Rosemary Clooney

16 Biggest Hits

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Confusing as it may seem, the 16 Biggest Hits series of anthologies from Sony's archival imprint Legacy is more a brand name than a literal description of the contents of the albums. As with the label's less literally titled 16 Most Requested Songs series, these albums are likely to contain many of an artist's most successful single releases as registered in the national charts but not to quite fulfill the title. And so it is with the Rosemary Clooney entry. Clooney launched a solo career on the eventual Sony-owned Columbia Records label in 1950 after splitting with her sister Betty and the Tony Pastor Orchestra, and she racked up a series of hits before departing in 1957, at which time her commercial success declined. 16 Biggest Hits contains 11 of her 16 biggest hits from this period, including her four number one singles, "Come on-a My House," "Half as Much," "Hey There," and "This Ole House." The five missing titles are the Top Ten hits "Beautiful Brown Eyes" and "The Night Before Christmas Song," the Top 20 hits "Be My Life's Companion" and "Too Old to Cut the Mustard," and the Top 40 hit "I'm Waiting Just for You." In their place, the compilers have substituted "Sisters," a duet between Clooney and her sister on an Irving Berlin song from her film White Christmas that was a Top 40 hit; "The House of Singing Bamboo," a duet with Guy Mitchell; "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," an Academy Award-winning song, on which Clooney is accompanied by Harry James and His Orchestra; "Sophisticated Lady" from Blue Rose, Clooney's album with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra; and a version of Cole Porter's "From This Moment On" that has not been released previously in the U.S. These are not unreasonable alternates to the missing songs, and 16 Biggest Hits manages a good balance between Clooney's popular novelty material and her more impressive ballad performances. But as of the fall of 2000, there was no comprehensive CD-era collection of Clooney's Columbia recordings; this album repeats ten songs from 16 Most Requested Songs; and, as usual, the title 16 Biggest Hits turns to be a misnomer.

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