100 sides from 1961 that you probably forgot - some you should have; others are new discoveries
Ever hear the 45rpm single "The Same Old Fool" by Neil Sedaka, "Goodbye To love" by The Marcels, or "Jody" by Del Shannon? If , like me, you were collecting records in 1961, you probably have - and forgotten them. In fact if you have Sedaka's "Calendar Girl", The Marcels' "Blue Moon" or Shannon's "Runaway" in you your collection, you have the aforementioned songs there too. These were the "B" sides of what became the hit record title.
This interesting - but well produced - compilation (one of three such 4-CD sets, each covering a four-month period in 1961) from the UK of the Top Hits on the British Charts is a nice curiosity, and more an effort to be complete than fully entertaining. Still I'm glad I got it. There's a lot of material here (nearly 100 sides per volume!) and a well researched booklet with track notes and original release info.
These three sets were issued by the Acrobat Music label to act as companion discs to a similarly named series titled "The A Sides". Those discs - which I haven't heard (yet!) contained the A-sides for these tracks, presented in exactly the same order. The songs are presented in approximately chronological order of their chart toping date but the notes mention that the definition of "chart topping" come from a number of "record charts", and these are not identified, nor their chart position.
As the opening essay in the 32-page booklet (the essay is repeated in all three volumes) states, there were various reasons that the songs on the B-sides were placed there. Often it was "filler" and sometimes it was a song written by the artist so that they could earn publishing rights as well. The comments on each track sometimes let you know that the song is a "dud" but there are also some surprises here. I guess the biggest treat is remembering that the song "Boys", which became a hit for the Beatles, was originally the B-side of the Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", and it's included here.
About 40% of the recordings on these sets are by British artists whose careers never "crossed the pond". This is not always bad. I was introduced to some British music stars that were new to me. Another thing that gives these volumes a bit of a setback is that there is a wide array of music styles. We have Sinatra, Brenda Lee, Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Elvis, Lawrence Welk and even Sophia Loren all mixed togerher.
The transfers came from the original 45s from the collection of Roger Dobson and are generally excellent. I found some additional enjoyment from playing these discs on a portable CD boom box with 4-inch speakers, just the size we would have listened to in 1961. With the period style of music in the background, I found myself being transported back to my high school days (that is, if I lived in the UK during that period.) With this much music, there's bound to be some duds, but that's why CD players have a "skip" button
Now to check out the A-side volumes!