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20th Century Masters: The Best of the Mills Brothers (Millennium Collection)

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of The Mills Brothers by The Mills Brothers

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It might not strike one listening to the music on this collection--smoothly crafted, perfectly harmonized pop often set to gently loping swing rhythms--that the Mills Brothers were actually outstanding pioneers of black music. Their close harmony work, based on the barbershop quartets of a previous era, were an innovation in '30s popular music, arguably laying the groundwork for '50s doo-wop and by extension even the music of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync (but don't hold that against them!). This collection serves as a good introduction to the Mills Brothers' legacy, serving up a dozen of their infectious hits, a few of which ("Lazy River," "You Always Hurt the One You Love") still stand among the definitive renditions of the classic American songbook. And what other band has had a seven-decade career (their sons, nephews, and grandsons now filling the ranks), scoring Top 40 hits ("Paper Doll" and "Cab Driver") 46 years apart? --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 7, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: March 7, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • Run Time: 34 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004RCV5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,501 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I would've given this collection five stars if it weren't for the last four songs. I'm something of a purist when it comes to the Mills Brothers and much prefer the "four boys and a guitar" style of their early work. On songs like "Paper Doll", and "Across the Alley from the Alamo" the brothers sound fantastic. Unfortunately, classics like "Glow Worm" are lost amidst the sound of the big band behind them. The version of "Cab Driver" on this album is apparently from their "country" period. I preferred earlier versions much more. The album is worth buying for the first seven songs alone, but look elsewhere if you want to hear the rest as they should be done.
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Format: Audio CD
Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar", John Mills Sr. and is four sons John Jr., Herbert, Harry and Donald grew into one of the oldest and long-lasting acts in American popular music. His sons learned close harmony and the knack to immulate musical instruments with their voices and began broadcasting over Cincinnati radio stations in the late '20s.
In 1943 came one of their biggest hits - "PAPER DOLL" a sweet and intimate ballad stayed twelve weeks on top of the charts, sold six million records plus sheet music. The group made appearances in several films during the early '40s, and hit number one again in 1944 with "YOUR ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE". Another chart topper - "THE GLOW WORM" (1952) - plus additional hits with - "BE MY LIFE'S COMPANION" (1951) and "CAB DRIVER" (1967) which reached the charts, competing with rock n' roll groups such as The Beatles and of course "The King"-Elvis.
"The 20th Century Masters" presents another "The Millenium Collection" in an ongoing series featuring top artists and groups of our time in musical history. No other label has been more supportive of the talent and legacy that has made American Music the most popular in the world today.
Total Time: 34:26 on 12 Tracks/MCA Records - 088 112 228 2 (2000)
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Format: Audio CD
20th Century Masters: The Best of the Mills Brothers gives us twelve hits by the fantastic group. Of course, twelve hits couldn't possibly be enough to call this album a "best of" type of compilation; I dislike that. However, what we do get is high quality and the sound is excellent. The artwork is about par for this CD series.

"Paper Doll" starts off the track list; The Mills Brothers perform this with style and a whole lot of grace. The harmonizing is fantastic and the singing is flawless. Together the group sounds very strong and the guitar arrangement works so well for "Paper Doll." They handle tempo changes like the champs that they were, too! There's a small amount of surface noise but it doesn't interfere with the quality of the music. "Lazy River" has a similar formula--singing mixed with harmonizing; and this formula charms me for this ballad. The musical accompaniment rounds out the number perfectly and The Mills Brothers perform this with sensitivity; I love it!

"You Always Hurt The One You Love" was an incredible hit for The Mills Brothers; the title of the song even became a figure of speech in regular everyday language! Again they handle tempo and key changes effortlessly and I always liked "You Always Hurt The One You Love." "Till Then" is a huge hit for this group; they deliver this in a way that no one else ever could; and they never miss a beat!

"I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" features The Mills Brothers front and center and this highlights their fine vocal talents very nicely. The piano arrangement is elegant and this enhances "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm." "Nevertheless (I'm In Love With You)" sounds like silk when this group sings it; they make this shine like a masterpiece in their capable hands! Bravo!
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This is a group that is unfamiliar to the current music generation. An easy listening collection of songs that were sung before many of us were born. Not ear-splitting hip-hop. Listen to a few of their tracks on youtube and decide for your self. I would also recommend Pearl Bailey and Louis Armstrong.
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This is a great CD to cheer yourself up with. The Mills Brothers are always good, and these songs are some of their best. Buy it and save it for those days when things feel bad...you will be whistling by the end.
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I'm going to make this review short and sweet ... this is a wonderful visit to the past that I grew up listening to. It conjures up all kinds of memories ... at 90, my mom could still sing all the lyrics and I can still hear her today. Dad didn't have much of a voice but I can hear him too. It's a wonderful trip down memory lane. This is the second copy I have purchased as the first got ruined ... would buy it again.
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Recently playing a game called Fallout 4 a Mills Brothers song came on. It reminded me of my childhood, my mother would listen to them and the Inkpots incessantly. I hated it at the time, but I find I enjoy it now, as I find I actually enjoy real music now. That's what this is, real music, no mixing, or computers to make them sound better... just perfect harmony. I am really enjoying this album... you were right mom.
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