Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits: 1967

Various Artists

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Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits: 1967 Review

by Bruce Eder

The producers of Rhino's Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits series have done an amazingly good job with this volume -- especially when one considers that the music of such top (and representative) acts of 1967 as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doors et al, was not available to them. But they've still managed to represent a lot of great songs and greater talent, and to touch on most of the major sounds that were running through rock & roll that year: soul (Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave), pop-soul (the Music Explosion), pop/rock (the Box Tops, the Association), pop/psychedelia (the Strawberry Alarm Clock), teen pop (Tommy James & the Shondells), folk-rock evolved into pop/rock (the Turtles' "Happy Together"), and even grabbed onto the tail-end of the British Invasion (the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'"). What's more, there's not a bad song here, from "A Little Bit of Soul" to "Gimme Some Loving," even if many casual listeners (never mind serious fans) will likely have most of what's here, especially numbers like "Respect" and "Soul Man." The 25 minutes and change here would make a great half-hour set on oldies radio, even in the 21st century, and the makers can be proud of that. Purists should be warned that the makers relied on the stereo mixes on most of what's here, a concession to the tastes of CD buyers in 1989, but the mastering by Bill Inglot captures most of the punch of the mono originals -- and the inner detail revealed even on ubiquitous fare such as "Happy Together" and "The Letter," is a great boon. As with the rest of this series, the annotation is minimal, and the fun quotient is extremely high.

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