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Since the first Now was released in 1983, it's become a much loved compilation album for generations of pop music fans.

As Now That's what I Call Music turns the big 4-0, we give you 40 facts about the ultimate pop mixtape.

1. The first ever NOW compilation was released on 28th November 1983 .

2. The first NOW album to be released as download was NOW 62 in 2005

3. In 2017 NOW sold more product than the top selling DVDs and console games such as FIFA and Assassin’s Creed.

4. Tracey Ullman, who appears on NOW 1 was also the voice behind the TV ad

5. Despite being the queen of pop, Madonna had never allowed any of her tracks to appear on a NOW – until her song Into The Groove featured on the series’ 30th anniversary edition.

6. The longest track on any NOW album is Don McLean’s American Pie at 8.31 minutes

7. The name Now That's What I Call Music was inspired by a poster of a pig.

Virgin music executives were mulling over possible titles for the compilation and took inspiration from a poster for Danish bacon that Virgin founder Richard Branson had bought in. The poster featured a singing chicken and a pig who was happy with what he was hearing. The caption read "Now. That's what I call music."

8. The pig in question was used as a mascot on NOW 3, 4, and 5.

9. Even though NOW 1-5 featured photos of the artists on the album, subsequent releases have almost always featured a graphic instead of any artist photographs. this is because it's a tough job to secure the permission to license songs, let alone rights for images too. Any last-minute problems with getting approval for a photo would only delay the album's release.

10. Now That's What I Call Music is the biggest-selling compilation series in the world, with more than 120 million records sold and 654 weeks at number one.

11. NOW Dance began in 1985 and featured 12" remixes and extended edition of songs. From 1991 the album only featured the 7" versions.

12. NOW Christmas was also made its debut in 1985. There have been 11 in the series so far.

13. The NOW Special Editions series began in 1986. They all vary from one to five disc compilations (occasionally six disc), starting in 1986 and continuing to the present day (Jan 2023). Initially, a special edition of a Now compilation was quite rare, and between 1994 and 2002, there weren't any released at all.

14. The very first NOW Special Edition was NOW That's What I Call Music : The Summer Album. The most recent is Now That's What I Call Eurovision Song Contest. (Although the Now That's What I Call 40 Years album will be released this week. )

15. The NOW albums didn't get a USA release until 1998

16. The most featured artist on a NOW album is Robbie Williams with 30 singles

17. The best selling NOW is NOW 44 which sold over 2.3 million copies.

18. Heavy metal gods, Iron Maiden made an appearance on NOW 12 with 'Can I Play With Madness'

19. At 9 years old Willow Smith was the youngest person to feature on a NOW album with 'whip My Hair'.

20. ABBA have only appeared once on NOW 23

21. Whitney Houston has only appeared once on NOW 74.

22. The Smiths have only appeared once on NOW 2, but guitarist Johnny Marr has appeared 4 times playing guitar for other people: Billy Bragg NOW 8, Kirsty MacColl NOW 15, Banderas NOW 19 and Electronic NOW 22.

23. Now 16 has the least #1 singles - zero

24. Now 88 has the most #1 singles - 15 number ones.

25. For retro fans and collectors NOW 43-48 were available on Minidisc

26. NOW 62-91 were available as MP3's

27. The man who started the first NOW, Phil Collins has had 13 solo appearances and 7 with Genesis

28. Sam Smith made their first appearance on NOW 84 with Disclosure and 'Latch'

29.Mark Goodier has been the voice over of the TV adverts from NOW 21

30. Actor Brian Glover was the voice of the TV adverts on NOW 3-5

31. Status Quo have made 6 appearances in total.

32. Lady Gaga's first appearance on NOW 72 with 'Just Dance'

33. The NOW Specials have catered for all musical tastes and have included, classical, Musicals, Reggae, Disco and Country,

34. Despite being the best selling male UK make artist of the 80s, Shakin' Stevens has never appeared on a NOW compilation.

35. The Beatles never made an appearance but 10 artists have covered their songs on NOW compilations including Tom Odell, Wet Wet Wet, Bananarama and Candy Flip.

36. Despite appearing at Live Aid in 1985 The Who, Dire Straits and Spandau Ballet have never appeared on NOW.

37. Girls Aloud have made 13 consecutive appearances

38. The Oasis song 'Songbird' is the shortest track on all the compilations at 2min 7sec on NOW 54

39. Mark Owen had 30 seconds edited from his song 'Four Minute Warning' on NOW 56 despite the song being recorded to last exactly four minutes

40. NOW 4 was the first to feature in CD format


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