This package is part of the Varese Sarabande label's general campaign to put out new greatest-hits packages of artists they've already given the best-of treatment to, the chief difference being the inclusion of more tracks the second time around. The company's The Best of Frankie Avalon, issued in 1995, had 18 songs; 25 All-Time Greatest Hits, as is self-evident, has seven more. The biggest hits are on both CDs, but alas it's not an automatic given that 25 All-Time Greatest Hits makes other Avalon anthologies redundant, since it's missing a number 56 chart hit that was on The Best of Frankie Avalon, "The Puppet Song." Granted that tune's not a world-beater, but its inclusion would probably mean something to a lot of fans who bother to select an Avalon best-of off the shelves. That omission aside, this has everything almost anyone would want by Avalon, including a bunch of songs beyond the half-dozen or so that still cling to oldies radio play lists. The best of the obscure tracks are the ones from the 1963 non-charting 45 "Beach Party"/"Don't Stop Now," which are far harder-rocking than most of his output, though they're not memorable. "Beach Party" was written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian, who were involved in composing many a hot rod and surf record, including some for the Beach Boys; "Don't Stop Now," which sounds like it would have fit in well in one of his beach movies, even has some early fuzz guitar. Beyond that, it might be noted that a surprisingly high portion of this has no relation to rock music, being far more in the orchestrated pop balladeer school that rock & roll did so much to close down.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger