Born Arthur Andrew Kelm on July 11, 1931, but taking his mother's maiden name Gelien after his parent's divorce, he was given the stage name Tab Hunter by his first agent when he began making the first of his 40 films. Like fellow-actor contemporaries Sal Mineo and Anthony (Tony) Perkins, he was pressed into the music business by studio bosses anxious to cash in on the "heart-throb" craze sweeping the nation in the late 1950s, and from early 1957 to 1959 he chalked up 7 nationally-charting singles for Dot Records and Warner Brothers.
His first was his best, the January-March # 1 Billboard Pop Top 100 Young Love, edging out the Sonny James version (which also hit # 1) by remaining at that position for six weeks, as opposed to one week for James. Te Hunter version also scored at # 8 R&B while Sonny saw his go to # 1 Country (where it stayed for 9 weeks) AND # 3 R&B. The Hunter flipside of Dot 15533, Red Sails In The Sunset, also charted at # 57 Top 100. The follow-up Ninety-Nine Ways peaked at # 11 Top 100 in April-May 1957 b/w a cover of Duke Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore, which finished at # 74 on Dot 15548. All four sides were backed by the Billy Vaughn orchestra and are in this volume.
What this does not include are his next two releases at Dot in 1957/58 before moving over to Warner Brothers: Don't Let It Get Around/I'm Alone Because I Love You (Dot 15657 in 1957) and It's All Over Town/I'm A Runaway (Dot 15767 in 1958). Instead, it picks up his recording career with his first release at Warner, Jealous Heart which, with the backing of the Marty Wilson orchestra, stalled at # 62 Top 100 in November 1958 on Warner 5008 (the flipside, Lonesome Road, is omitted).
After a total flop (My Baby Just Cares For Me/Candy - both sides included) on Warner 5021, he returned to the Top 40 with his rendition of the old standard I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time which topped out at # 31 Hot 100 in February-March 1959 on Warner 5032 b/w (What Can I Give) My Only Love? - also omitted here. Those were backed by the Don Ralke orchestra, as were both sides of his final hit, the May 1959 # 68 Hot 100 There's No Fool Like A Young Fool b/w I'll Never Smile Again (which is included) on Warner 5051.
Moonlight Bay (track 8) was one side of the failed single Warner 5123 in 1959 (the flip, You're Gonna Change (Or I'm Gonna Leave) is omitted), while Again (track 12) was one side of the failed single Warner 5160 in 1960 (the B-side, Love Is Just Around The Corner, is omitted). Tracks 9 and 10 are from the 1958 Warner Bros LP W-1221 "Tab Hunter," track 15 from the 1959 Warner Bros LP W/WS-1292 "When I Fall In Love," and tracks 16 and 17 from the 1960 Warner Bros LP W/WS-1367 "R.F.D. Tab Hunter."
The sound reproduction quality is excellent and it comes with informative liner notes written by Greg Adams. Unfortunately, it frustrates completist hits collectors by leaving out those two B-sides of nationally-charting singles in favour of failed singles and album cuts. Since the last 10 tracks were "chosen by his fans in a poll" how hard would it have been for Eric to extend the volume to 20 tracks?
If you're interested, his other singles are listed in the Comments below.