The Beach Boys

Greatest Hits 1961-1965, Vol. 1

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This Japanese import roughly corresponds to the first volume of the American best-of series on the Beach Boys, utilizing state-of-the-art masters and encompassing basically every single A- and B-side of the group's first three years. The sound is extraordinary and is another instance of the Beach Boys -- because the surviving group members are so much more accessible and amenable to innovation than, say, the surviving Beatles -- outstripping the Beatles on CD. The music speaks for itself, encompassing everything from "Surfin' USA" to "Barbara Ann," the guitars as well as the voices all sounding like they're in the same room with you. On the negative side, it's a pricey disc at a 31-dollar list price, and the notes are all in Japanese (with lyrics also in English), but it's also an hour of great (and great-sounding) surf, sand, and automotive fun.

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