Peter & Gordon

The Ultimate Peter & Gordon

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The selection and sequencing strategy adopted by compiler Ron Furmanek for The Ultimate Peter & Gordon is easy to see. Allowed to pick 20 tracks, he has chosen all 14 songs by the '60s British duo that reached Billboard magazine's Hot 100 chart, from major hits like "A World Without Love," "Lady Godiva," and "I Go to Pieces" to minor ones like "To Show I Love You" and "The Jokers." The remaining six selections are either non-charting A-side singles ("You've Had Better Times"), B-sides ("Love Me, Baby," "The Town I Live In"), or album tracks ("I Still Love You," "Broken Promises," "My First Day Alone"). The selections have been sequenced in chronological order by recording date, not release date, so that, for example, "Don't Pity Me," which was released as a single in November 1965, precedes "To Know You Is to Love You," which was released as a single in July 1965 because "Don't Pity Me" was actually recorded 19 days before "To Know You Is to Love You." The sequencing gives a good sense of the duo's development, from the harmony-filled soft rock sound of their first three Paul McCartney-penned songs (with McCartney himself here introducing the third one, "I Don't Want to See You Again") to more elaborate productions such as the one for "True Love Ways" on which Gordon Waller steps out as lead singer with Peter Asher playing a subsidiary role as harmony singer, and on to the novelty songs "Lady Godiva" (a rare Asher lead) and "Knight in Rusty Armour" that gave them their last big hits. The focus on the Billboard chart means singles that placed on other charts, notably "Baby, I'm Yours," a Top 20 hit in the U.K., and "Never Ever," which charted (though just barely) in Cash Box, are missing. But the set still gives a good sense of Peter and Gordon's best and most popular recordings. [This is the first Peter and Gordon CD to go back to the original master tapes. The sound, with that extreme stereo separation typical of the 1960s, is superb, and "Woman" and "The Town I Live In" are presented in stereo for the first time.]

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