find disc 1 actually tends to be quite strong, and there is a fuller picture as to what they can license due to no compilation / label wars intervening.
Looking forward to Now 108 and Now 8.


This is my favourite Now album.

Paul A Murphy

THEN That’s What I Called Music.


Agree with all of the sentiments that point towards this being the final ‘classic 80s’ Now; certainly for me this one is the tipping point where 8 has more that I enjoy to 9 which has more I would skip.

Now 8 coincides with the change in the 16 year old me’s music tastes at the time which shifted towards rock and very much away from the up and coming dance trends.

This will likely be the last Now I pick up


I am going to put up a big, loud, enormous flag for “Pump Up The Volume” here. I agree that it is a very different animal than “classic” 80s pop, but it has an undeniable groove all its own, and was very innovative for its time, and wasn’t that what the 80s were really all about, that sometimes the “magic” came from way out in left field?

I’m from the US and as a result was not subjected to an endless wall of SAW productions at the time, so it’s a different perspective for sure, but I remember my mind being absolutely blown by it at the time, and I still spin it regularly. I also feel like it’s one of the extremely rare cases where the US version is better than the UK one due to the samples they had to replace, so that might also play into my view.

(I later gathered an emotional attachment to the song. I have always played a wide variety of pop, rock and dance music in my car, and in 2006, “Pump Up The Volume” became the very first song where my then-4-year-old son called out from the backseat, “Play it again, Daddy!”)

I feel like “Pump Up The Volume” is as much a part of the story of 80s pop as anything else, its differences to most other things on the radio being among its biggest strengths.


I’m looking forward to having this on CD. Not so fussed if the versions aren’t exactly the same ones, as long as they’re close. The track sequencing in those days didn’t seem to matter so much, you’d get artists with completely different sounds next to each other on the record – I think that’s what made them so popular. These songs bring back some great memories – a definite purchase!


I do hope its an improvement on the original CD edition

Strangely Brown

I have always maintained, for myself personally, 1987 was the end of the 80’s for me.

Gave up on the 80’s just on the cusp of endless annoying PWL production, Jive Fucking Bunny, introduction of Chicago House, and every other track between 1988-1990 using Funky Drummer as a driving beat (apart from FYC I’m Not The Man I Used To Be being the exception).

This comp though brings back holidays in the summer of 86 to Butlins or was it Pontins as I matured to the immature age of 16.

Chris S mentioned the turning point of 80’smusic was 1985 with Live AID, I think it peaked for me in 1984 with Band AID, things got steadily shitter after the golden years of 1980-1984.


Totally agree with the first comment. Whilst my favourite decade for music was the 80’s if i had to pick any 10 year period as being the best musically it would be 1978 – 87. Mostly pure class apart from some of the chart toppers in ’82 (bucks fizz – twice !, captain sensible, goombay dance band, charlene, Nicole, Renee and Renato, tight fit, and was I the only one who bloody hated Come on Eileen ?)

From ’88 music started going downhill (though I didn’t mind a bit of PWL) and is currently approaching the earths core ! And the current TOTP ’90 repeats on BBC4 can be summed up in 2 words : ‘whoa’ and ‘yeah’ or as i like to say ‘oh’ and ‘no’


Nothing wrong with Bucks Fizz. Even if you don’t like the group you can’t deny that The Land of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies aren’t great pop records. Production and vocals are spot on!

Strangely Brown

Land Of Make Believe is another top notch song I would admit to liking, but then again it maybe due to the crush on Jay Aston.


Nick berry: every loser wins appeared on now 100 hits 80s no1s recently, so there will be a chance of its inclusion.

Mike the Fish

Some interesting thoughts about music changing around this point here. I bought/was given Now 9, didn’t get Now 10 (bit as I recall, I wanted it) and Now 11 was the last new Now I got until sometime way, way later. I later bought Now 22 second hand, probably for the different mix of Four Seasons in One Day, but it’s got other stuff I like on it too.


I remember the first time heard Pump Up the Volume in 1987 and thought what the hell.. It definitely all went in another direction that year and of course by 88/89 it was a completely different landscape altogether.

Paul Rymer

Jaki Graham – what a voice! UK 80s pop-soul really needs to be celebrated more, we were really good at it – and it was hugely influential worldwide. I think this aspect of 80s music is often ignored and had its own flavour apart from the European and US artists that have a higher profile. Even Japanese City Pop has a higher profile now than some of our home-grown music.

Craig B

I saw Jaki Graham perform on a cruise ship in , would have been , 2019. As you say , what a voice ! She’s still got it and still belting it out. She did two excellent shows that week. She was the highlight of the week for me.


And WOT is so wrong with M/A/R/R/S and Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley etc? These people and many many others were ushering in a whole new era of music which would go on to dominate for the next 15 years or so with all new sounds, ideas and technologies, most of which still sounds bloody fantastic to my ears. Looking at the track listing here there’s a few genuinely good tracks but the vast majority is tired, worn out and bloated. Music has to move on to stay fresh and exciting otherwise it withers and dies. Each to their own of course, but let’s not dismiss some of the most innovative music of the late 80’s onwards just because it doesn’t have a ‘tune’.

Peter Barker

Pump Up The Volume was a massive record to me, so brazen, innovative and exciting.


I completely agree with you.

In my opinion, the best part of the ’80s musically was 1987-89.

However, at the end of the day, music is subjective, and what we deem good or bad is subject only to our tastes.

For me, NOW 11 is the best NOW from the ’80s.


Looking forward to this.
After you announced Now 7 last year, I remember saying to my wife that if Now 8 was to come out it would be the last one I would buy. I guess for some us Now to Now 8 kind of bookended our youth for some of us.

Chris Squires

I was going to say that I felt this was the last listenable Now, for an 80s pop picker. Although looking back, the rot sets in right here if not already on 7.

I know it says more about me but the number of listenable tracks from Now 5 to Now 9 dwindles from 24 all the way down to 5 and never recovers from this point on. This edition hits just about halfway at 18/32 for me.

As has been said before, on other threads, pre-and post Live Aid seems to be a decent dividing line for what I would term “1980s music”, with a few outliers here and there. The dance / hip-hop element for the latter half of the 80s turned me completely off as beats replaced tunes.

What seals it for me is a quick tot-up of Now 2 leaves me with 27 listenable tracks out of 30.

Mike the Fish

I reckon Don’t Give Up is unlikely to have the correct version (wasn’t it the DJ 7″ version they used?) and then there’s Suburbia, Higher Love and Think For A Minute with significantly different album versions.

Strange looking at the list and seeing Suburbia and Notorious as contemporaries. Wierder still for me is that it’s the Jaki Graham song that takes me right back as I wasn’t a mega fan.

Mic Smith

I’d need to check my U.K. DJ promo but I’m sure the edit of Don’t Give Up was the same as the West German 7” edit and is unique on CD on Now 8. The cassette version was the same edit I think – never heard Now 8 on vinyl.

Iain McDermott

Radio 2 producer Johnny Kalifornia and I had a recent dig back into the album and the autumn of 1986 on my podcast. If you have a bit of time!


Graham Turner

This was a great listen. Jonny Kalifornia’s enthusiam for this era was so fun to hear.
Thanks Iain – consider this a new listener to the pod.


Strong memories of this set, will pick this up so long as the powers that be don’t screw around with the tracklist. Absolutely agree that this was the last high-quality compilation before the turn of the tide.


That is a very interesting point. that this set is the last compilation in the series that still feels (more or less) like classic, high-quality, diverse ‘Eighties’ pop music.

I would agree. Other volumes were hit and miss with dance music creeping in.

I will get this one definitely