on March 21, 2000
The 60s were a transitional, catacylsmic time in society, in music, and for RCA Records. The label, represented here by a selection of its top 1960s hits, sandwiched the innocent rock of the early 60s and the socially-concious rock of its end with a series of adult-contemporary and one-hit wonders.
It was a producer-driven decade, and the label's two most notable producers, Chet Atkins (he produced Floyd Cramer's #2 hit , Skeeter Davis, and Eddy Arnold) and and the team of Hugo and Luigi (producing Elvis, Sam Cooke, and the Tokens #1), take up most of the disc's first half. Ann-Margaret's lone Top 40 hit is also worth mentioning because the Beatles covered it on their "BBC Sessions" album.
The cut-off point is Al Hirt's 1964 Top 5 "Java," written by Allen Toussaint and which peaked the same week the Beatles hit America. The British Invasion pushed the label into a slump with only Elvis and Eddy Arnold reaching the Top 10 in 1965. But Arnold's mellow "Make The World Go Away" crashes headfirst into "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane, unleashing the label's late-60s run of hits by Canada's Guess Who, Jose Feliciano (1969's flamenco "Light My Fire") and Henry Mancini's #1 movie theme.
This set holds little of the camp value of similar "Nipper" decade sets, but entertains and educates about the decade without relying on its usual touchstones (Dylan, Beatles, Stones). Recommended, with the essential tracks best heard on performers' full albums.