Various Artists

The Fabulous Fifties: 60 Original Fifties Classics [Box Set]

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The thing most of these 60 pop tracks from 1950 to 1958 have in common is that they now reside in the vaults of EMI, having been released originally in the U.S. on Capitol. Disky, the Dutch reissue label, frequently licenses EMI material, and with only a handful of exceptions that's what it's done here. Of course, that's invisible to the consumer, who simply finds that this first of three discs in a budget-priced box set appears to be a miscellaneous collection. There are some big hits -- "Wheel of Fortune," "Mona Lisa," "Music Music Music," "Sixteen Tons," "You Belong to Me," "Mister Sandman," "Rock and Roll Waltz," "Tom Dooley," "Young Love," and "Unchained Melody" all hit number one -- and some major artists -- Eddie Fisher, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, the Kingston Trio, and Doris Day. But of the 60 tracks, 36 either were not hits or the versions included were not the biggest hit versions. A listen to the album certainly will give a sense of what pop music sounded like in the early '50s and in the non-rock arena later in the decade -- fun, light, and frothy, for the most part. But there are more varied collections and ones with more hits.

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