“Whatever your taste, there’s never any waste. So – don’t be late, for Volume 88!”
We come to the final batch of the regular series. Another contrasting collection of professionally photographed models and older style budget cut-out images which hark right back to the first few volumes. No less than three silver outfits this time too and fittingly, the series bowed out with a Linda Lusardi cover with the celebrity in a silver corset-like top. The series actually ended with Volume 91 in Spring 1982. Then three years later Hallmark thought there might be some more mileage in the format and relaunched it with Vol 92 (sporting a new look logo, using the Letraset font Data ’70, an early design by Robert Newman, based on the first computer readable type which you used to see at the bottom of your cheques) and a new Best Of (which also had a famous cover star, Samantha Fox). Their optimism was misplaced however and the two albums met with indifference in a market flooded with original chart collections (why they thought dropping the number of tracks from sixteen to twelve would help is anyone’s guess). As a result Vol 92 is one of the rarest of the whole series, and I’ve seen it sell for three figures.
Also missing from many of these later albums are the whacky sleeve notes (hardly a money saver, given that they cannot have paid for them in the first place!). Vol 90 is nice, the model posing in a (too tight) TOTP logo shirt. The photographer was pitching for work and hand-painted the TOTPs logo onto a t-shirt for the shoot. The label liked the results and used it right away (he also shot the cover for Vol 91) (We have some out-takes from these covers available as authorised prints). Christmas was marked by a tinsel edged satin outfit on Vol 89, and there was a strange snow like effect painted onto Vol 86 too though as it came out in June perhaps they were trying for something else! The cover girl on this one looks very ‘Kate Moss does Abba’ to me as well. So that brings us to the conclusion of the UK collection. But the story doesn’t finish there, so we’ll have a go at tackling the Best Ofs next.