New Releases

Miami Pop Festival

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Best Of British

Rod Stewart

This Is

Rod Stewart

Introducing

Van Morrison

Howling At The Moon

Van Morrison

Shape of Things

Jeff Beck

Get Lucky

The Everly Brothers

Rain Songs (Songs for a Rainy Day)

Doug Newman

Pay Your Dues

Bob Findlay

You Know

Wolfhaven

The Complete Studio Albums

The Doors

The Complete Album Collection (The 60's)

Bob Dylan

The Original Mono Recordings

Bob Dylan
Like any recording artist of the ‘60s, Bob Dylan had his albums mixed for mono during the bulk of the decade. Stereo mixes were simultaneously released, but they didn’t take precedence until the end of the ‘60s, when the industry and public tastes shifted toward two speakers. As the decades rolled on, those original mono mixes never again surfaced, but the unexpected success of 2009’s The Beatles in Mono box opened the doors for 2010’s The Original Mono Recordings, a handsome nine-disc box containing Dylan’s first eight albums in remastered mono and housed in attractive, stiff, mini-LP cardboard sleeves. As a package, The Original Mono Recordings is undeniably alluring -- the LP replicas are accurate, right down to the inclusion of the sheet of poetry in The Times They Are A-Changin’, the booklet thorough, highlighted by liner notes by Greil Marcus, and several rarely-circulated photos -- and that’s a large part of the battle of a collector bait set like this, which seeks to re-create the experience of listening to the original albums. Any fan investing in a set this expensive expects an experience as attractive as this, but the main draw is, naturally, in the music, whether the mono mixes offer a different experience than the stereo and, by and large, they do. Granted, sometimes this experience is rather subtle, particularly on the first four acoustic albums, which don’t feel drastically different, only slightly more intimate as they’re narrowed down to a single speaker. In contrast, the next four albums -- particularly Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, the hardest rock here -- bear the hallmarks of ‘60s mono rock & roll, they’re punchy, forceful, and direct, a more forceful listen than the stereo mixes. Of course, this may not be everybody’s cup of tea -- the stereo mixes allow for somewhat greater appreciation of the instrumental interplay since there is more space to breathe -- but these bold mixes were the sound of the times, and since it was a time ruled by Dylan, it is fascinating to hear these records this way, and for any serious fan of him or the ‘60s, it’s essential too.

La Cave 1968 (Problems In Urban Living)

The Velvet Underground
The sound quality is low grade on this back-of-the-room bootleg cassette, but the Velvet Underground turn in a fantastic performance in this small Cleveland coffeehouse. There are only a few live recordings available from this key period, between White Light/White Heat and the self-titled third album. This alone makes La Cave 1968 a historic document worthy of exploration, even if it's a little difficult to penetrate. It is also worth noting that many of these songs were played live for the first time in this set, and this is Doug Yule's first live performance with the group, alongside core members Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, and Lou Reed.

Live

The Everly Brothers

Lucille / Bye Bye Love

The Everly Brothers
For the Everly Brothers enthusiast, the Laserlight series is ideal for accumulating a thorough library of their early Cadence years: the discs pack about ten songs apiece, are budget-friendly, and, while each disc in the series is different, they include both popular and more obscure cuts so that one may collect without fear of duplication. Bye Bye Love captures both the energetic radio persona that made the Everly Brothers popular in mainstream rock & roll and also the more subdued Nashville ballads that remind listeners of their roots and beginnings. Phil and Don bend notes in bluegrass fashion on "Long Time Gone" and croon in warm harmony on classics such as "Love of My Life" and "Brand New Heartache." All are original recordings.

Burn Antares

Burn Antares

Alright

Dave Thrift

fOxY lAdY 67-10

Michael William Andersen

Top Albums

Band Of Gypsys

Jimi Hendrix
Band of Gypsys was the only live recording authorized by Jimi Hendrix before his death. It was recorded and released in order to get Hendrix out from under a contractual obligation that had been hanging over his head for a couple years. Helping him out were longtime friends Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on the drums because the Experience had broken up in June of 1969, following a show in Denver. This rhythm section was vastly different from the Experience. Buddy Miles was an earthy, funky drummer in direct contrast to the busy, jazzy leanings of Mitch Mitchell. Noel Redding was not really a bass player at all but a converted guitar player who was hired in large part because Hendrix liked his hair! These new surroundings pushed Hendrix to new creative heights. Along with this new rhythm section, Hendrix took these shows as an opportunity to showcase much of the new material he had been working on. The music was a seamless melding of rock, funk, and R&B, and tunes like "Message to Love" and "Power to Love" showed a new lyrical direction as well. Although he could be an erratic live performer, for these shows, Hendrix was "on" -- perhaps his finest performances. His playing was focused and precise. In fact, for most of the set, Hendrix stood motionless, a far cry from the stage antics that helped establish his reputation as a performer. Equipment problems had plagued him in past live shows as well, but everything was perfect for the Fillmore shows. His absolute mastery of his guitar and effects is even more amazing considering that this was the first time he used the Fuzz Face, wah-wah pedal, Univibe, "and" Octavia pedals on-stage together. The guitar tones he gets on "Who Knows" and "Power to Love" are powerful and intense, but nowhere is his absolute control more evident than on "Machine Gun," where Hendrix conjures bombs, guns, and other sounds of war from his guitar, all within the context of a coherent musical statement. The solo on "Machine Gun" totally rewrote the book on what a man could do with an electric guitar and is arguably the most groundbreaking and devastating guitar solo ever. These live versions of "Message to Love" and "Power to Love" are far better than the jigsaw puzzle studio versions that were released posthumously. Two Buddy Miles compositions are also included, but the show belongs to Jimi all the way. Band of Gypsys is not only an important part of the Hendrix legacy, but one of the greatest live albums ever.

Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits

Bob Dylan
Arriving in 1967, Greatest Hits does an excellent job of summarizing Dylan's best-known songs from his first seven albums. At just ten songs, it's a little brief, and the song selection may be a little predictable, but that's actually not a bad thing, since this provides a nice sampler for the curious and casual listener, as it boasts standards from "Blowin' in the Wind" to "Like a Rolling Stone." And, for collectors, the brilliant non-LP single "Positively Fourth Street" was added, which provided reason enough for anybody that already owned the original records to pick this up. This has since been supplanted by more exhaustive collections, but as a sampler of Dylan at his absolute peak, this is first-rate.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Experience Hendrix (The Best Of Jimi Hendrix)

Jimi Hendrix
This compilation just misses being the perfect single-CD Jimi Hendrix anthology, and it's a crying shame because it comes so close. Its main virtue is that, in contrast to Smash Hits -- the only compilation of Hendrix's work approved by the artist -- it extends its reach past 1968. The last of the tracks come from the abortive First Rays of the New Rising Sun album, left unfinished at the time of his death, and show off a more R&B and soul-oriented sound than Hendrix was generally known for -- and are worth the price of the disc by themselves. In fact, some of these cuts recall Hendrix's history with the Isley Brothers, but done his way, with the range of sounds that he was generating in 1970. The disc concludes with the obligatory live version of "The Star Spangled Banner" from Woodstock, which is of massive historical and cultural importance. Where it falls short is by leaving out "Can You See Me"and "Remember," which are on Smash Hits -- it's a pity because the presence of two of those cuts (which, in fairness, can be found on Are You Experienced?) would make this compilation perfect in most respects. [The 2007 Circuit City Exclusive edition came packaged with a free album cover iPOD skin.]

Bruce Eder, Rovi

II

Led Zeppelin

GRRR!

The Rolling Stones
Graced with cover art of a grotesque gorilla sporting the Stones' trademark leering lips, GRRR! doesn't quite have the classy veneer usually associated with a 50th anniversary collection. Frankly, that's a good sign for the Rolling Stones: they're celebrating their half-century together but refusing to take themselves too seriously, even when they're assembling a mammoth retrospective that's available in two wildly different incarnations. Each chronicles the Stones' story beginning with their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On," to a pair of good new recordings (a loose-limbed rocker called "Doom & Gloom" and the poppier "One More Shot"). Neither the standard triple-disc version nor the super deluxe four-disc set -- which has the added bonus of a disc of the band's Chess Records-heavy demos for IBC in 1963, a significant enticement to make the investment (there's also a bonus 7" EP of a 1964 BBC session) -- has all of the singles or significant songs the Stones have released over the course of five decades, but both do an excellent job of providing a thorough overview of a monumental career. Of these, three-CD set offers fewer surprises, marching steadily through the years and serving up the songs you know by heart, supplemented by just enough of the best latter-day material to make a convincing argument that the Stones retained their power. As it has more room to roam, the four-disc Super Deluxe is quirkier and offers a better illustration of the band's range, digging deeper into the band's late-'60s psychedelia ("Dandelion," "Child of the Moon"), emphasizing country-rock ("You Got the Silver," "Salt of the Earth"), disco ("Dance, Pt. 1"), and does a tremendous job in editing the band's third act so their enduring craftsmanship shines through. Again, it's easy to name great songs that are missing, but what's here is sublime, some of the best rock & roll ever made, and the best overall Stones comp to date. [A Deluxe Box Set featured a "memorabilia" book and five classic "art print" tour poster postcards.]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin had a fully formed, distinctive sound from the outset, as their eponymous debut illustrates. Taking the heavy, distorted electric blues of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Cream to an extreme, Zeppelin created a majestic, powerful brand of guitar rock constructed around simple, memorable riffs and lumbering rhythms. But the key to the group's attack was subtlety: it wasn't just an onslaught of guitar noise, it was shaded and textured, filled with alternating dynamics and tempos. As Led Zeppelin proves, the group was capable of such multi-layered music from the start. Although the extended psychedelic blues of "Dazed and Confused," "You Shook Me," and "I Can't Quit You Baby" often gather the most attention, the remainder of the album is a better indication of what would come later. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" shifts from folky verses to pummeling choruses; "Good Times Bad Times" and "How Many More Times" have groovy, bluesy shuffles; "Your Time Is Gonna Come" is an anthemic hard rocker; "Black Mountain Side" is pure English folk; and "Communication Breakdown" is a frenzied rocker with a nearly punkish attack. Although the album isn't as varied as some of their later efforts, it nevertheless marked a significant turning point in the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

The Very Best Of The Doors

The Doors

Astral Weeks

Van Morrison
Astral Weeks is generally considered one of the best albums in pop music history. For all that renown, Astral Weeks is anything but an archetypal rock & roll album: in fact, it isn't a rock & roll album at all. Employing a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, Van Morrison spins out a series of extended ruminations on his Belfast upbringing, including the remarkable character "Madame George" and the climactic epiphany experienced on "Cyprus Avenue." Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, Morrison sings in his elastic, bluesy voice, accompanied by a jazz rhythm section (Jay Berliner, guitar, Richard Davis, bass, Connie Kay, drums), plus reeds (John Payne) and vibes (Warren Smith, Jr.), with a string quartet overdubbed. An emotional outpouring cast in delicate musical structures, Astral Weeks has a unique musical power. Unlike any record before or since, it nevertheless encompasses the passion and tenderness that have always mixed in the best postwar popular music, easily justifying the critics' raves.

William Ruhlmann, Rovi

The Doors

The Doors
A tremendous debut album, and indeed one of the best first-time outings in rock history, introducing the band's fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz, and poetry with a knock-out punch. The lean, spidery guitar and organ riffs interweave with a hypnotic menace, providing a seductive backdrop for Jim Morrison's captivating vocals and probing prose. "Light My Fire" was the cut that topped the charts and established the group as stars, but most of the rest of the album is just as impressive, including some of their best songs: the propulsive "Break on Through" (their first single), the beguiling Oriental mystery of "The Crystal Ship," the mysterious "End of the Night," "Take It as It Comes" (one of several tunes besides "Light My Fire" that also had hit potential), and the stomping rock of "Soul Kitchen" and "Twentieth Century Fox." The 11-minute Oedipal drama "The End" was the group at its most daring and, some would contend, overambitious. It was nonetheless a haunting cap to an album whose nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension would never be equaled by the group again, let alone bettered.

Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Greatest Hits

The Band
The Band was a very album-oriented group, and only had two Top 40 hit singles. So one could argue that a single-disc greatest hits compilation, or best-of anthology as this might more properly be called, is not the optimum way to dig into their repertoire. But if you're limiting yourself to one Band collection and your budget or patience does not stretch for the two-CD To Kingdom Come set, this 18-song program hits all the famous buttons, including "The Weight," "Chest Fever," "Up on Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "The Shape I'm In," "Stage Fright," and "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Naturally, it leans most heavily on their first two albums, which supply four songs each. Good, lengthy liner notes by Rob Bowman are a nice bonus, considering that single-disc career-spanning overviews often dispense with such frills. Strange, though, that "Don't Do It," their one Top 40 hit single other than "Up on Cripple Creek," isn't here; in fact, there's nothing from their live Rock of Ages.

Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Greatest Hits

The Who
Released in advance of the Who’s half-time appearance at the 2010 Superbowl, the 2009 Greatest Hits reworks the 2004 collection Then and Now: 1964-2000, retaining the basic structure of that compilation (including its then-new bonus track “Real Good Looking Boy”), trimming its 20 tracks down to 19 -- “I’m a Boy,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and “5:15” traded for “Pictures of Lily” and “Eminence Front,” the new “Old Red Wine” swapped for “It’s Not Enough” from their 2006 comeback Endless Wire -- but otherwise not changing much about the basic character of the album. This collection remains a solid overview of the Who’s basics, containing every one of the huge hits from “My Generation” to “Who Are You,” all sequenced chronologically. There are no surprises and no need to get this if you already own one of the many Who collections released over the years, but if Townshend and Daltrey’s Superbowl set piques some interest in procuring a Who hits album, this will surely satisfy.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Are You Experienced

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
On Are You Experienced -- one of the most stunning debuts in rock history and one of the definitive albums of the psychedelic era -- Jimi Hendrix synthesized various elements of the cutting edge of 1967 rock into music that sounded both futuristic and rooted in the best traditions of rock, blues, pop, and soul. It was his mind-boggling guitar work, of course, that got most of the ink, building upon the experiments of British innovators like Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend to chart new sonic territories in feedback, distortion, and sheer volume. It wouldn't have meant much, however, without his excellent material, whether psychedelic frenzy ("Foxey Lady," "Manic Depression," "Purple Haze"), instrumental freak-out jams ("Third Stone from the Sun"), blues ("Red House," "Hey Joe"), or tender, poetic compositions ("The Wind Cries Mary") that demonstrated the breadth of his songwriting talents. Not to be underestimated were the contributions of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, who gave the music a rhythmic pulse that fused parts of rock and improvised jazz. Many of these songs are among Hendrix's very finest; it may be true that he would continue to develop at a rapid pace throughout the rest of his brief career, but he would never surpass his first LP in terms of consistently high quality. The British and American versions of the album differed substantially when they were initially released in 1967; MCA's 17-song CD reissue does everyone a favor by gathering all of the material from the two records in one place, adding a few B-sides from early singles as well. [A vinyl version of the reissue was also released.]

Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits

Janis Joplin
A solid, if skimpy, ten-track best-of that gathers the most important songs from Janis Joplin's solo career, as well as her stint with Big Brother & the Holding Company. The compilation 18 Essential Songs offers a wider selection, but does not include the original version of "Me and Bobby McGee," which makes Greatest Hits the better purchase for those who only want one Janis Joplin disc, even if it isn't definitive. The 1999 CD reissue adds two bonus tracks, "Maybe" and "Mercedes Benz."

Steve Huey, Rovi

L.A. Forum (Live, 1975)

The Rolling Stones

Music From Big Pink

The Band
Although the five musicians who came together in the late '50s and early '60s to back up Canadian rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins probably had played thousands of shows and had made numerous recordings, none of these public appearances gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album as the Band in July 1968. If people at that time had heard the 1967 sessions later dubbed The Basement Tapes that the musicians had made with Bob Dylan, they would have been better prepared. As it was, Music from Big Pink came as a surprise. At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, the arrangements giving alternating emphases to different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. "Tears of Rage," the leadoff track, was a lament by parents about a rebellious child; "The Weight" considered various acts of kindness that went wrong; and "I Shall Be Released," the closing track, expressed the hopeless hope of a prisoner who determined his salvation by viewing the world in reverse ("I see my light coming shining from the west unto the east," he sang, as if the earth were spinning in the opposite direction from its usual course). Other songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically.

Tenor Richard Manuel's haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, even when he wasn't singing lead (especially his moans in "The Weight"), while Rick Danko's and Levon Helm's rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs' rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson's organ, which could be icy and majestic, his other keyboards introducing novel sounds, while Robbie Robertson's unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the cultural and political turmoil of the late '60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Nevertheless, Music from Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, when rock had moved toward ornate productions. Bob Dylan, the Band's mentor, had begun a move back to a simpler, if more ambiguous style with John Wesley Harding six months earlier, and Music from Big Pink initially attracted attention because of the three songs ("Tears of Rage," "This Wheel's on Fire," and "I Shall Be Released") he had either written or co-written. Soon, however, as "The Weight" became a minor singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement more toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, Music from Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre.

[The CD reissue released on August 29, 2000, was remastered for a clearer sound that produced a more detailed sound picture, making those rambling arrangements easier to appreciate. The reissue featured extensive liner notes by Band expert Rob Bowman and included nine bonus tracks, expanding the running time from 42 to 74 minutes. Among the new material, there were alternate takes of "Tears of Rage" and "Lonesome Suzie" (the former only marginally different, the latter a completely different approach to the song); versions of four songs previously released on the 1975 album The Basement Tapes ("Yazoo Street Scandal," "Katie's Been Gone," "Long Distance Operator," and "Orange Juice Blues [Blues for Breakfast]"); covers of country and blues material ("If I Lose," "Key to the Highway"); and one original song probably from the group's initial demo session ("Ferdinand the Imposter"). None of these recordings sounded like they should have been included on the original album, but they provided interesting addenda, especially for aficionados who might need a reason to invest in yet another reissue of this classic album.]

William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Greatest Hits

The Byrds
Without question, the Byrds were one of the great bands of the '60s and one of the few American bands of their time to continually turn out inventive, compelling albums. As they were recording a series of fine records, they released a number of classic singles that defined their era. The original 11-song LP version of The Byrds' Greatest Hits did an excellent job in 1967 of chronicling the peak years of their popularity, before withering personality conflicts and the resulting personnel changes altered their sound radically, first into a glorious psychedelic/folk/electronic/pop flourish on Notorious Byrd Brothers and then into country-rock on 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Columbia/Legacy's expanded 1999 reissue upgraded the sound quality considerably and added the three minor hits missing from the original collection, which means that Greatest Hits now contains all of the group's hit singles -- from 1965's "Mr. Tambourine Man" to 1967's "Have You Seen Her Face"; what's more, the additional cuts shore up Gene Clark's impossible-to-overstate importance to their music and, by reaching up to 1967 and the Younger Than Yesterday album, give Chris Hillman a well-deserved place at the table as a songwriter in his own right. That's an impressive collection indeed, and it also includes "All I Really Want to Do," "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)," "It Won't Be Wrong," "Set You Free This Time," "Eight Miles High," "5D (Fifth Dimension)," "Mr. Spaceman," "So You Want to Be a Rock N' Roll Star," and "My Back Pages." Only David Crosby is shortchanged by the failure to include "Lady Friend" -- which, in fairness, was not a hit at all, but was one of the group's finest singles and closed out the era represented on this collection. Some other great songs were also left behind on the albums, but important cuts like "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," "The Bells of Rhymney," and "Chimes of Freedom" are included, and even with its few remaining gaps this is pretty close to a definitive single-disc summary of the Byrds' prime. [An expanded edition was also released.]

Electric Ladyland

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Let It Bleed

The Rolling Stones
Mostly recorded without Brian Jones -- who died several months before its release (although he does play on two tracks) and was replaced by Mick Taylor (who also plays on just two songs) -- Let It Bleed extends the rock and blues feel of Beggars Banquet into slightly harder-rocking, more demonically sexual territory. The Rolling Stones were never as consistent on album as their main rivals, the Beatles, and Let It Bleed suffers from some rather perfunctory tracks, like "Monkey Man" and a countrified remake of the classic "Honky Tonk Woman" (here titled "Country Honk"). Yet some of the songs are among their very best, especially "Gimme Shelter," with its shimmering guitar lines and apocalyptic lyrics; the harmonica-driven "Midnight Rambler"; the druggy party ambience of the title track; and the stunning "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which was the Stones' "Hey Jude" of sorts, with its epic structure, horns, philosophical lyrics, and swelling choral vocals. "You Got the Silver" (Keith Richards' first lead vocal) and Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain," by contrast, were as close to the roots of acoustic down-home blues as the Stones ever got.

Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Endless Summer

The Beach Boys
This was the album by which millions of sons of late baby boomers (and sons and daughters of the early ones) first really discovered the Beach Boys, beyond hearing the occasional oldie on the radio. It was the summer of 1974, and the Beach Boys were still trying to get themselves back on track commercially after a seven-year commercial dry spell, when this double LP of their 1963-1966 material (all but one cut predating Pet Sounds) came along and did the job. Endless Summer, which was assembled in consultation with Mike Love, soared to number one and charted high over two subsequent summers (spending three years on the charts, the longest of any of the group's albums), and attracted the enthusiastic attention of millions of listeners too young to have bought their singles back when. The programming was a little thin, not even running an hour total, spread among two LPs, but most of the group's best loved singles were represented -- no notes, not a word of historical context, just a great collection of songs that proved irresistible to many shoppers. The packaging was nigh perfect, a simple, celebratory sun-lit graphic that spoke volumes about the music. Although it's been supplanted by other compilations (including the British 20 Golden Greats), on LP and CD alike, Endless Summer was a sentimental favorite for many listeners, sufficient to justify not only a standard CD release but a resourced, recompiled audiophile disc as well from DCC Records.

Bruce Eder, Rovi

Decade

Neil Young

16 Biggest Hits

Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison scored 20 consecutive Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965, all but the last of them on the Monument Records label. This compilation presents 16 of the first 17 of those hits (missing is the 1963 Christmas song "Pretty Paper"), from the 1960 gold-seller "Only the Lonely" to the 1964 chart-topper "Oh, Pretty Woman," with Orbison's seven other Top Ten hits of the era in between. Technically, a few of Orbison's singles of 1965 and 1966 did a little better in the charts than a few of the ones here, and, of course, he scored a final, posthumous Top Ten hit with "You Got It" on Virgin Records in 1989. But this collection presents the music from the hottest part of his career in chronological order, with standards like "Crying" sharing space with lesser, but still worthy songs like "I'm Hurtin'." Aficionados know Orbison's Sun works, and his later recordings earned him a new audience, but the Monument hit singles of the early '60s are what he is best remembered for, and they're all here.

William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Greatest Hits

The Mamas And The Papas
This is the single-CD successor to Creeque Alley, the double-disc career retrospective issued in the early '90s. All of the hits from "California Dreamin'" to "Dream a Little Dream of Me" are here, along with their more celebrated album tracks, and the notes by Joseph Laredo provide a decent overview of the group's formation and history. The records have been remastered yet again, although the level of improvement over Creeque Alley seems modest (Creeque Alley sounded really good) compared with that double disc's improvement over the earlier, wholly inadequate masters from the 1980s. For someone who doesn't have a lot of money to spend on the band, this is the place to start, superseding all other single-disc hits collections. [Not to be confused with earlier hits compilations, the catalog number on this 20-song collection is MCAD-11740.]

Bruce Eder, Rovi

The Ultimate Collection

The Kinks

Top Songs

Paint It, Black

The Rolling Stones

Brown Eyed Girl

Van Morrison

Fortunate Son

Creedence Clearwater Revival

House Of The Rising Sun

The Animals

Sympathy For The Devil

The Rolling Stones

Me And Bobby McGee

Janis Joplin

Landslide

Stevie Nicks

Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones

Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix

Ramble On

Led Zeppelin

Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)

The Hollies

Baba O'Riley

The Who

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Jimi Hendrix

Nights In White Satin

The Moody Blues

Kokomo

The Beach Boys

California Dreamin'

The Mamas & The Papas

For What It's Worth

Buffalo Springfield

Lola (Mono Single Version)

The Kinks

A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Procol Harum

Light My Fire

The Doors

With A Little Help From My Friends

Joe Cocker

Runaround Sue

Dion