Sorry, Zappa again
From a time when marketing was carefree and fun.
In the early seventies Polydor in Germany released a series of double albums called "Pop History". These compilations tried to portray pop acts over four vinyl sides, with the approach that the 'serious music lover' (i.e. the album-buying hippie freak of the time) wasn't only interested in the typical Greatest Hits and Best-Of-type samplers anymore; these sets were aimed at 'rock' fans, and looking at the tracklistings of the 30 volumes makes for some amazing discoveries – especially when you keep in mind that this project came from a label that was virtually swimming in money at the time due to the phenomenal sales of James Last albums.
Over the years I've assembled a complete collection of "Pop History Vol. 1-30" and it still amazes me. Not only do you get The Lovin' Spoonful sitting next to James Brown and The Grateful Dead, there's early Krautrock from Ihre Kinder alongside Mountain, Richie Havens, Taste and Euro-rock from Golden Earring and the Spotnicks. The people who compiled these albums were either plain mad or had a lot of fun: The Velvet Underground volume starts with "Lady Godiva's Operation", doesn't include "Waiting For My Man" (but "The Gift" and "Murder Mistery"), the Jack Bruce collection only has one track each from the Cream albums but four each from "Things We Like" and his album with Tony Williams Lifetime. The Who's set only features one of their singles (and it's "I Can See For Miles") but includes the second side off of "Live At Leeds". And "Bucket T" and "Smash The Mirror". Ha!
And then there's volume 7: Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention. Maybe my opinion is shaped by the fact that this was my second Zappa album ("Lumpy Gravy" was first), given to me by my father when I was 15, but this really is a fabulous journey through the Mothers' Verve years.
A: Help I’m A Rock • I’m Not Satisfied • Motherly Love • Plastic People • The Idiot Bastard Son
B: Brown Shoes Don’t Make It • The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny • Anything • You Didn’t Try To Call Me
C: Duke Of Prunes • Hungry Freaks Daddy • Uncle Bernie’s Farm • Who Are The Brain Police • Who Needs The Peace Corps • Absolutely Free 3:26
D: Status Back Baby • Invocation & Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin • Go Cry On Somebody Else’s Shoulder • Flower Punk • America Drinks & Goes Home
Better than "Mothermania", and the fourth side especially is 20 minutes of pure bliss.
(If you don't already have all the tracks on yer phone or whatever, listen to a stream of the whole wondrous thing: http://www.mixcloud.com/fatimaXberg/pop-history-vol-7/
A list of the Pop History series is here: http://chickswithdisks.wordpress.com/the-pop-history-series/