Although Showaddywaddy's best-remembered hits were on the Bell label, some of their biggest were scored with Arista following the latter's absorption of its glam-era cousin in 1976. That was the year in which Showaddywaddy took "Under the Moon of Love" to number one in Britain; The Arista Singles, Vol. 1 opens with the follow-up to that particular monster, March 1977's cover of the Kalin Twins' "When," then follows through with "You Got What It Takes," "Dancin' Party," "I Wonder Why," and "A Little Bit of Soap," before it even sniffs a song that didn't make the British Top Five. That was 1979's "Remember When," whose number 17 peak marked the end of Showaddywaddy's period of absolute domination. But the group kept on going regardless, with their '80s output covered by volume two of this release. Interspersed with the nine A-sides included here, of course, are their respective B-sides, many of which have never previously appeared on CD, and all of which are band compositions. And it is among these that the true joys of this collection will be found. Despite a white-hot start, Showaddywaddy's faith in the ability of their own material to hit the charts was subverted by more retro tendencies very early on, and, while their taste in covers (and the rearrangement thereof) was seldom less than spot-on, still it was a relief to flip over every successive new release and catch the band actually being itself. "Superstar," "Maybe Maybe Maybe," and "Five Minutes More" could all have proven at least as successful as their respective A-sides, while the sorry fate of "A Night at Daddy Gees," which barely scraped the Top 40 in 1979, could easily have been reversed had the single itself been flipped. "I Appreciate the Job" is one of the finest of all of Showaddywaddy's later efforts, and, as the final track on this collection, can only leave the listener breathless for more of the same -- which, of course, is where The Arista Singles, Vol. 2 comes in.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson