King's Singers

Colouring Book

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Forget the Beach Boys, the Association, and the Free Design -- perhaps the most stunning and complex vocal harmonies of the late '60s belonged to the King's Singers. Interpreting mainstream pop hits via traditional choral techniques, the group bridged the gap between the classical and the contemporary, effectively establishing the lineage from Mozart to Motown while expanding the possibilities of both camps. The él Records compilation Colouring Book remains the best introduction to the King Singers' psychedelic foppery, assembling 18 radical renditions of familiar hits like David Bowie's "Life on Mars" and Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush." Roughly half of the songs originate from a 1972 session produced and arranged by the legendary George Martin, including a breathtaking reinvention of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home." The imagination and dexterity of the group's approach is striking. To their credit, they approach their material with the utmost respect, and what may seem on the surface little more than an ill-conceived novelty resonates with a purity of expression that's unforgettable.

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