Various Artists

Greatest Hits of the 60's [Disky Box 2]

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The title Greatest Hits of the 60s is a hard one to live up to, and despite boasting 144 tracks by 85 acts and a running time approaching seven hours (that could have fit comfortably on six discs instead of eight), this box set from the Dutch Disky label really doesn't. True, the tracks range from 1960 to 1969, and they have been licensed from 17 different sources. But the bulk of them date from 1964-1967 and are drawn from the vaults of EMI records and its American subsidiary, Capitol. They are also predominantly British, with more than twice as many coming from the U.K. as from the U.S. All but six were English chart entries, while 53 never made the American Billboard chart. The set's bias is suggested by the artists with the most selections: six by the Hollies; five each by Gerry & the Pacemakers and Herman's Hermits; and four each by the Animals, Freddie & the Dreamers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, and Manfred Mann. All are British beat groups. (The Beatles, the top British beat group, may have been unavailable for inclusion, but there are six songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.) At least one track, the Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind," is a re-recording, but that is the exception. There are no annotations, and the sequencing is more or less random. So, Anglophiles and British subjects of a certain age are likely to find many moments of emotional connection to the pop music of their youth, both number one hits by major artists and lower chart entries by one-hit wonders. This certainly isn't the "greatest hits of the 60s" by any objective criteria, but there is plenty of enjoyable beat music, plus quite a few entertaining novelties, lodged within these eight discs.

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