25 Hits From The British Invasion
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This fantastic collection combines huge British Invasion hits (five #1s and 15 Top 10s) with numbers not readily found elsewhere! Like Tossing & Turning Ivy League; Out of Time Chris Farlowe; It's Good News Week Hedgehoppers Anonymous; Let the Heartaches Begin Long John Baldry; I Knew It All the Time Dave Clark Five; Concrete and Clay Unit Four Plus Two; You Turn Me On (Turn On Song) Ian Whitcomb & Bluesville; Michelle David and Jonathan; To Sir with Love Lulu, and more.
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I would not recommend this disc as your only British Invasion disc. Many of the songs are not the really big hits and it has a very British orientation as seven of the 25 songs weren't even minor hits in America (which, after all is where the British Invasion happened. The Brits weren't invading Britain). I would recommend the Gold collection by Universal at the present time: 32 songs, big hits by big artists and great sound. Warner Brothers' great 9-disc series is out of print and as you can see here, tend to go for about $25 each or around $200 for the box. Universal's great 3-disc 54 song set (balloon on cover) is also out of print and also has gone high price. The time/Life 8-CD 1-DVD set goes all the way through the 80's (Police, Duran Duran, etc.) so it's not really "The British Invasion".
This disc it a great add-on to the Gold collection. Only one song is duplicated, (To Sir With Love), so it simply gives you some great extra songs. The usual suspects (Beatles, Stones, early Animals, Marianne Faithfull, Dave Clark Five and Herman's Hermits ) are missing due to their labels not liking to license them for collections. Varese Sarabande specializes in these kinds of things and they know what they are doing. You pick up extra songs by the Zombies, Donovan, the Animals, the Searchers and the Yardbirds, Also interesting one hit wonders like Unit Four Plus Two, Jonathan King, David & Jonathan, Crispian St. Peters, the Easybeats and Ian Whitcomb. Petula Clark is represented, one of the most glaring oversights of the Universal collections; she was considered more rock than Tom Jones (on UNI) and had consistent hits from '64 through '67.
But what about these other songs, the ones many people never heard of. Being Varese, these songs were wisely chosen (and they acknowledge they were only U.K. hits) because they were interesting for one reason or another. I was an avid British Invasion fan, listened to European radio on my shortwave radio, listened to WLS Chicago's British Countdown every Sunday and had a subscription to Billboard to follow the U.S. and British charts. When big hits in Britain started to not make it here in the summer of '65, I still heard them a lot and was excited to find big ones here like It's Good News Week and Tossing & Turning. The others are an obscure, untypical Dave Clark Five track on the Congress label (Epic/Columbia was their hit label); the Alan Price set was Price's bluesy group after he left the Animals, which he had founded; the Herd was Peter Frampton's first group; Long John Baldry founded Steampacket with Rod Stewart in the mid 60's;CHris Farlowe and Twice As Much were on Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records so it's no coincidence that they both do Stones' songs, Farlowe in a country-ish way and Twice As Much pure Sunshine Pop with a Baroque oboe to boot.
All this adds up to a great British Sixties Pop collection with many rare tracks that are a real gift being available all on one disc.