There’s a point in any artist’s career, especially if they haven’t quite paid off their studio time, when the mind of their record label turns to wringing the last pips out of the back catalogue. A last chance power drive, if you will.
Usually there’s one or two “Everlasting Love” compilations, perhaps an “80s Solid Gold Collection”, or even a “Best Dad Dancing Record Ever”. Usually Prefab Sprout sneak onto these towards the end of the selection process. You get the impression that it’s like one of those football selection lineups at school where the two opposing captains start with the Bangles and all the good players gets taken first, while the other kids huddle together in the mist: “George Michael”.. “Aretha Franklyn”.. “ELO”… “Simon”… and then like the scruffy lame kid somewhere near the end standing next to Garfunkel, someone notices our broken heroes and they amble over joylessly to join the team.
But there is one category of compilation album where Prefab Sprout is pretty near the top of the list. And that category is the DRIVING COMPILATION. Essentially, you can’t release a song called “Cars and Girls” without being top of the list for a driving compilation. It really doesn’t matter that the song really has nothing to do with Cars (or Girls), we are in the literalist world of the compilation committee.
And so here are all the Sprout inflected driving compilations I could find, collected together for easy reference. Let the record show that “Cars and Girls” features in eight of the twelve selections. “King of Rock’n’Roll” twice. “Faron Young” once, tying with, of all things, “Life of Surprises”. Pull on your driving gloves, set your transmission to Sprout Mode, and get yourself out on Highway Nine.