Turn Me Loose!: The Very Best of Fabian

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Fabian Forte was manufactured into being a teen idol with a whole slew of hit singles in 1959 and 1960 by manager and Chancellor Records owner Bob Marcucci, who banked that Forte's good looks would carry him further than the fact that the kid couldn't sing a lick. Marcucci's shrewd assessment proved right, and by handing Fabian over to veteran songwriters like Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, electronically altering Fabian's pitch-challenged singing, and turning up the instrumentation to make sure those vocals weren't the main sonic focus, Marcucci guided Fabian to the top of the charts with songs like "Tiger," "Turn Me Loose," "Hound Dog Man," and "I'm a Man." In retrospect, at least from a business standpoint, it was all pretty innovative, and the star-making template that Marcucci helped create is still much in use today. But what of the music Fabian made? Well, it holds up better than one would think, even if any number of drunken barroom singers could probably handle a melody better than Fabian could. A good song is a good song, and at least Fabian doesn't get too much in the way on these tracks. Which means this isn't an awful collection at all; in fact, it's kind of endearing. And everything anyone would ever need by Fabian is here.

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