Various Artists

Rock & Roll: The First 50 Years - The Early 60's

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There's nothing too obscure or thematically ambitious about this compilation: it's just a 25-song collection of Top Tenners from 1960-63, taken from all corners of the pop-rock spectrum. Maybe it's too predictable for some listeners, particularly collectors who are likely to have much or all of this somewhere else in their library. But on its own terms, it's very good, and in its own way a demonstration that the early '60s were far from a desert for creative rock'n'roll, spawning their share of both great classics and hits that, if not classic, were at least pretty fun. As far as great classics, this disc gives you Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion," Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl," the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved," Del Shannon's "Runaway," Dee Clark's "Raindrops," the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?," and Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby." As far as songs that are at the very least a heck of a lot of a fun, there's Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin'," Ernie Maresca's "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)," Freddy Cannon's "Palisades Park," Billy Bland's "Let the Little Girl Dance," and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' "Finger Poppin' Time." You also get teen idols (Jimmy Clanton's "Venus in Blue Jeans," Ricky Nelson's "Travelin' Man"), instrumental rock (Duane Eddy's "Because They're Young"), and melodrama (Gene Pitney's "Only Love Can Break a Heart"). True, only a couple of these items have escaped incessant oldies rotation, those being the Little Dippers' easy-listening country-pop number "Forever" and, perhaps, Jimmy Charles' soul-tinged ballad "A Million to One." Should your shelves not yet be stuffed with music from the era, though, it's a pretty good sampling of some of the era's better music, annotated with reasonable thoroughness.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:27
2 2:25
3 2:01
4 2:59
5 2:01
6 2:24
7 2:27
8 2:02
9 2:22
10 2:49
11 2:21
12 2:09
13 2:06
14 2:33
15 2:22
16 2:52
17 2:25
18 2:24
19 2:31
20 2:21
21 2:43
22 2:36
23 2:24
24 1:54
25 2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick