Various Artists

Lost Hits of the '60s: 40 Solid Gold AM Radio Classics

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For the most part, this collection of pop recordings originally released on 45 RPM singles between 1965 and 1969, lives up to its title, that is, assuming that words like "hits," "gold," and "classics" can be defined loosely. The tension here is really between the first two words of the title, "lost" and "hits." One might say that such well-known tracks as Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and the Lovin' Spoonful's "Nashville Cats" are hardly lost, while there are several tracks that would not qualify in most people's books as hits. Nevertheless, 39 out of the 40 cuts reached Billboard's Hot 100 (some just barely), the only exception being Harpers Bizarre's "Malibu U.," the B-side of the group's 1967 single "Anything Goes"; 33 made the Top 40; and ten went all the way to the Top Ten. The bulk of the selections, then, were minor hits that will be remembered by people who were listening to AM radio during the second half of the 1960s, but that, because they were not big hits, have not had much life since then. The album features several major stars of the era, among them the Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee, and the Monkees, but more notable are the one-hit wonders whose names may be recalled (and then probably only vaguely) by those same AM radio listeners: the Cherry People, Every Mother's Son, Four Jacks and a Jill, the Hombres, Leapy Lee, Magic Lanterns, the Neon Philharmonic, Michael Parks, People, Peppermint Rainbow, Rhinoceros, the Rose Garden, and Mason Williams. The collection comes courtesy of Warner Special Products, but recordings were licensed from all the other major labels and quite a few minor ones. Joe Knoche's annotations note that many tracks are making their U.S. CD debuts, citing, for example, the Association's "Goodbye Columbus" and Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Rock & Roll Restaurant" (a much-shortened studio recording of his famous signature song). It is also true, however, that several, including the Five Americans' "Western Union," the Sweet Inspirations' "Sweet Inspiration," and Lulu's "Best of Both Worlds," are in monophonic sound even though there are stereo versions in existence. (In other cases, such as Crispian St. Peter's "Pied Piper" and the Fireballs' "Bottle of Wine," stereo versions have yet to turn up.) But that's just to say that the collection isn't perfect; actually, the most serious criticism to be made, especially for those baby boomers who are its intended audience, is that the album has only 40 tracks, not, say, the 50 that might have fit on two CDs.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:05
2 2:33
4 2:28
5 2:09
6 2:30
7 2:31
9 2:32
10 2:57
12 2:51
14 2:50
16 2:26
17 3:01
19 2:30
20 2:08
21 3:36
22 2:18
23 2:49
24 2:01
25 2:38
26 2:06
27 2:20
28 4:44
29 2:50
30 3:01
31 2:40
32 2:09
33 3:43
35 2:33
36 4:35
37 3:00
38 2:39
39 2:05
40 2:03
blue highlight denotes track pick