The 15th and final volume of The History of Pop Radio, the German History label's box set of popular music said to come from 1920 to 1951, hews more closely to the pop singles charts than any of its predecessors. Of the 20 tracks, 18 are records that made the pop charts, 16 of them as high as the Top Ten, and nine of those peaked at number one. Thus, the disc is a good representation of the most popular music of 1950-1951, including such major hits as "The Tennessee Waltz," "Mona Lisa," "Music Music Music" (in two versions), "I'll Never Be Free," "Cry," "Because of You," "Come on-a My House," "Cold Cold Heart," "My Heart Cries for You," "Jealousy," and "The Roving Kind," sung by such major stars as the Ames Brothers, Patti Page, Frankie Laine, Kay Starr, Nat "King" Cole, Guy Mitchell, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Dinah Shore. The title The History of Pop Radio seems to imply that the recordings are airchecks, but they are in fact the original studio recordings, and any connection to radio is nominal. That slight deception is typical of the slipshod organization of the album and its predecessors. A notable problem, which is not unique to this volume, is chronological error. Though the set is said to cover the years 1950-1951, several titles do not come from that period. Dinah Shore's "The Anniversary Song" was a hit in 1947, and Peggy Lee's "Riders in the Sky" in 1949, and worst of all, there is a recording of "Route 66" by the King Cole Trio said to come from 1950 that was really recorded in 1956. The album is available at a discount, however, and maybe you have to figure that for the cheap price you have to sacrifice something in scholarship.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann