12 of the biggest smash hits for some of the finest solo and group stars on the pop scene, faithfully reproduced for your enjoyment so that you will find it difficult to tell the difference from the originals
This album simply titled “Smash Hits” on the budget Music For Pleasure label could be the very first ‘remake-the-hits’ collections, released during the summer of 1967 with a MONO pressing.
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The secret of hit-parade success is a difficult thing to analyse, especially in these days when the Top Ten presents such a wide variety of sounds and styles.
Sometimes the name of a big artist is enough to ensure a chart-buster but more and more the public is judging records on their individual merit; the habit of blindly following a certain artist, buying all his or her releases, good or bad, is thankfully dying.
Nowadays the charts are wide open for enterprising new artists and new sounds and the established artists have to really justify their position at the top. They can no longer afford to be complacent repeating old formats.
All this has made pop music vibrate with great freshness and excitement. It is justified to contend that pop is progressing faster than any other music form of the day.
Leading all the progression are of course the fabulous Beatles. They have come a long way from the mop-head image of 1963. Their music is now generally accepted as a valid art form; star jazzmen and renowned classical musicians are numbered among their most avid fans.
No collection of smash hits could be complete without at least one Beatles’ number and we have got two – “All You Need Is Love”, which they carried to number one, and “When I’m Sixty-Four” from the landmark ‘Sgt Pepper’ album (this latter number has been recorded by several other artists including British trad man Kenny Ball).
Mention of the Beatles inevitably leads to mention – and often feverish argument – about the Monkees. There now seems little doubt that the American group will be around for some time to come, whether or not they really do play on their records. “Alternate Title” is their latest smash hit.
Micky Dolenz wrote this number for the Monkees during one of his visits to England in 1967, it may have been his first visit? The original song title was “Randy Scouse Git”. Micky heard the words spoken on British Comedy TV programme “Til Death Us Do Part”. – the squares in the music industry thought the number was great apart from the title so it was renamed and given it’s alternate title.
The ‘Flower Power’ movement is also surrounded with controversy but it has certainly led to some interesting sounds including the chart-topping “San Francisco” which made a solo star of moustache-sporting Scott McKenzie, previously known as a clean-shaven member of The Journeymen group.
Girl singers have been getting a fair share of the hits recently and Sandie Shaw‘s “Puppet On A String” – winner of the Eurovision Song Contest – was one of the biggest. Lulu has been on the scene for quite some time but she had a quiet spell after her hit “Shout”.
Recently, however, things have been going well for her and “Let’s Pretend” has taken her back to the top and the film ‘To Sir With Love’, in which she has a star role, has won further acclaim for her.
Vikki Carr too has waited a long while for a smash hit but “It Must Be Him” has brought her just reward for all those years of hard work.
“Don’t Sleep In The Subway” is the latest in a long line of hits for Petula Clark, France’s favourite Briton.
Cliff Richard has long been established at the top. The teenage rock ‘n’ roller of the ‘Fifties has now developed into a talented all-round entertainer and his sweet ballad “The Day I Met Marie” has appeal for all age groups.
Welshman Tom Jones is a man of immense talents with a superb voice. He can make something really memorable of all kinds of songs – ballads, blues, rock numbers or country and western favourites – and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” is the latest of his hits.
But perhaps the outstanding hit of the year has been a number by a group which split up. Of course, it’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, the soulful slowie with its church-like organ backing and poetical words. We are glad the Procul Harum got together again because we can do with more of their magic.
Finally, in contrasting style, a number redolent of the 1920s, the title song from Julie Andrew‘s latest film, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’.
These then are 12 of the biggest smash hits for some of the finest solo and group stars on the pop scene, faithfully reproduced for your enjoyment so that you will find it difficult to tell the difference from the originals.
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