Mickie Most was born Michael Hayes in Aldershot, England, but then moved with his family to North London. As a teenager, Most became entranced with the British rock & roll scene and formed the Most Brothers, in which he covered American R&B numbers. In 1959 he emigrated to South Africa for two years and fronted the rock-focused Mickie Most & His Playboys, a group that again covered U.S. hits of the era. While in South Africa, the band managed to record and release three albums and a number of EPs and singles. Most became a star and was taught the recording business. The band managed to score 11 consecutive number ones on the South African charts and rated considerable attention on the international music market, and when Most returned to England in 1963, his reputation earned him a place that would eventually make him one of the mid-'60s most in-demand record producers, producing hits for such bands as the Animals, Herman's Hermits, Jeff Beck, and many more. The Best of Mickie Most & His Playboys is the first-ever compilation of those South African recordings, and the only release so far that covers Most's pre-production career. This disc contains 30 tracks recorded between 1959-1963 but released between 1962-1964. Though mainly comprised of straight cover versions of rock & roll hits of the era, there are a few tracks included in this set that were either written by Most or given special Most arrangements which varied considerably from the original version. Most handled all of the vocal work, production, and guitar on these recordings, but the Playboys were mainly studio musicians and many of the recordings feature a very young Jimmy Page on guitar. As with many of the Rock-In-Beat releases, the sound quality is spectacular, but liner notes and booklet content is very basic.
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