Like all the other entries in Rhino's Billboard series, Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1965 mixes big hits from both one-hit wonders and '60s stars. Due to licensing restrictions, such heavy hitters as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan are missing, but this disc intends to draw a portrait of pop radio, not necessarily rock & roll, and for the most part succeeds. There are a couple of dated cuts, to be sure -- Shirley Ellis' "Name Game" may still be heard on playgrounds today, but it hasn't aged well as a recording, and neither has Barry McGuire's mock-Dylan protest rant "Eve of Destruction" -- but most of the collection is terrific, boasting classic singles that range from bubblegum pop (Len Barry's "1, 2, 3") to exquisitely crafted mini-operas from Phil Spector (the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") to faux-garage stomps (Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs' "Wooly Bully") to everything in between. Among the other highlights are the Beach Boys' "Help Me, Rhonda," Gary Lewis' "This Diamond Ring," the Toys' "Lover's Concerto," Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" and Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe." The best of these songs capture their era and transcend it simultaneously, and that's why the disc is a good sampler, one with the essence of mid-'60s pop.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine