Rock & Roll: first 50 Years: early 60s CD (2004)

Artist: Various Artists

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Good overview, but missing major entries

by on 9/29/2004

Varese's second volume in this series focuses on the years 1960-63, a time when rock 'n' roll was in transition between its '50s blues, R&B and country roots and the coming reinvention of the British Invasion. What's captured here includes the softer, poppier work of harmony groups and teen idols like The Four Seasons and Ricky Nelson, a smattering of '50s holdovers like The Everly Brothers, Duane Eddy and Hank Ballard, and neo-soul sides from the likes of Ben E. King and Dee Clark. At a single disc of 25-tracks, this collection covers a lot of ground, including Brill Building hits, girl groups, soul, teen idols, pop, and adult contemporary - many of the threads that formed the fabric of early 60s radio. Though many of the tracks have been anthologized elsewhere (for good reason!), a few have been less overexposed, including The Little Dippers' superb choral-harmony-meets-country-lounge hit "Forever," Ernie Maresca's swinging' '50s throwback "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)," and Billy Bland's fine soul side, "Let the Little Girl Dance." Though several important aspects of the early 60s are missing (e.g., Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, Elvis' post-army hits, surf music, the folk revival), what's here is solid gold. Particularly interesting is the view of pop record production that hadn't yet gravitated completely to the coasts (NY/LA), with hits coming from New Mexico ("Sugar Shack"), Nashville ("Poetry in Motion" "Forever"), Chicago ("Raindrops") and Pittsburgh ("Two Face Have I"). True stereo on all cuts except 1-3, 6, 11, 13, 19, 20, 23, 24, and when you hear how much action is packed into Freddy Canon's "Palisades Park," you'll wonder if two tracks was ever really necessary!

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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 61012420
UPC 030206655728
UPC 14 00030206655728
Format CD
Release Date 7/13/2004
Author Various Artists
Technical Info
Producer David Kirschner; Nick Cenci; Carl Davis; Earl Montgomery; Marvin Holzman; Ernie Maresca; Frank Slay; Hank Ballard; Harry Balk; Hy Weiss; Aaron Schroeder; Jerry Leiber; Jimmie Haskell; Lee Hazlewood; Lester Sill; Luther Dixon; Mike Stoller; Norman Petty; A
CatalogID 066557
Lable Name Var?se Sarabande (USA)
Released 07/13/2004
Original Release 2004
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 60m : 21s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00030206655728
Album Notes and Credits
Audio Remixers: Evren G?knar; Marty Wekser.
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Photographer: Billy Vera.
Arrangers: Joe Rene; Billy Mure; Burt Bacharach; Carole King.
There's nothing too obscure or thematically ambitious about this compilation: it's just a 25-song collection of Top Tenners from 1960-63, taken from all corners of the pop-rock spectrum. Maybe it's too predictable for some listeners, particularly collectors who are likely to have much or all of this somewhere else in their library. But on its own terms, it's very good, and in its own way a demonstration that the early '60s were far from a desert for creative rock'n'roll, spawning their share of both great classics and hits that, if not classic, were at least pretty fun. As far as great classics, this disc gives you Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion," Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl," the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," Del Shannon's "Runaway," Dee Clark's "Raindrops," the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?," and Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby." As far as songs that are at the very least a heck of a lot of a fun, there's Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin'," Ernie Maresca's "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)," Freddy Cannon's "Palisades Park," Billy Bland's "Let the Little Girl Dance," and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' "Finger Poppin' Time." You also get teen idols (Jimmy Clanton's "Venus in Blue Jeans," Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man"), instrumental rock (Duane Eddy's "Because They're Young"), and melodrama (Gene Pitney's "Only Love Can Break a Heart"). True, only a couple of these items have escaped incessant oldies rotation, those being the Little Dippers' easy-listening country-pop number "Forever" and, perhaps, Jimmy Charles' soul-tinged ballad "A Million to One." Should your shelves not yet be stuffed with music from the era, though, it's a pretty good sampling of some of the era's better music, annotated with reasonable thoroughness. ~ Richie Unterberger
Disc 1
1 Loco-Motion, The - Little Eva
2 Big Girls Don't Cry - The Four Seasons
3 Sugar Shack - Jimmy Gilmer
4 Stand By Me - Ben E. King
5 Because They're Young - Duane Eddy
6 Venus In Blue Jeans - Jimmy Clanton
7 Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler
8 When Will I Be Loved? - The Everly Brothers
9 Tossin' And Turnin' - Bobby Lewis
10 Only Love Can Break A Heart - Gene Pitney
11 Runaway - Del Shannon
12 Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out) - Ernie Maresca
13 I Love How You Love Me - The Paris Sisters
14 Poetry In Motion - Johnny Tillotson
15 Travelin' Man - Rick Nelson
16 Raindrops - Dee Clark
17 Bobby's Girl - Marcie Blane
18 Forever - The Little Dippers
19 Million to One, A - The Revellettes/Jimmy Charles
20 Let The Little Girl Dance - Billy Bland
21 Will You Love Me Tomorrow? - The Shirelles
22 Finger Poppin' Time - Hank Ballard & the Midnighters
23 Hey! Baby - Bruce Channel
24 Palisades Park - Freddy Cannon
25 Two Faces Have I - Lou Christie
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Good overview, but missing major entries by on Sep 29, 2004