Donnie Brooks

Greatest Hits 1958-1968

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Donnie Brooks' "Mission Bell" was a Top 10 hit in 1960 and the biggest hit by far of the handful of singles he charted for Era Records. His hits were in a teen idol vein, but Brooks started out recording some fierce rock & roll under the names Johnny Faire and Dick Bush. Greatest Hits 1958-1968 contains 34 recordings Brooks made for Era and Reprise in the '60s as well as a handful of early rockin' sides made under his Faire and Bush monikers. "Bertha Lou," a 1958 single for the Surf label that was credited to Faire, is a spectacular rock & roll obscurity that was immediately covered by, and became a minor hit for, Clint Miller. Dick Clark reportedly banned the song because of its suggestive lyrics ("Bertha Lou, I want to conjugate with you"), but it remains a lost classic. Brooks' '60s efforts are more twee, with cutesy background vocals and light material like the clever "Memphis" and the silly "Oh, You Beautiful Doll." "Up to My Ears in Tears" is a protest against the many hit songs of tragedy in the early '60s and "If I Never Get to Love You" borrows from Pat Boone's "Speedy Gonzales." The latest selection in the bunch, "Love Is Funny That Way" from 1968, reveals that Brooks followed a stylistic arch similar to that of Tommy Roe. Greatest Hits 1958-1968 shows that there was much more to Brooks than "Mission Bell."

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