Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century

Various Artists

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Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

To commemorate the end of the century, Sony Music assembled the gargantuan 26-disc box set Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century. The title was imposing, as was the idea behind it -- to chronicle the life of the oldest record label in the music industry. To be clear, Sony Music has not existed for 100 years, but the heart of its catalog, Columbia Records, was founded early in the 20th century. Sony acquired Columbia and its various subsidiaries in the late '80s, purchasing one of the richest catalogs in pop history, as the box set proves again and again. Sony realized that most consumers wouldn't invest in a 26-disc box, no matter how impressive it was, so they simultaneously released a series of 12 genre-specific double-disc sets that culled highlights from the box. That left two discs exclusive to the box, which was appropriate, since anyone who spends over 300 dollars on an album deserves a little bonus. As it turns out, those two discs aren't the only bonus on this 547-track collection. Sony Music 100 Years also boasts a 308-page, hardcover, full-color book that essentially tells the history of pop music and the recording industry in the 20th century through one group of labels. That's what the music does too -- and it does so remarkably well. There may not be any Beatles or Stones here, and some genres may be given short shrift -- electric blues and prog rock, for example, never had much of a showcase at Columbia and its subsidiaries -- but the amazing thing is that they're not missed, because the set tells the basic history, providing narratives in each genre. It's certainly a herculean task getting through the entire set, but it's hard not to be impressed, even overwhelmed, at the end result. If any one album tells the history of pop music -- albeit in the course of 26 discs -- it's this one. That doesn't mean it's essential for every music library, since most serious collectors will have much of this material, but that doesn't diminish the set and its accomplishment. Sony Music 100 Years really does present the history of pop music in a reasonably concise fashion -- and it proves that no other label, not even Warner Brothers, could manage such a feat.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 United States Marine Band 02:01
2
Gene Greene 02:41
3 Nora Bayes 02:29
4 Bert Williams 03:00
5 Al Jolson 02:37
6 Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards 02:57
7 Lee Morse 02:53
8 Eddie Cantor 02:52
9 Ted Lewis 02:57
10 Don Voorhees & His Orchestra 03:24
11 Dorsey Brothers Orchestra 03:03
12 Aunt Jemima 03:04
13 Joe Venuti's Blue Four 03:18
14 Paul Whiteman Orchestra 03:15
15 Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra 03:24
16 Annette Hanshaw 02:54
17 Ben Selvin Orchestra 03:20
18 Ruth Etting 03:17
19 California Ramblers 03:42
20 Ethel Waters 03:03
21 Kate Smith & Her Swanee Music 03:03
22 Jack Teagarden 03:14
23 The Boswell Sisters 02:22
24 Cab Calloway & His Orchestra 03:11
25 Bing Crosby 03:11

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Mills Brothers / Duke Ellington & His Orchestra 03:09
2 Lee Wiley 02:49
3 Gene Austin 02:58
4 Pinky Tomlin 03:10
5 Louis Prima & His Band 03:04
6 Frank Froeba & His Orchestra 03:11
7 Bunny Berigan 03:24
8 Teddy Wilson 03:20
9 Raymond Scott Quintette 03:00
10 Artie Shaw & His New Music 02:51
11 Slim & Slam 02:50
12 Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra 02:57
13 Walter Huston 02:55
14 Benny Goodman & His Orchestra 02:35
15 Will Bradley Trio 03:09
16 Teddy Wilson 03:23
17 Benny Goodman & His Orchestra 03:14
18 Kay Kyser & His Orchestra 02:34
19 Golden Gate Quintet 02:53
20 Harry James & His Orchestra 03:16
21 Woody Herman & His Orchestra 03:22
22 Ray Noble & His Orchestra 03:17
23
02:03
24 Gene Autry 03:11
25 Frank Sinatra 03:05

Track Listing - Disc 7

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Green Brothers Novelty Band 03:25
2 Bessie Smith 03:11
3 King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 02:15
4 Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra 03:16
5 Clarence Williams' Blue Five 03:00
6 Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra 03:03
7 Louis Armstrong 03:17
8 Art Tatum 02:21
9 Billie Holiday 02:55
10 Count Basie & the Kansas City Seven 03:15
11 Goodman Group 03:18
12 Dizzy Gillespie 03:05
13 Duke Ellington & His Orchestra 03:11
14 Count Basie Orchestra 03:13
15 Gene Krupa & His Orchestra 03:01
16 Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra 03:06
17 Woody Herman & His Orchestra 03:16
18 Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers 11:53
19 Miles Davis Sextet 09:05
20
Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop 04:46

Track Listing - Disc 9

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Fisk University Jubilee Singers 02:22
2 Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds 03:27
3 Bessie Smith 03:26
4 Mississippi John Hurt 03:23
5 Blind Willie Johnson 03:03
6 George Washington Phillips 03:24
7 Mississippi Sheiks 03:14
8 Scrapper Blackwell / Leroy Carr 03:31
9 Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey 02:50
10 Blind Willie McTell 03:08
11 Lead Belly 03:03
12 Robert Johnson 02:40
13 Big Bill Broonzy 03:01
14
Joshua White 02:55
15 Burl Ives 02:38
16 Memphis Minnie 02:45
17 Golden Gate Quartet 03:31
18
Paul Robeson 02:44
19 Big Joe Williams 02:46
20 Muddy Waters 02:51
21
Ike Tucker & The Dixie Hummingbirds 03:00
22 The Trumpeteers 02:36
23 Mahalia Jackson 05:28
24 The Brothers Four 03:03

Track Listing - Disc 11

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Fiddlin' John Carson 02:47
2 Samantha Bumgarner 03:09
3 Charlie Poole / North Carolina Ramblers 02:52
4 Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers 02:57
5
Joseph Falcon 02:56
6 Emmett Miller 02:50
7 Goebel Reeves 03:11
8 The Carter Family 03:11
9 Patsy Montana & the Prairie Ramblers 03:08
10 Roy Acuff 02:55
11 Chuck Wagon Gang 02:41
12 The Sons of the Pioneers 02:47
13 Roy Hall & his Blue Ridge Entertainers 02:23
14 Gene Autry 02:36
15 Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys 02:38
16 Ted Daffan's Texans 02:43
17 Al Dexter and His Troopers 02:49
18 Bill Mobley 03:04
19 Floyd Tillman 02:46
20 The Stanley Brothers 02:34
21 Little Jimmy Dickens 02:56
22 Lefty Frizzell 03:07
23 Carl Smith 02:33
24 Ray Price 02:30
25 The Collins Kids 01:53
26 Johnny Horton 02:29
27 Marty Robbins 04:39

Track Listing - Disc 12

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Jimmy Dean 03:01
2 Johnny Cash 02:36
3 The Statler Brothers 02:20
4 Flatt & Scruggs 02:20
5 David Houston 02:58
6 The Byrds 03:32
7 Tammy Wynette 02:41
8 Lynn Anderson 02:57
9 Kris Kristofferson 03:48
10 Charlie Rich 02:56
11 Tanya Tucker 02:24
12 Willie Nelson 02:19
13 George Jones / Tammy Wynette 03:03
14 Johnny Paycheck 02:37
15 The Charlie Daniels Band 03:35
16 George Jones 03:17
17 Rosanne Cash 03:17
18 Ricky Skaggs 03:01
19 Merle Haggard / Willie Nelson 04:47
20 Rodney Crowell 03:19
21 Mary Chapin Carpenter 04:05
22 Patty Loveless 04:25
23 Joe Diffie 02:49
24 The Chicks 04:43

Track Listing - Disc 13

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Charlie Young 00:51
2 Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards 02:24
3 Al Jolson 03:24
4 Mae West 02:50
5 Bing Crosby 03:09
6 Jimmy Durante 03:03
7 The Boswell Sisters 02:44
8 Dick Powell 03:15
9 Fred Astaire 03:11
10 Frank Sinatra 03:14
11 Doris Day 03:40
12 Judy Garland 04:23
13 Warner Bros. Orchestra 03:14
14
Mitch Miller & His Orchestra 02:28
15 Vic Damone 02:49
16 Johnny Mathis 02:47
17 Marilyn Monroe 05:11
18
04:40
19 Stanley Holloway 03:55
20 Lulu 02:47
21 Simon & Garfunkel 04:03
22 The Byrds 02:04
23
Be
Neil Diamond 03:21
24 Barbra Streisand 03:51

Track Listing - Disc 15

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Helen Morgan 04:04
2 Carol Bruce / Helen Dowdy / Kenneth Spencer 04:06
3 Ella Logan 03:15
4 Alfred Drake / Patricia Morison 03:38
5 Ezio Pinza 03:04
6 Mary Martin 03:35
7 Carol Channing 02:59
8 Vivienne Segal 03:11
9 Richard Kiley / Dorothy Morrow 04:09
10 John Raitt 03:35
11
Carol Haney 03:50
12 Julie Andrews / Robert Coote / Rex Harrison 02:43
13 Julie Andrews / Philip Bevan 03:33
14 Rex Harrison 05:19
15 Arthur Gilbert / John Henson / Roy Lazarus / Shorty Long 02:49
16 Judy Holliday 02:44
17 Larry Kert / Carol Lawrence 03:56
18 Chita Rivera 04:35
19
02:01
20 Rosalind Russell 03:27
21 Pat Suzuki 03:36
22 Ethel Merman 03:06

Track Listing - Disc 17

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Frank Sinatra 03:30
2 Tony Bennett 02:57
3 Frankie Laine 03:11
4 Rosemary Clooney 01:58
5
Cry
Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads 03:04
6 Jo Stafford 03:06
7 Mitch Miller 03:03
8 Louis Armstrong 03:23
9 The Four Lads 02:53
10 Doris Day 02:06
11 Guy Mitchell 02:27
12 Johnny Mathis 03:03
13 The Jamies 02:00
14 Percy Faith & His Orchestra 02:26
15 Andy Williams 02:47
16 Tony Orlando 02:09
17 Tony Bennett 02:51
18 Bobby Vinton 02:49
19 Barbra Streisand 03:42
20 Dion 02:37
21 Major Lance 02:48
22 The Rip Chords 02:01
23 Chad & Jeremy 02:43
24 The Yardbirds 02:30
25 Billy Joe Royal 02:35
26 Paul Revere & the Raiders 02:29
27 Bob Dylan 06:08