Kylie Greatest Hits

Original album upgrade released by Jive Records in November 2002. Liner notes, recording data and discography (with Neil Rees and Tom Parker).

Kylie Greatest Hits

“When Kylie released her first album in July 1988, many critics were quick to say she was just another disposable pop act, a flash in the pan, and that despite the staggering sales around the world, her career would never last…”

And that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to what was being said about Kylie Minogue some fifteen years ago, when she first arrived on the British music scene. Of course, the undisputed Princess of Pop has since systematically refuted every element of the distorted and dismissive commentary which filled those review columns.

Moreover, the writing was already on the wall by the time Kylie’s original Greatest Hits album was released a little over a decade ago. Just fifteen months earlier, Shocked had reached number six, thus making Kylie the very first act in British chart history to see her first 13 singles all reach the top ten. Today, she is one of only two female performers to have achieved number one hits in the 80s, 90s and 00s. At the time of writing, six Kylie singles have hit the top spot and twenty-three have made the top ten, in an uninterrupted run of over thirty-three certified UK hits. Whilst signed to the PWL label from 1987-1992, Kylie scored nineteen UK top twenty singles (one of them a double A-side release), which all feature here for the very first time, digitally remastered from the original single mixes.

Kylie’s recording career began in July 1987, when Mushroom Records, Australia’s premier independent label, released Locomotion. With Kylie already the hottest face on Australian television through her role as Charlene in Neighbours, it was no surprise that she instantly soared up the pop charts. The song hit number one and remained there for seven weeks, eventually becoming the biggest-selling single of the decade in Australia, and – to this day – in the history of the Mushroom label.

However, things had actually got moving a little before that, when a band made up of some of the Neighbours cast were asked to perform at a benefit concert for an Australian Rules football team at Melbourne’s Festival Hall, in front of 1500 supporters. With nothing prepared to meet the unexpected demands for an encore, Kylie piped up with the suggestion of The Loco-Motion, Little Eva’s 1962 dance classic. No-one was prepared for how well it would go down with everyone both on-stage and off, and soon came the inevitable suggestion that she record the track at a local studio. Although she had always loved singing, Kylie’s only previous recording experience had come when she cut a three-track demo tape in 1985, funded by her earnings from a role in The Henderson Kids and only intended to help attract more acting work.

With an initial demo for Locomotion recorded, the tape eventually fell into the hands of Mushroom Records who instantly recognised the potential for a hit single, especially given that Charlene was about to walk down the aisle in what would be the television wedding of the year. Ironically enough, it was engineer Mike Duffy, on a secondment from Pete Waterman’s London-based record production company PWL, who was given the job of producing a finished version of the single. He also first brought Kylie’s name to the attention of Waterman and his production partners Mike Stock and Matt Aitken.

In due course, Mushroom wanted a follow-up and during a fateful ten-day visit to London in October 1987, during a break from filming Neighbours, Kylie would finally team up with Stock, Aitken and Waterman, setting in place one of the most successful musical collaborations in British pop music history. Popular legend has it that the production trio delayed working with Kylie until mere hours before her flight home, and then wrote and produced I Should Be So Lucky all in the space of about twenty minutes (or probably an afternoon). The song itself established a template for Kylie’s trademark musical style – effervescent and uplifting dance-pop with an irresistibly lethal hook. The critical response was less than positive, but more recently there has been a radical reassessment. In the same way that Kylie’s own childhood idols ABBA were finally recognised for the brilliance of their songs, the consensus now is that Kylie’s early recordings are bona-fide pop classics.

Pete Waterman himself began to realise that the song was something special when he played it at clubs and on his radio show; the public was already clamouring for “that Kylie record”. Yet echoing the A&R men who turned down the Beatles, not one major British record company would consider putting out the single. So – with characteristic confidence – Waterman did it himself. Once it was finally released at the very end of 1987, just as Neighbours had established millions of British devotees, I Should be So Lucky hit number one simultaneously in the UK and Australia, the first time any artist had achieved such a feat. With a five-week run at the top in Britain, it also became the first gold single of that year, and helped to cement the foundations of the PWL record label itself…