Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Various Artists - Unforgettable Love Songs Of The Sixties (1999)

Someone just gave me this CD compilation and I recognize about half the titles, so let's give it a spin and check it out. If you listen to the lyrics, the title may be a bit misleading - some of these tunes deal more with heartbreak than romance.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley (1960, #1 Pop): A classic. And the spoken word bit in the middle of it all must have made the girls swoon back then even if it goes on longer than it should. I have to admit that Elvis seemed to have total control over his voice at this stage in his career.
  • Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton (1963, #1 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): This thing starts with a hook and doesn't let up. Now it reminds me of the David Lynch flick, but I always liked Vinton because I heard a lot of him when I was a child thanks to a TV ad for one of his compilation albums (K-Tel, maybe?). Love the wordless background vocals - what an arrangement!
  • Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet - Henry Mancini and His Orchestra (1969, #1 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): this instrumental is used ironically these days in TV shows, but it's a beautiful piece and Mancini does what Mancini does - he was one of the best. Heck, it knocked The Beatles out of the #1 spot.
  • Can't Get Used to Losing You - Andy Williams (1963, #2 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): I dig the syncopated pizzicato strings, but that's about it.
  • Release Me - Engelbert Humperdinck (1967, #4 Pop, #28 Easy Listening): Schmaltz. Pass.
  • Make The World Go Away - Eddy Arnold (1965, #6 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): Worth listening for Arnold's smooth voice and the piano playing. This one takes me back - I'm sure I heard it on Hee Haw or the Jimmy Dean Show or some such.
  • Spanish Eyes - Al Martino (1966, #15 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): Even the use of Spanish lyrics over a Italian ballad can't ruin this crooning. Now I'm hungry for a stromboli. see also: Moon Over Naples by Bert Kaempfert (he's got the mad hits).
  • Don't Break the Heart That Loves You - Connie Francis (1962, #1 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): I don't know how she does it, but Connie in her prime (1961-65) could actually pout while singing and it's gotta be the sexiest thing I've heard so far today. Her scooping from note to note sometimes bothers me, but not on this track maybe because the strings scoop right along with her.
  • Ramblin' Rose - Nat King Cole (1962, #2 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): This tune isn't the best use of Cole's voice, but a lot of folks must have liked it. It's as if he's trying to capitalize on Ray Charles' sound of the time, which is probably what the record label was aiming for. Not bad, but there's much better Cole out there.
  • Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley (1962, #2 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): If this isn't the best thing Elvis ever recorded, it's certainly in the discussion. Timeless. They should have closed the disc with this tune, but we've got four more. Bad sequencing, guys.
  • The End Of The World - Skeeter Davis (1963, #2 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): Never been a fan of this one and I couldn't tell ya why.
  • Since I Fell For You - Lenny Welch (1963, #4 Pop, #3 Easy Listening): I absolutely adore this tune. I've heard plenty of versions and I love them all. I always ask the karaoke guys if I can sing this, but they never have the track. Shame because I'd crush it. Once this CD ends, I'll circle back around to this track.
  • When I Fall in Love - The Lettermen (1962, #7 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): If I told you to imagine The Lettermen singing a standard from the '50s, you could hear this in your head without having to listen to a recording. It's exactly what you'd expect. That said, the vocal harmonies are gorgeous. No autotune needed. Wow.
  • Moon River - Henry Mancini and His Orchestra (1961, #11 Pop, #1 Easy Listening): Love it. The song, the arrangement, the movie. All of it. The song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I can't write "none" but there's nothing specific, just a general feeling of time and place when I was a child.

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