Wondering what to give that oldies lover for the holidays? Here's a handy guide to Christmas / Holiday gifts for people who love oldies music from the '50s, '60s, and '70s, selected by me, your Oldies guide at About.com. These items are all brand-new for 2005, so you can be sure they haven't been given as gifts before! As always, if you have a suggestion for upcoming lists, feel free and e-mail me!
Billed as "The Essential Music Guide For Your iPod And Other Portable Music Players," this book by the guru of Billboard chart researchers, Joel Whitburn, list 14,000 of the biggest hits from the first half-century of rock and pop, cross-referenced by song and title so you can find what you want to download easily. It even contains playlist suggestions for parties and other, different types of events!
Vegas is hot, poker is hot, and the King is synonymous with Vegas, so why not? Play Texas Hold 'Em (or whatever) with not one but two decks of playing cards featuring classic photos of Presley on stage in Vegas! Also features 200 chips in three colors branded with Elvis' signature and a carrying case modeled after his famous white jumpsuit. Officially recognized by the Elvis estate.
A three-pound whopper of a book by Bob Spitz, author of the acclaimed "Dylan: A Biography," this thousand-page monster is being called the new definitive Beatle biography, not because it's huge but because it uses all that space to draw the clearest possible picture yet of the Fab Four as individual human beings. It also puts a fresh perspective on the stories we all know, as well as the ones that don't get mentioned often (i.e., the Manila near-riot). The book "Anthology" was supposed to be.
Believe it or not, there remains one label in the history of rock and roll that hasn't had its catalog exhaustively transferred over to CD -- or, rather, two. The Cameo/Parkway labels were home to Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell, The Tymes, The Five Stairsteps, and even a young Bob Seger! In fact, before this box, ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears" had never even officially made it to digital. This generous four-disc set will fill a vital hole in your favorite fan's collection.
"Hear it again for the first time." So goes the tagline for this latest Motown project, the newest attempt by the label to repackage their classic recordings for a new generation. Except that this time they're right -- the Sound of Young America was remarkably complex and layered, and listening to the individual elements of these familiar songs makes them seem even more impressive somehow, as if you were in on the creation. No re-recording, just the classics reconfigured in a fresh new way!
Perhaps someone on your gift list prefers the nice sound of pre-rock Fifties pop to the naughty music that exploded all over the airwaves in the middle of the decade. In that case, this DVD is perfect -- live performances from 2004 by Debbie Reynolds, The Four Aces, Gogi Grant, The Crew-Cuts, and then some, interspersed with classic clips from Rosemary Clooney, Johnnie Ray, Dean Martin, Perry Como, and more! Hosted by Pat Boone and the McGuire Sisters.
Know someone who still hasn't had enough of The Genius? One in a series of archived Dick Cavett shows from the early '70s, this 2-disc set features three separate Ray Charles appearances, containing 14 live performances. Charles was still at his peak around this time, so even though the backup band and the sound are less than ideal, the music still shines. You can also hear Ray getting personal in the interviews, as well as Cavett's new recollections of the musical giant.
The classic, newly updated. Goldmine is widely regarded as the vinyl collectors' magazine of choice, and this new Fourth Edition of their standard album bible now features 65,000 LP listings from 1948 to the present day. Rock, R&B, country, jazz, doo-wop, surf music, novelties, and much more are listed, along with guides for determining their current value. This new version is indeed "the ultimate guide to valuing your vinyl."
Want to take a trip back to the oldies era, and not just listen to the classic music it created? Try this version of Parker Brothers' classic Monopoly game, outfitted this time as a tribute to those classic Coca-Cola ads of the last century, many of which hail from the Forties and Fifties. (Yes, the Coke Santa is here!) Beautiful artwork that transforms a classic board game. Even the money and tokens are Coca-Colaized!
Arguably the best rock and roll movie of all time, and certainly the best of the early rock "exploitation" films, 1956's "The Girl Can't Help It" remains a touchstone for all Fifties rock lovers. (The Beatles even watched it while recording "Birthday"!) This DVD contains "The Girl" and two of Jayne's other big films of the day, all in one release!
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