Various Artists

Moments to Remember: The Golden Hits of the 50's and 60's

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Shout Factory's three-disc set of vocal pop hits from the '50s (and early '60s) is a valuable collection, both because it includes a wealth of chart-toppers and because it unearths quite a few of the nuggets that rarely make it to anthologies of this sort. As a summation of '50s pop, it's an excellent overview, providing an extended look at the great good feeling ("Dear Hearts and Gentle People" by Dinah Shore, "How High the Moon" by Les Paul & Mary Ford, "Lollipop" by the Chordettes); hopeful sentimentality ("Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis, "April Love" by Pat Boone, "You Belong to Me" by the Duprees); and occasional bursts of ennui ("Where the Boys Are" by Connie Francis, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by the Platters, "Crazy" by Patsy Cline) that characterized vocal pop music during that decade. Better still is how the compilers spice the mix with the odd middle-charting hit -- Jim Lowe's "The Green Door," Archie Bleyer's "Hernando's Hideaway," "See You in September" by the Tempos, "Eh, Cumpari" by Julius LaRosa -- that sums up the era as well as the smashes. A few of the era's biggest hits are missing, however. It's hard to believe the compilers forgot "Cry" by Johnnie Ray, "Wheel of Fortune" by Kay Starr, "The Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page, and "Because of You" by Tony Bennett, each of which ruled the roost for months and were available for licensing (in fact, other hits appear from Starr and Page). Also, was it necessary to include two different versions of "Harbor Lights," one by the Platters and one by Sammy Kaye? (It has to be granted, however, that at least nine versions of that song reached the Hit Parade during the '50s.)

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