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1956: A Time to Remember, 20 Original Chart Hits

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Though rock & roll hit in England about a year later than it did in America, and was held at arm's length by most of the British music establishment, it still made itself felt somewhat, as is evident here. Popsters Slim Whitman, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby (with Grace Kelly), and Ronnie Hilton are present, but so are Gene Vincent, Fats Domino, and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. Actually, some of the pop music here would have almost as direct an impact on the shape of subsequent rock & roll history as the Vincent, Domino, and Lymon cuts ("Be Bop a Lula," "Blueberry Hill," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"). "Robin Hood" was a substantial hit for a crooner named Dick James, who saw hardly a penny for the song's sales overseas and vowed to treat his clients and writers better than that when he became a music publisher; he ended up giving the Beatles a good deal, as result, at a point when neither they nor their manager knew much about the business, when he set up Northern Songs for them in 1962. There's also a fair amount of material related to rock & roll: Stan Freberg parodies "Rock Island Line" very effectively, Sonny James is represented by "The Cat Came Back," and Tony Crombie & His Rockets sing "Teach You To Rock," a by-the-numbers introduction to the music; but the jazz-oriented Humphrey Lyttleton Band rocks out pretty hard on "Bad Penny Blues," which is arguably the best British cut in this collection.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Gene Vincent
2:36
2 2:37
3
feat: Tony Crombie
2:01
4 3:18
5
feat: Slim Whitman
2:22
6 2:43
7
feat: Dick James
2:30
8
feat: Tony Brent
2:44
9 3:07
10
feat: Fats Domino
2:20
11
feat: Ruby Murray
2:22
12
feat: Dean Martin
2:15
13
feat: Eve Boswell
2:13
14 2:52
15 2:42
16
feat: Sonny James
2:33
17 2:19
18
feat: Stan Freberg
3:22
19 2:19
20
feat: Bing Crosby
3:04
blue highlight denotes track pick