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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why some songs are in mono and others are in stereo - please read
Every time a new Beach Boys compilation comes out, the same complaints are made - why hasn't everything been mixed in stereo finally? The unfortunate answer is that some songs are IMPOSSIBLE to be mixed in true stereo due to missing or destroyed masters.

Fifty Big Ones is essential because, for the first time ever, a Beach Boys best of contains every single...
Published on October 25, 2012 by Ryan Rowland

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89 of 96 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment
I am a huge Beach Boys fan, and have been since I was a toddler - as long as I can remember (which was only a few years after their formation). Their music was one of the things that brought together my parents, brother, and me - the whole family were, and still are big fans. Brian is a genius, the group should be proud of most of their recorded heritage, and they made...
Published on October 11, 2012 by ELO1216


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89 of 96 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment, October 11, 2012
By 
ELO1216 (Huntington Station, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
I am a huge Beach Boys fan, and have been since I was a toddler - as long as I can remember (which was only a few years after their formation). Their music was one of the things that brought together my parents, brother, and me - the whole family were, and still are big fans. Brian is a genius, the group should be proud of most of their recorded heritage, and they made some of the best singles ever made. I own every Beach Boys album, and love Surf's Up, Holland, Sunflower as much as Pet Sounds.

This new compilation is a disappointment. I'll start off with the good: I like seeing all the singles (minus Be True To Your School and Little St. Nick - this is a negative and I don't know why these tracks were left off) alongside some of the tracks that would not be as well known to casual listeners such as Cotton Fields and California Saga. I like having Getcha Back and That's Why God Made the Radio on it too.

The NEGATIVE, and it is major: The remastered sound on these two discs is awful. Really awful. I played it on a great car stereo, a bose player, and a very decent component system, and they sounded just as bad on each. The songs sound compressed, hollow, too clean, too high end. The vocals sound great, but there's middle or low end. The instrumentation is washed out. I compared the version of Surfin' U.S.A. on this compilation to both the two previous Capitol versions found on the Surfin' U.S.A. cds, along with the great Razor & Tie 2CD compilation from a few years back - on this new version I couldn't even hear the drums, and the recording sounded too clean - too sanitized. On the other versions there was a warmth and depth to the sound that was just plain missing from this 50 Big Ones. This could be said for many of the songs remastered on 50 Big Ones. One of the worst ones was Getcha Back - it sounded like a bootleg mp3 with no dynamic range in it at all.

What it sounds like to me is that they remastered and mixed this 50 Big Ones for iTunes and mp3 downloads, which is happening more and more these days. I'll file this away in the collection, and if I want a good hits compilation to listen to I will dig out my Razor & Tie compilation, or go listen to the albums - all of which sound light years better than this disappointing 50 Big Ones compilation.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why some songs are in mono and others are in stereo - please read, October 25, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
Every time a new Beach Boys compilation comes out, the same complaints are made - why hasn't everything been mixed in stereo finally? The unfortunate answer is that some songs are IMPOSSIBLE to be mixed in true stereo due to missing or destroyed masters.

Fifty Big Ones is essential because, for the first time ever, a Beach Boys best of contains every single track that CAN be in stereo in stereo format. Many prior compilations would feature a few new stereo mixes and omit others. With twelve of the Beach Boys albums finally seeing release in both original mono and either 1960s stereo or new stereo mixes, this compilation will give you as much stereo as there is possible. The new remasters contain "stereo extraction mixes", which is not true stereo, for those songs with missing masters. The results are okay (certainly far from revelation a true stereo mix can bring), but might not be appropriate for a best of like this.

Anyway, here are some quick details on the songs that still exist in mono and why:
"Good Vibrations": According to Bruce Johnston, the vocal tracks for this were likely accidentally destroyed in 1967 during a "vault cleaning" by Capitol.
"Do It Again": The master tape was lost when being remixed in 1968 for the Stack-O-Tracks album. Hopefully this one will turn up some day.
"Surfin' Safari": Another lost master or possibly mixed down to one track upon being recorded, making a true stereo mix impossible.
"The Little Girl I Once Knew": Erased by Brian in 1967, as he was reusing the tape. He was still mixing exclusively in mono then, and having finished the song in 1965, saw no need to keep the tape.
"Fun, Fun, Fun", "Help Me, Rhonda", "I Get Around": These songs featured overdubs done AS the song was being mixed down due to the limitations of the equipment at the time. This means that as the song was being pressed onto the master tapes (of which all other copies were made), additional vocals, guitars etc. were being performed then and there over top of the pre-recorded tracks. Those performances are forever lost, and certainly if incomplete stereo mixes came out missing significant elements of the original, people would be complaining about that instead.

In addition to containing all songs that can be in stereo in stereo, the album features two new exclusive stereo mixes - "Wild Honey" and "Darlin'", as well as being the first available release of the single mix of "Isn't It Time", a highlight from their most recent album. The compilation is also worth checking into for being very comprehensive - it goes beyond your standard hits package to include some of their more impressive album cuts and fan favorites over the years, which you don't see often on Beach Boys best ofs or best ofs in general. The postcards are real nice, too.

Above all, in regards to complaints over mono, I'd like to make the point that Brian preferred mono. You might not, but I think respect should be given to the mono sound format and to Brian's original mono mixes. It's not "inferior" or "crappy", it's simply different, similar to black and white movies lacking color but having a kind of special "magic" all their own. You can artificially add color, but the end result often looks a little odd and you definitely lose something in the process. The mixing job for the mono tracks is well done, and I say try to get past the need for stereo and just enjoy the great music.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beach Boys collection I have been waiting for!, October 9, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
My goodness, where has the time gone? I can remember buying Beach Boys singles in the mid 1960's for .68 each at a downtown record store or "on sale" for .48 at one of those new-fangled discount department stores. What was especially cool about grabbing the latest Beach Boys 45 rpm record was that more often than not Capitol Records shipped them in colorful picture sleeves. Although these sleeves would become treasured collector's items for many what most of the kids were really interested in was the music. The sound of The Beach Boys has proven to be timeless and as evidenced by their highly successful 2012 album "That's Why God Made The Radio" they are still getting the job done. As a tribute to 50 years in the music business Capitol Records has released an exciting two-disc anthology "The Beach Boys Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones" featuring the biggest hits and most acclaimed songs from their remarkable five decade career. For those in the Baby Boom generation this one truly qualifies as "the soundtrack of your life".

"The Beach Boys Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones" features all of those dynamic hit singles from the 1960's presented exactly as you would remember them when they were blasting from your car radio or perhaps from that little transistor radio you smuggled into bed late at night when you were a young teen. Enjoy once again great Top Ten hits like "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Help Me, Rhonda", "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and one of their most popular tunes of all-time "Surfer Girl" from the summer of '63. Gee, I feel like a kid again! The hit singles just kept on coming with songs like "Barbara Ann", "I Get Around", "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)", and the all-time favorite "California Girls" which are all included here as well. Heck there are also a number of extremely popular "flip sides" in this collection including timeless tunes like "In My Room", "Don't Worry Baby" and most especially "God Only Knows" which as I recall was released as a "B" side partly out of fear that radio stations would refuse to play a song with "God" in the title. Despite all his success Brian Wilson was never one to rest on his laurels. He was constantly experimenting with new and different sounds and in the fall of 1966 he unveiled his masterpiece "Good Vibrations" which is generally considered to be one of the greatest singles ever recorded in the rock and roll era. It was becoming clear that in the not too distant future The Beach Boys would be heading off in new musical directions and into uncharted waters.

In late 1969 The Beach Boys would leave the cozy confines of Capitol and signed with Reprise Records. The group was definitely ahead of the curve. The Top 40 format was just beginning to wane and Album Oriented Radio (AOR) would break out in the not-too-distant future. Tastes were changing and at this point in their career The Beach Boys were more interested in recording albums and doing concerts. Over the next several years they would release a series of critically acclaimed LP's including "Sunflower", "Surf's Up" and "Holland" to name but a few. "50 Big Ones" offers up 8 terrific tracks from these memorable albums including the hit singles "Rock and Roll Music", "Sail On, Sailor" and "It's OK" as well as my all-time favorite Beach Boys tune "Add Some Music To Your Day" from the aforementioned "Sunflower". If you have never heard this one check it out!

In the decades that followed The Beach Boys would continue to record sporadically. In 1988 they had one of their biggest singles ever with "Kokomo" from the motion picture "Cocktail" which went all the way to #1. Earlier this year the group got together once again to record a new studio album and embark on a 50th Anniversary tour. The title song of that album "That's Why God Made The Radio" is included in this collection as is a new single version of "Isn't It Time". I can tell you that a lot of thought and a great deal of care went into this project. As a collector I really appreciated the extensive liner notes and the 7 postcards that have been included are really a blast. Meanwhile, I found the sound quality to be outstanding. I suspect that "The Beach Boys Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones" will turn up under a lot of Christmas trees this December 25th. Trust me, it would make a great gift for that Baby Boomer in your life. Long live The Beach Boys! Very highly recommended!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag of mixes, October 9, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
Seven tracks in mono (*DO IT AGAIN *SURFIN SAFARI *I GET AROUND *THE LITTLE GIRL I ONCE KNEW *HELP ME, RHONDA *FUN, FUN, FUN * GOOD VIBRATIONS). Rest in stereo from various years, some new and some old mixes. Japanese version with one additional track (mono):*BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL.
New mixes sound outstanding, older sounds fine. Mono mixes fine.
Could have been enterely remixed and would have been the best compilation ever.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible sound!!! Better Beach Boys compilations with more songs exist!!!, December 8, 2012
Every one of these songs are great but, I agree with the other reviewers here. Purchase these new garbage discs of you like but, buyer beware...you'll probably end up very unhappy with your purchase. I listened to this on a high-end sound system and would even go as far as to consider myself an audiophile. Take it from me, it sounds like someone turned up the volume and the bass full blast and many of the songs have audio clipping. Skip this overly compressed mess and grab the two recent greatest hits compilations called "Sounds Of Summer" and "Warmth Of The Sun" instead. They came out only a few years ago, they sound amazing and you get every song here plus a few extras. They're around $10.00 each.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best harmonies. Period., October 9, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
I've been a Beach boy fan since the first time I heard Surfin Surfari on WABC (Music Radio 77) way back in '62. And I have the complete collection of Vinyl and CDs to prove it. Starting with "Greatest Hits" circa 1966, this band has probably issued more compilation/greatest hits/repackaged/re-released material than any other. But this time, they truly did cover the entire arc of their career, including the long forgotten, but superb stuff from the early 70s. Okay,if it was up to me, I would substitute "Long Promised Road", "Marcella", and "The Trader" for "Isn't it Time", "This Whole World" and "You're so Good to Me" - but if you're only going to have only one Beach Boy release/compilation in your library, make it this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 50 Big Ones Not So Big, October 20, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
I must confess that as a Beach Boys freak, I look forward to any new releases even if they are compilations. Especially since the last 5 have included alternate versions and brand new stereo mixes. So I really looked forward to this release of 50 Big Ones with much anticipation. The single mix of "Isn't It Time" plus stereo mixes of "Wild Honey" and one of my all time favorites "Darlin'". So imagine my disappointment when I find that at least of the mixes isn't so authentic. I'll be sticking with the mono version of "Do You Wanna Dance" because someone tried to fix a mistake that's been there for almost 50 years. At around the 0:48 mark Dennis Wilson almost sings "squeeze me baby" but quickly realizes his mistake and sings the correct "kiss me baby". Problem is he already sang the "s" for squeeze so it comes out sounding like "skiss me baby". I've never heard anyone complain about it and it's been there for NEARLY FIFTY YEARS!!! Why "fix" it now??? Ruins the whole song for me. I also read a review where the author spoke of thin sound quality but I could no believe that it could be true. Well, I was wrong again. Mark Linett has done such a wonderful job in the past on all of the Beach Boys discs that he's been involved with so I really can't understand what happened here. Must be the "powers" at Capitol. I suspect "limiting" or 'brickwalling" in order to boost the overall volume.
The highs are almost unbearable at higher volumes. I haven't bought any of the individual mono/stereo individual cd's yet but was planning to. If they have the same questionable sound quality I'll probably pass on them. Guess I'll have to buy one and test it. I gave this cd 3 stars (it's ok) because I believe the average Beach Boy fan will not mind or sometimes even notice the differences in "Do You Wanna Dance" and the overall sound quality. This could have and should have been the definitive Beach Boys compilation despite some obvious omissions. I'm sure there'll be more in the future, maybe someone will finally get it right.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compressed sound .Overall disappointing, December 5, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
I have a vast number of the Beach Boys compilation cd's .The tracks on this compile generally sound quite compressed,particularly the vocals when i compare to the cd "Sounds of Summer" or the Platinum Collection ,"Sounds of summer 3cd variation".

What is strange is that Mark Linett did the mastering for all of them. I'm guessing he's over tweaked the sound too much trying to make it better & in the process lost his "critical ear" .
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars download the favorite stereo versions, October 9, 2012
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
Downloaded about 20 stereo versions ,from the other Beach boy cds released today mostly to hear I Get Around and Good Vibrations . I was assuming they are the same versions on the 50 big ones cd. They sound pretty good then downloaded a few more . I like a lot of the remixed stereo versions from recent greatest hits compilations. (All Summer Long, Dance, Dance, Dance and Don't Worry Baby--three good remixes). California Girls 2012 sounds brighter than the 2002 stereo version. the title 50 big ones is a little misleading . How about 25 big ones and some other music . Still any group that has 25 good songs is a great group. I was looking for the song Darlin on the wild honey 2012 cd . Did that one get released today ? Glad i didn't waste my money buying 50 big ones . I was only interested in the stereo versions of their best music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Music, Great Packaging, and some surprises..., October 21, 2012
By 
Bill Anthony "billjbfan" (North Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones (Audio CD)
a few notes for collectors:

This set includes a few exclusive tracks:
- the single edit of "Barbara Ann" in new unreleased STEREO - (the unedited album version is also in new stereo on the new "Party" remaster)
- "Wild Honey" and "Darlin" in new unreleased STEREO - (I'm assuming that a mono/stereo version of the "Wild Honey" album will be released in the future)
- the newly remixed and partially re-recorded single version of "Isn't It Time"

This is remastered by Mark Linett, and sounds great, contrary to a few other reviewers.

However, there are 4 songs in mono that are in stereo on other CD's, including the new mono/stereo remasters:
I Get Around, Help Me Rhonda, Fun Fun Fun, and Good Vibrations - 4 of their biggest hits.
(note: only Surfin' Safari, Do It Again, and The Little Girl I Once Knew on this collection
have not yet been officially released in stereo)
[[UPDATE August 2013 - "Do It Again" has now been released in a new stereo mix on the Made In California box set]]

There are some glaring omissions (Be True To Your School, Break Away, Come Go With Me, Little Saint Nick..)

[Don't miss the new MONO & STEREO remasters of 10 Beach Boys albums from the 60's - they're terrific]
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Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones
Greatest Hits: 50 Big Ones by The Beach Boys (Audio CD - 2012)
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