25 Top 10 Hits Of The Early '50s CD (2004)

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Seminal Hits of Rock 'n' Roll

by redtunictroll@hotmail.com on 6/27/2004

These twenty-six selections represent some of the very best that rock 'n' roll's earliest years had to offer. Focusing on the years 1956 through 1959, the album would be more accurately titled "The Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Years," making the point that these are the essential roots of all that bloomed over the succeeding 46 years. ¶ Varese's done an exemplary job of pulling together numerous strands of music that were (often retroactively) dubbed "rock 'n' roll." As this collection demonstrates, the tapestry of rock 'n' roll included threads of country, R 'n' B (from New York, New Orleans, and beyond), doo-wop, vocal pop, piano- and sax-driven barnburners, and rockabilly. Of particular interest is Sonny Dae and His Knight's rare jump-jazz rendition of "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock," which shows the source, but not the rock 'n' roll bite of Bill Haley's subsequent cover. ¶ Rock 'n' roll's formative years were born of an amazing fusion that burst open with incredible originality and vitality. Varese's captured a compelling swath of the highlights (with tracks 15, 20, 24, and 25 in true stereo) on this richly programmed disc. It's far from a complete picture - without Elvis, Holly and Berry, it could hardly even suggest itself to be - but it's a fun spin full of seminal rock 'n' roll sides. Together with period photos and artwork, and Bill Dahl's informative liner notes, this package shows ever-so-clearly that they just don't make 'em like they used to. Not even close.

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Product Overview

This collection celebrates the beginnings of the first full decade of Rock and Roll with some of the most unforgettable hits of the early 60s. All of the songs are the original hit single versions. The release features many of the biggest and most influential recording artists of the early 60s, like The 4 Seasons, The Everly Brothers, Ben E. King, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney, The Shirelles and many more.


Label Varese Sarabande
SKU 60632538
UPC 030206655421
UPC 14 00030206655421
Format CD
Release Date 4/27/2004
Author R And B Guitar Bible
Technical Info
Producer Marty Wekser; Steve Massie; Cary E. Mansfield
CatalogID 066554
Lable Name Var?se Sarabande (USA)
Released 04/27/2004
Original Release 2004
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Mono/Stereo Mono
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00030206655421
Album Notes and Credits
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Photographer: Billy Vera.
Like numerous compilations on the Varese Sarabande label, this anthology of 1950s rock & roll hits seems geared toward the casual consumer who picks up oldies collections once in a while, not the more serious collector looking for the best overview of a genre or the best volumes for building a comprehensive library of a certain style. If you're not worried about such matters, however, this 26-track scoop of early rock & roll smashes is pretty good, though the three-CD The Golden Era of Rock 'n' Roll 1954-1963 is a much more definitive survey of the most essential early rock & roll hits, if you're inclined to dig deeper. But Rock & Roll - The First 50 Years: The '50s 25 Top 10 Hits certainly has a generous share of inarguable top-ranked classics, starting with Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes," Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill," Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love," Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," the Coasters' "Yakety Yak," and Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops." There are also some of the greatest songs by early rockers known for only one or two hits: Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City," Huey "Piano" Smith's "Don't You Just Know It," and Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin." There's also some diversity that goes a little beyond the most celebrated early rock & roll standards, including instrumentals (the Champs' "Tequila," Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk, Pt. 2," Bill Justis' "Raunchy"), teen idols (Freddy Cannon, Frankie Avalon, Jimmy Clanton), quality songs that are more pop than rock (Miss Toni Fisher's "The Big Hurt," Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife," Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues"), and even Boyd Bennett's Bill Haley-like "Seventeen," which was a Top Ten hit in 1955 though it eventually faded from popular memory. As a "bonus" track, there's also Sonny Dae & His Knights' original 1954 version of "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock," which is more boogie-oriented than (and considerably inferior to) the Haley cover that became the first massive rock & roll hit. ~ Richie Unterberger
Disc 1
1 Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins
2 Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
3 Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison
4 Raunchy - Bill Justis & His Orchestra
5 Singing The Blues - Guy Mitchell
6 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Jerry Lee Lewis
7 Bye Bye Love - The Everly Brothers
8 Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
9 Big Hurt, The - Miss Toni Fisher
10 Seventeen - Boyd Bennett & His Rockets
11 White Sport Coat, A (And A Pink Carnation) - Marty Robbins
12 La De Dah - Billy & Lillie
13 Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
14 Poor Little Fool - Ricky Nelson
15 Yakety Yak - The Coasters
16 Tequila - The Champs
17 Rockin' Robin - Bobby Day
18 Just A Dream - Jimmy Clanton
19 Tallahassee Lassie - Freddy Cannon
20 Venus - Frankie Avalon
21 Don't You Just Know It - Huey "Piano" Smith
22 Honky Tonk (Part Two) - Bill Doggett
23 Short Fat Fanny - Larry Williams
24 Lonely Teardrops - Jackie Wilson
25 Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
26 Rock Around The Clock (We're Gonna) - Sonny Dae & His Knights

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Seminal Hits of Rock 'n' Roll by redtunictroll@hotmail.com on Jun 27, 2004