The Spotify Playlist

FIAT Million Hits

"12 tracks from original artists who have sold over a million. Produced in support of the FIAT Madagascar Appeal to commemorate the 1,000,000 Fiat Uno."

It's the mid-1980s and to show their commitment to saving the planet, FIAT gave away these charity compilations with their cars. Given that it's songs which sold lots and lots of copies, it's a pretty good microcosm of what people were listening to in the 80s without the faux-amnesia which strikes when meeting new people when you pretend that the first record you bought was from The Smith, knowing full well it was Five Star.

The liner notes are a fairly spectacular fail on the part of FIAT, or at least the person attempting to justify their green credentials. They begin with this quote from naturalist David Bellamy:
"May I go on record and say thank you for caring enough to take part in the FIAT Madahascar Appeal. Thanks to you, FIAT and the World Wildlife Fund, one of the earths top ten conservation sites and hundreds of species of animals and plants which are found there and nowhere else on earth, are much safer."
Which is fine and laudable. Then there's a section describing the extinction event pending in Madagscar and the causes:
"Madagascar's population of eight million is growing at a rate of 3% a year, and with this growth the natural habitat of the wildlife, including extensive rain forests, is being ruthlessly destroyed. The effects of this development have been so dramatic that today there are more endangered species in Madagscar than in another other country in the world."
Which is true and will continue to be so what with the current political climate in the country. The notes continue by explaining why the aye-aye has been chosen as the symbol of the campaign -- it was the most under threat as Douglas Adams discovered at the time. But then you come up against this bit of prose and see if you can spot the sentence were by jaw metaphorically hit the floor:
Scientists estimate that unless something is down now, the opportunity of saving the wildlife of Madagascar will be gone within ten years. The World Wildlife Fund has given this top priority, and now their action is being funded by another organisation with a worldwide reputation.


For almost a century, Fiat have been associated with the production of high quality cars. But the company's international name can also be seen in areas as diverse as agricultural machinery, construction and excavation equipment, production systems, components for motor vehicles, industrial and domestic appliances, as well as in tourism and transport, aviation, and telecommunications."
To underscore their global credentials, FIAT admits to helping produce the very kinds of machinery which is putting Madagascar under threat in the first place. For the benefit of the lawyers, I should say I'm not implying that FIAT had a contract on the island; I'm just saying that I can't believe that whoever was writing the liner notes didn't find some other way of explaining why the car company is interested. Perhaps they were expecting people to be enjoying the record so much that they wouldn't bother to read it anyway.

At least they didn't mention the tanks and aircraft.

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