One of the bosses behind the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilations has said their enduring popularity is down to their “unique combination of currency and nostalgia”.
Peter Duckworth, a co-managing director of Now music, started working with the brand in 1991 and has been compiling the double albums since 2012.
The 100th edition was released on 20 July and includes tracks from newer artists such as Years & Years and Ariana Grande, as well as more established acts such as UB40, who featured on the very first Now release in 1983.
Mr Duckworth said: “The original concept, which was this idea of great value – for the price of five or six singles you could have 30 singles on a double vinyl or double cassette – that was such a successful formula. Although it wasn’t new at the time in the sense that other people had done it, others hadn’t done it with any degree of quality.
“There were these rather sort of dodgy, for want of a better word, record labels that would do these compilations but they would either be cover versions or the tracks would be edited, there would be compromises along the way. Now was the very first one that was full quality and still great value.
“No-one thought this was going to be a long-term series at the time. I think they wouldn’t have even thought about getting to 10 volumes let alone 100.”
Britney Spears’ hit single Baby One More Time was named the best song of the last 35 years after winning the vote for that category across the Now albums in the Now Awards.
Newly-announced X Factor judge Robbie Williams features on the 100th album and was named the greatest Now star of all time.
Asked how Now has thrived in a rapidly changing music industry, Mr Duckworth added: “To some extent you can almost say that Now was the original playlist curator because, in the days before playlists, Now was there choosing the best tracks. At the time you had artist albums that might have had one, two or three hit singles on them and the rest was stuff that people didn’t really necessarily know.
“Now was sitting there as this playlist of hits and then 35 years later we got Spotify and Apple Music and that’s all about playlists.”