This post should probably start with a warning: we're embarking on Now 32, which came out when I was 17. Over the next 40 posts there are likely to be more outbreaks of enthusiasm than anyone not born between about 1974 and 1982 is likely to find reasonable. We're probably also going to be hearing the word "Britpop" a lot.
At the start of the album though, we're in much more conventional territory for Now albums: Queen. Out of thirteen appearances (including collaborations), no fewer than seven are in the coveted Disc One, Side One, Track One position; two more start the second disc. You could even make it eight out of fourteen if you allow for the fact that 'Radio Gaga' opens the CD version of Now 4. It was never terribly surprising that their career wasn't ended by the demise of Freddie Mercury, but it wasn't necessarily to be expected that they'd show up with a whole album of seemingly new material when they'd released Innuendo less than a year before his demise. The reason they managed it was, of course, that not all the material turned out to be new, much of it being outtakes from previous sessions or reworkings of material from solo projects. Once upon a time, this song was a Number 84 hit for Roger Taylor's side-project The Cross - but whilst Taylor himself fronts that single, their album features instead a version sung by Freddie Mercury, from which the vocal was extracted to create this, the lead single from what I keep wanting to call a posthumous album, even though 75% of the lineup were still alive when it came out.
'Heaven For Everyone' is a fairly typical well-meaning Taylor song full of hopeful sentiments but not wholly convincing. As I'm sure Taylor would be the first to admit, Mercury's vocal performanace lifts this a good few notches, and the Queen version is an improvement over the original production. But with hindsight, it's hard to imagine the Top 3 success of this single not being heavily dependant on sentiment.
Also appearing on: Now 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 15, 16, 19, 21, 25 [with George Michael], 33, 54 [with Vanguard] Available on:Made In Heaven
An entirely unofficial track-by-track examination of highlights and lowlights from the Now That's What I Call Music compilations. And if that doesn't sound like a challenge, you're obviously not an old curmudgeon like me.