Available through the Columbia House record club, this fourth volume in Realm Records' series of 1960s hits compilations is not as extensive as its three-CD packaging might suggest. For sale on release at about 20 dollars, plus a hefty shipping/handling charge, of course, it contains only 36 tracks at a running time of 97 minutes. Those 36 tracks constitute an apparently randomly selected and sequenced collection of hit records; 34 of them reached the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 1969, the two exceptions getting to numbers 11 and 12. Fifteen chart-toppers are included, beginning with three in a row from 1961: Dion's "Runaround Sue," Del Shannon's "Runaway," and Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby." Light pop/rock is succeeded by British Invasion rock (Peter & Gordon's Lennon & McCartney-penned "A World Without Love," Freddie & the Dreamers' "I'm Telling You Now"), girl group favorites (the Chiffons' "He's So Fine," the Shirelles' "Soldier Boy"), folk-rock (the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?"), surf music (the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," Jan & Dean's "Surf City"), and so on. The only oddity is Cannonball Adderley's soul-jazz instrumental "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," a live track complete with spoken introduction, giving it a running time over five minutes, rather than the three-minute single edit that was a hit. The experience of running the album through one's multiple CD changer is just like listening to an oldies station minus the commercials and disc jockey chatter. The sound quality is good, and the songs were hits, and for those who remember the '60s fondly, that may be enough, even if labels like Rhino do this sort of thing much better.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann