May 07, 2002

Album Review

This package is part of the Varese Sarabande label's general campaign to put out new greatest-hits packages of artists they've already given the best-of treatment to, the chief difference being the inclusion of more tracks the second time around. The company's The Best of Frankie Avalon, issued in 1995, had 18 songs; 25 All-Time Greatest Hits, as is self-evident, has seven more. The biggest hits are on both CDs, but alas it's not an automatic given that 25 All-Time Greatest Hits makes other Avalon anthologies redundant, since it's missing a number 56 chart hit that was on The Best of Frankie Avalon, "The Puppet Song." Granted that tune's not a world-beater, but its inclusion would probably mean something to a lot of fans who bother to select an Avalon best-of off the shelves. That omission aside, this has everything almost anyone would want by Avalon, including a bunch of songs beyond the half-dozen or so that still cling to oldies radio play lists. The best of the obscure tracks are the ones from the 1963 non-charting 45 "Beach Party"/"Don't Stop Now," which are far harder-rocking than most of his output, though they're not memorable. "Beach Party" was written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian, who were involved in composing many a hot rod and surf record, including some for the Beach Boys; "Don't Stop Now," which sounds like it would have fit in well in one of his beach movies, even has some early fuzz guitar. Beyond that, it might be noted that a surprisingly high portion of this has no relation to rock music, being far more in the orchestrated pop balladeer school that rock & roll did so much to close down.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Venus
  2. I'll Wait for You
  3. Dede Dinah
  4. Ginger Bread
  5. Just Ask Your Heart
  6. Where Are You
  7. A Perfect Love
  8. Why
  9. Tuxedo Junction
  10. Too Young to Love
  11. Bobby Sox to Stockings
  12. A Boy Without a Girl
  13. Togetherness
  14. Don't Let Love Pass Me By
  15. Swingin' on a Rainbow
  16. All of Everything
  17. Don't Throw Away All Those Teardrops
  18. Who Else but You
  19. You Are Mine
  20. Call Me Anytime
  21. A Miracle
  22. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  23. Two Fools [Single Version]
  24. Beach Party
  25. Don't Stop Now