Brainstormed by the venerable gang behind the Golden Age Of American Rock'n'Roll series, TEENAGE CRUSH Volume 4 brings together 28 more clean-cut pop rockers and teen ballads from the late 50s and early 60s, each one from Billboard's Hot 100. Not quite rock'n'roll, for a generation of teenagers, recordings like these were their zeitgeist, the soundtrack of their adolescence, evoking the angst and the joy of those innocent times more faithfully than any number of frantic rockers. Cardigan Rock, some of the guys and gals at Ace call it.
The tried and tested Teenage Crush recipe includes a mixture of boppin' teen idols, smooth balladeers, harmony groups and suchlike-.-some of them household names, others verging on the obscure. The presentation, of course, is matchless, with thorough annotation and a cornucopia of rare period ads and memorabilia. The following stream of consciousness, brutally cut and pasted from the 6,000 words contained within the 20-page booklet, should help paint a picture of what's in store:
I Saw Linda Yesterday by DICKEY LEE, a rip-roaring excursion into Dion territory ... ABC recognised the hit potential of ANDY ROSE's Just Young and rushed out a cover version by new teen star Paul Anka ... A full year after its release, HUELYN DUVALL's Little Boy Blue made a belated showing on the Hot 100 ... Twixt '55 and '61, the white buck-wearing PAT BOONE topped the Hot 100 with Ain't That A Shame, I Almost Lost My Mind, Don't Forbid Me, Love Letters In The Sand, April Love and Moody River, Queen Of The Hop ensured BOBBY DARIN was no one-hit wonder. 1959's Dream Lover and Mack The Knife established him as Atco's biggest star ... RICKY NELSON presented a conservative nation with the acceptable face of rock'n'roll. Never Be Anyone Else But You brought the youngster his seventh gold disc ... Another young pretender clearly under the spell of Dion DiMucci, TOMMY BOYCE was no novice when he reached Hot 100 with the self-penned I'll Remember Carol... Far removed from the raw rockabilly stylings of JOHNNY BURNETTE's youth, Dreamin' exemplified the tightly produced, highly polished pop sound that was fast becoming the trademark of Liberty Records ... An update of Tony Bennett's 1951 hit Blue Velvet by the STATUES. The group comprised Buzz Cason and Richard Williams plus Hugh Jarrett of the Jordanaires ... GEORGE HAMILTON IV, the genial International Ambassador of Country Music. Why Don't They Understand was his fourth chart hit and the second biggest of his career ... Why marked hit number eleven for former kiddie trumpet star FRANKIE AVALON, Philadelphia's favourite son. It has the distinction of being the final #1 of the 1950s ... The ominous, throbbing Torture was another notch on the belt of the brilliant songwriter John D Loudermilk, but for KRIS JENSEN it was his first - and last - hit ... When Treasure Of Love reached #16 on the Hot 100, CLYDE McPHATTER's acceptance by a pop audience was sealed ... A Teenager Feels It Too ensured Phoenix, Arizona-based would-be teen idol DENNY REED his place in chart reference books ... By early 1958 She's Neat was sitting pretty at #38 on the Hot 100, garnering DALE WRIGHT sufficient royalties to buy himself the car of his dreams, a light blue Corvette ... 18-year-old BOBBY VEE was already a chart veteran of two years standing when Take Good Care Of My Baby breezed into the top slot ... Less than two months after Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper perished in that tragic plane crash, TOMMY DEE's tribute disc Three Stars entered the Hot 100 en route to its final resting place ... It was with Goodbye Cruel World that JAMES DARREN's recording career really took off. He, Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen were dubbed Colpix Records' Teenage Triangle ... Bespoke follow-up to DALE AND GRACE's leftfield chart-topper I'm Leaving It Up To You, the soundalike Stop And Think It Over - distinguished by its uncommonly long pause - made it to #8 ... The massive success in Louisiana of T K HULIN's third L & K platter prompted Mercury to lease I'm Not A Fool Anymore for nationwide distribution ... Dion's #1 Runaround Sue was an influential record, generating multiple answer-discs and soundalikes, one of the best of which was Heart Breaker by DEAN CHRISTIE ... The wild falsetto of LOU CHRISTIE came from beyond the Valli of the Frankie. Two Faces Have I reached #6 ... The Way You Look Tonight was eclipsed by the similarly re-styled When I Fall In Love. The inventive Jimmie Haskell arrangements planted the LETTERMEN in a kind of doo wop-lite territory ... FRANK PIZANI's rocked-up version of Art Gillam's 1925 smash Angry was no one-off for the 22-year-old Chicagoan ... It was the Baker Knight-penned The Wonder Of You that provided RAY PETERSON with his breakthrough ... Mr Blue, the second chart-topper in under a year for the FLEETWOODS, was a gift from one group to another ... Featuring a guest appearance by an unnamed female accomplice, CLYDE STACY and the Nightcaps' So Young was living proof that rock'n'roll was all about sex ... Young Ideas, penned by chart-topping country star Sonny James, gave RCA's new signing CHICO HOLIDAY a kick-start chartwise in 1959.
When combined with such essentials as Ace's Golden Age, Birth Of Soul, Early Girls and Teen Beat compilations, the TEENAGE CRUSH series constitutes the definitive history of pre-Beatles pop. Collect the set, why not?
By Mick Patrick