Along with the Shirelles and the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las were among the greatest girl groups; if judged solely on the basis of attitude, they were the greatest of them all. They combined an innocent adolescent charm with more than a hint of darkness, singing about dead bikers, teenage runaways, and doomed love affairs as well as ebullient high-school crushes. These could be delivered with either infectious, handclapping harmonies or melodramatic, almost operatic recitatives that were contrived but utterly effective.
The surprising thing about K-Tel's staggering ten-disc box set burdened with the title Ultimate History of Rock & Roll is that it actually approaches delivering on its huge promise. Of course, a collection of this sort of any size is immediately sunk by lacking the presence of Elvis Presley or virtually any British act (only the Troggs and Tornadoes leap to mind). The focus here is on early rock & roll and rockabilly (Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, Duane Eddy), the girl groups (the Angels, the Shirelles, the Shangri-Las, Lesley Gore, the Dixie Cups, the Chiffons) and an almost overwhelming concentration on the R&B side of rock (the Coasters, the Drifters, the Platters, the Del-Vikings, Ben E. King, the Clovers, the Duprees, the Olympics, the Penguins). Also well-represented is the increasingly white-bread '60s pop/rock artists: the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Ventures, and the Association. For fans of the above types of music, Ultimate History of Rock & Roll is an immensely rewarding set which delivers with all the best tracks from the biggest artists. Just don't expect to find "Heartbreak Hotel" or "Can't Buy Me Love."
The Beat Goes On is the second album by the American psychedelic rock band Vanilla Fudge, released in early 1968. The album doesn't contain any real "songs", but rather a sound collage featuring many different elements: the voices of world leaders past and present, the band reciting pre-written mantras and reflections, and excerpts of songs (done "Vanilla Fudge style") by The Beatles and Sonny Bono. While not as successful as their debut album, The Beat Goes On was a moderate hit despite the band's reservations, peaking at #17 on the Billboard album charts in March 1968.