I bought my first CD player in 1988, when I was a sophomore in college in Rochester, New York. I quickly discovered that it was the greatest invention ever for DJ work (lots of great-sounding songs in a very small space), and the quest for CD collections began. Every few months we'd make a pilgrimage to Toronto, and I'd always return with an armful of cool Canadian records and CDs. I found two record companies, PolyTel and Quality, that packaged compilation CDs just like the old 1970s K-Tel LPs: hits, writers' credits, not much else. Naturally, I ate this stuff up, and I found myself making frequent visits to the Canadian town of St. Catherine, the first town over the border, which presumably had the closest Canadian record store to Rochester. I would have bought everything locally, but my Rochester connections couldn't get the Canadian PolyTel and Quality releases for some reason.
Around 1991, I signed up with a jukebox CD service that rendered a lot of the Canadian collections redundant; the jukebox service would send me CDs to my doorstep every two months, and saved me a trip over the border. In 1992, my favorite record store in St. Catherine closed, and I haven't bought any CDs in Canada since then. Oh well.
All of the CDs shown on this page were the lifeblood of my late-1980s DJ work. The track selection was perfect, and the tracks were usually the "hit" radio edits. If you can find any of these, buy them. If you have any more Canadian collections like these, I'll buy them from you. Fond memories indeed...
On Top (1988)
There may have been more in the PolyTel series before this one, but they were gone by the time I discovered this one. This one has M/A/R/R/S, Frozen Ghost, and The Kane Gang all in one place. God bless.
Hot Sounds (1988)
"Push It" and "Don't Shed A Tear"!
Hit Wave (1989)
Giant Steps's "Another Lover" and Ottowan's "Hands Up"!
Turn It Up (1989)
Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing", Maxi Priest's "Wild World", and "Walk The Dinosaur"!
Big Hits '89 (1989)
"Funky Cold Medina" and a cool 5:42 version of "Buffalo Stance"! Plus the woefully uncool 6:27 version of "Baby Don't Forget My Number". Drat.
Hits Plus Hits (1990)
"Bust A Move"!
Rock With The 80's (1990)
An '80s "oldies" collection long before they were chic.
Pump Up The Hits (1990)
The Northern Pikes and Leila K! Woo-hoo! Plus, LP versions of "Pump Up The Jam" (5:21), Love Shack (5:22), and "The Humpty Dance" (6:31).
Big Hits '90 (1990)
"Unchained Melody" - for the one slow dance per night. (And not the cheesy re-recorded version for Curb Records.)
Mega Hits (1991)
Sadeness! And whatever happened to Tara Kemp?
Big Hits '91 (1991)
Vanilla Ice, M.C. Hammer, and Maestro Fresh-Wes all in one place?!?
Awesome Hits (1992)
"O.P.P." and "Life Is A Highway"!
2 Awesome (1993)
"Baby Got Back" and "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"!
"Connected", "Jump Around", and "Hip Hop Hooray"! Plus, a knock-off version of Shaggy's "Oh Carolina", done by 'Shabby G'!
This Is Music 5 (1989)
The "This Is Music" series was put out by Quality Records in Canada, cut from the same cloth as the British "Now That's What I Call Music" series, only done much more cheaply.
This Is Music 6 (1989)
This Is Music 7 (1990)
Monster Trax (1991)