Jonathan King

Hit Millionaire

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Although it was not the first compilation to try and do justice to the sheer weight of Jonathan King's hit-making career, this TV-advertised, budget-priced collection rounds up no less than 20 numbers, each of which was either a major British/European hit, or was played so often on the radio that it should have been. Any Briton of a certain age will find it impossible to believe that "The Sun Has Got Its' Hat On" did not top the chart for at least three months in 1972, while at least a dozen other numbers remain so fresh in the memory that the passing of the decades seems irrelevant.

A lot of music is described as "timeless." But true timelessness is more than a marketing gimmick. It's the idiot-grin of recognition that flickers across your face whenever you hear someone ask "what's he like, Mavis?"; it is the bratty innuendo of "Loop Di Love"; and it's the irresistible meaninglessness of a rousing chorus of "ooga-chukka, ooga-chukka..." yes, go on, you can sing along if you want. Divided equally between the solo hits that King began notching up with "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" in 1965, and which was still going strong 14 years later; and the pseudonymous works that he unleashed during the early-mid-1970s, Hit Millionaire has, of course, been readily superseded by the collections that have come since then -- The Butterfly That Stamped, Creations & Relations, and, the granddaddy of them all, the eight-CD King of Hits. But Hit Millionaire has a terrific cover, some excellent liners, and one bonus inclusion that no other King collection has anthologized: a gold flexidisc in which King himself explains "how to become a pop superstar." You follow his example, of course.