Various Artists

Fabulous Fifties: 20 Original Fifties Classics [Disc 1]

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The thing most of these 20 pop tracks from the early and mid-'50s have in common is that they now reside in the vaults of EMI, having been released originally in the U.S. on Capitol. Disky, the Dutch reissue label, frequently licenses EMI material, and with a few exceptions ("Outside of Heaven" by Eddie Fisher from RCA, "Sam's Song" by Bing and Gary Crosby from Decca, "I Only Saw Him Once" by Rosemary Clooney from Columbia), that's what it's done here. Of course, that's invisible to the consumer, who simply finds that this first of three discs in a budget-priced box set appears to be a miscellaneous collection. There are some big hits -- "Wheel of Fortune," "Mona Lisa," and "Music Music Music" all hit number one -- and some major artists -- Fisher, Crosby, Clooney, Jo Stafford, and Nat King Cole. But of the 20 tracks, nine either were not hits or the versions included were not the biggest hit versions. A listen to the album certainly will give a sense of what pop music sounded like in the early '50s and in the non-rock arena in the mid-decade -- fun, light, and frothy, for the most part. But there are more varied collections and ones with more hits.

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