Now That’s What I Call Redbridge! How 30-year-old music compilation album has spanned generations

Now That's What I Call Redbridge

Now That's What I Call Redbridge - Credit: Archant

From the ’80s sounds of Culture Club and The Cure, to the noughties pop of Lady GaGa and Katy Perry, one compilation has always been there to chart the highs of the music industry.

Rapper Tavinder Sanghera, (Cynikal) said the albums featured heavily in his childhood and many are s

Rapper Tavinder Sanghera, (Cynikal) said the albums featured heavily in his childhood and many are still in his attic - Credit: Archant

Now! That’s What I Call Music has survived both the rise of the CD and the download to retain its popularity and celebrated its 30th birthday on Thursday.

But how dominant has the series been in the lives of Redbridge residents?

For Susan Dixon, 48, of Ilford, the albums were an integral part of her 20s.

She said: “I bought them religiously; they were the first thing I would spend my money on. I can’t remember the first one I bought, but to this day I do [still] buy them. Just not as often as I used to.”

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Susan’s enthusiasm for the brand is revealed by her loft, which houses a collection of tapes and CDs.

She estimates that she owns 20 of the albums, but would have more if others had not been lost or broken.

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“I think they are snapshots of some of the best songs out there,” said Susan, who used to buy the albums from HMV but now purchases them online. “I like the fact that the hits are ones I enjoy from different artists. I wouldn’t want to buy someone’s whole album for one or two songs I really like.”

Lee Scott, MP for Ilford North, was an avid buyer from the late 1980s onwards and purchased his in HMV.

He said: “In the early days I used to collect them. It is a great way of having all the number ones. In the days gone by when we had singles it was a cost-effective way to get the hit records.

“I would think about buying one again if there was one I liked. I think they have been a great success.”

Cllr Wes Streeting said he particularly enjoyed the albums during the Britpop era, when Oasis and Blur were the subject of many newspaper headlines for their rivalry.

He added: “The last one I bought was Now! That’s What I Call the 00’s [noughties], featuring The Killers.

“You had the Now! albums or you would sit there with your tape recorder and record the chart show on Radio One.”

Rapper Cynikal, 26, of Goodmayes, said the compilations featured heavily in his childhood. He has a number of them taking up residence in his attic.

“When I was younger I used to get them all the time. It was a part of popular culture and part and parcel of growing up.

“If you look at the kind of music on there it is kind of eclectic, but it was the more pop side of things. It was easy listening in that sense.”

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, used to purchase the CDs as presents for people.

He said: “We used to buy them regularly for our teenage daughters. You used to get them from HMV and WHSmith in Ilford, but there is nowhere selling CDs now as the record shops have all gone because everything is now downloaded online.

“They are nice things to give people as birthday presents and for children to save up their pocket money for.”

Miss England contestant Lauren Peters, 19, of Barkingside, added: “My first Now! album had Britney Spears and S Club 7 on it – I’m a ’90s baby. I now buy songs individually, but I always look at the Now! albums and see what is on them. I know a lot of people who still like them.”

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