Various Artists

Big Hits of the 60's [CSC/EMI]

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Mail-order firm CSC Music's 67-track, five-disc set Big Hits of the 60's contains recordings licensed from EMI, the British-based major label that owns Capitol Records and that has, over the years, scooped up other record companies that were active in the 1960s, such as Imperial, Laurie, Liberty, and United Artists. So, the catalog contains a great deal of U.S. and U.K. pop music from the decade. Typical of mail-order releases, the collection has a bare-bones, thrown-together feel. There are no annotations, the sequencing seems virtually random, and the material has been spread across more discs than necessary; at a running time under three hours, the album could have fit easily onto three CDs rather than five, which makes the 50-dollar asking price upon release a bit high. In addition, the sound quality varies inexplicably. Why is the Beach Boys' "Help Me Rhonda" in mono when other Beach Boys tracks are in stereo? The album's relatively unassuming title is earned: All but one track, the Sunrays' "I Live for the Sun," was a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and 56 hit the Top Ten. But only four of the Top 25 singles artists of the decade (the Beach Boys, Bobby Vee, Dion, and Ricky Nelson) are represented, and the collection is actually more interesting for its obscure names (Marv Johnson, Danny Williams, Gene Simmons [no, not the Kiss guy], Troy Shondell, Mel Carter) and for songs later revived ("You're Sixteen," "Cry Baby," "Denise") than for the overused familiar tracks. While the British Invasion is represented, this is mostly music from the early '60s -- there are only four recordings from 1966, one from 1967, and none at all from 1968 or 1969. So, there's plenty of enjoyable nostalgia here, but as a collection, the set doesn't bear close scrutiny.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:57
2 2:46
3 2:18
4 2:15
5 2:29
6 2:45
7 2:46
8 2:30
9 2:48
10 2:31
11 3:25
12 2:22
13 2:38
14 2:18
15 2:19
16 2:31
17 2:20
18 2:46
19 2:00
20 2:21
21 2:48
22 2:38
23 2:18
24 2:09
25 2:33
26 2:28
27 2:29
28 2:24
29 2:57
30 2:07
31 2:23
32 2:29
33 2:19
34 2:36
35 2:44
36 3:15
37 2:46
38 2:43
39 2:26
40 2:43
41 2:04
42 2:36
43 2:37
44 2:36
45 2:39
46 2:13
47 2:01
48 3:02
49 1:53
50 2:28
51 2:33
52 2:42
53 2:27
54 2:40
55 2:29
56 2:38
57 2:29
58 2:43
59 2:47
60 2:23
61 3:00
62 2:26
63 2:14
64 2:45
65 2:05
66 2:28
67 2:48
blue highlight denotes track pick