The fame of the British Invasion in pop music of the 1960s may foster the illusion that every long-haired follower of the Beatles from England found equal popularity stateside and at home. But while the rate of success for U.K. performers in the U.S. in the '60s was remarkable, there were many performers who did less well in America and some who had trouble getting across the Atlantic at all. This 20-track collection, the first disc in a three-CD set put out by the Dutch Disky label, named for a 1967 British film and licensed primarily from the vaults of EMI, presents plenty of hits. Only one of them failed to reach the Top Ten of the Record Retailer/Music Week chart between 1962-1968, and that one, the Swinging Blue Jeans' "Good Golly Miss Molly," got to number 11. Thirteen of the 20 hit number one in England. Many were also hits in the U.S. American listeners will recognize such tracks as the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," Gerry & the Pacemakers' "I Like It," Herman's Hermits' "I'm Into Something Good," the Moody Blues' "Go Now," Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," and Peter & Gordon's "A World Without Love," among others. But the Move's chart-topping "Blackberry Way" will not get a smile of recognition, nor the Hollies' equally successful "I'm Alive." The collection makes no pretense of comprehensiveness; it's just a randomly sequenced bunch of British beat group hits of the '60s, lacking big names like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (though songs written by members of those bands are included). But that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun to listen to, especially for those who were in swinging London at the time.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann