Classic PopThis album kicks off circa 1964 with the upbeat familiarity of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and then jumps two years forward to 1966 and The Mamas & The Papas “Monday, Monday.” Both songs are undeniably memorable and catchy, simultaneously reminding listeners of simpler times and harking forward to current pop music’s addictive styles and catchy rhythms.

Jose Feliciano’s 1968 cover of The Doors’ hit “Light My Fire” may have earned him a Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance Grammy in 1968, but 40 years later it feels surprisingly less full than the original version. Harry Nilsson’s 1969 tune “Everybody’s Talkin'” is the definition of a good pop song: at once catchy and throwaway and laden with deeper meaning. Popularized in the Oscar-winning film Midnight Cowboy, it’s hard not to listen to the song and picture a wandering Jon Voight on the streets of New York.

Another performance-ralated song from the same year that was on the 5th Dimension’s Record of the year “Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” is every bit as love-era sounding today as it was when it was released. The Burt Bacharach and Hal David penned “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” earned Dionne Warwick a 1970 Best Contemporary Vocal Performance Grammy, and deserves its spot on this album next to Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together,” even if the tracks are separated by 5 years and an opposing view of love. Whether the love comparison is intended or not, record producers chose well to order the tracks this way.

Janis Ian’s simple and emotional 1975 winner “At Seventeen” marks the halfway mark for the album, and also serves as a sort of demarcation between “old” classic and “new” classic, as the tracks begin the trend towards the bigger groups like the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love” and The Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes.” Kenny Loggins shows up with “This is It” and Toto pops in with “Rosanna.” Tina Turner’s 1984 Song of the Year Grammy Winner “What’s Love Got to Do With It” shows the singer’s prowess and is a definite standout.

Phil Collins, Steve Winwood, and Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes finalize the album with their mid- to late- ’80s Best Pop Performance Grammy Winners, but it’s clear that some of the magic of pop music evident in the 1960s has been lost amid the newer age and the cheesy sappiness of the newer music.

Overall, this album is a clear hit parade and anyone with an appreciation for pop of any time period will find something to enjoy here.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: A 23-year spread of popular music
Stay Away if: In some cruel twist of taste, you dislike music from the ’60s, ’70s AND ’80s

To purchase Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop, visit Amazon
For more information and a track lising, visit The Ultimate Grammy Collection’s homepage
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Pop, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary R&B, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country, visit BloggerNews

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