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4.6 out of 5 stars19
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 November 2012
Following the financial collapse of Top Rank in August 1960, the label was taken over by EMI who kept the label running until April 1962. During the EMI period the vast majority of the releases were from American labels - and EMI eventually neatly slid all these onto its new Stateside imprint from June '62. The 1961 double CD reissue is therefore the strongest for my tastes, with rarely seen tracks from Maurice Williams, The Jarmels, Dion and Gary US Bonds (with the rare School Is In). Top Rank's two UK biggies are here - Johnny Remember Me - and the original 'offensive' version of the Craig Douglas hit 'A Hundred Pounds Of Clay'. This was banned by the BBC and had to be rerecorded before gaining any airplay. A follow up CD for this period should be a natural, with plenty more from the catalogue - plus from the first 4 months of 1962. A couple of possible gems for the future might be The Back Beat Philharmonic 'R & R Symphony', and Danny & the Juniors 'Twistin' England'. This is a really well considered compilation.
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on 16 February 2016

The Rank Organisation was established in 1937 by J. Arthur Rank. At its height, in the Forties, the Rank Organization owned five film studios. By the late Fifties, Rank started record production. Rank Records Ltd. was founded and its label was known as Top Rank.

By 1961, the year of this compilation, the label, managed by Dick Rowe, assisted by Tony Hatch (who wrote Downtown for Petula Clark), had enjoyed two years’ worth of releases. The famous red-and-white record label incorporated the iconic ‘gong-man’ familiar to audiences from the Rank Organization’s many hundreds of films. The acts on the Top Rank label were an eclectic mixture of home-grown British talents, like Vince Eager, Bert Weedon, Craig Douglas, American doo-wop groups, solo singers, novelty acts and out-and–out rock ’n’ rollers. This compilation of 1961 includes the A sides mix of all these styles.

Top Rank label went bankrupt in 1962, and was bought by EMI, which started Stateside Record label for its American artists. This Top Rank Story has a companion set for 1960. I am planning to do a Garry Mills Singles Collection. Garry Mills sang Look For A Star in 1960 on Top Rank label. But unfortunately his single releases in 1961 on Top Rank were not included in this 1961 compilation.


Song listing (with label & number, chart position in UK and US):

Disc 1:
01 A Thousand Stars – Kathy Young & The Innocents (JAR 534)(UK uncharted, released January 1961)(US 3/1960)
02 Ginchy – Bert Weedon (JAR 537)(UK 35/1961)(UK guitarist – uncharted US)
03 Over And Over – Bobby Day (JAR 538)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)(US 41/1958)
04 Love My Life Away – Vince Eager (JAR 539)(UK vocalist, uncharted)
05 Will You Love Me Tomorrow – Shirelles (JAR 540)(UK 4/1961)(US 1/1961)
06 Gee Whiz – Innocents (JAR 541)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)(US 28/1960) backup vocal to Kathy Young from US *rare gem
07 The Girl Next Door – Craig Douglas (JAR 543)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)
08 What Am I Gonna Do – Jimmy Clanton (JAR 544)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)(US 50/1961)
09 Havin’ Fun – Dion (JAR 545)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)(US 42/1961)
10 Don’t Believe Him, Donna – Lenny Miles (JAR 546)(UK uncharted, released February 1961)(US 41/1960)*rare gem
11 Is There Something On Your Mind – Jack Scott (JAR 547)(UK uncharted, released March 1961)(US 89/1961)
12 Muskrat Ramble – Freddy Cannon (JAR 548)(UK 32/1961)(US 54/1961)
13 Dedicated To The One I Love – Shirelles (JAR 549)(UK uncharted, released April 1961)(US 3/1961)
14 I Remember – Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs (JAR 550)(UK uncharted, released March 1961)(US 86/1961)
15 Your Friends – Dee Clark (JAR 551)(UK uncharted, released March 1961)(US 34/1961)
16 Pony Express – Danny & The Juniors (JAR 552)(UK uncharted, released March 1961)(US 60/1961)
17 Baby Blue – Echoes (JAR 553)(UK uncharted, released April 1961)(US 12/1961)*rare gem
18 Happy Birthday Blues – Kathy Young & The Innocents (JAR 554)(UK uncharted, released April 1961)(US 30/1961)
19 A Hundred Pounds of Clay – Craig Douglas (JAR 555)(UK 9/1961) cover version
20 Like, Long Hair – Paul Revere & The Raiders (JAR 557)(UK uncharted, released April 1961)(US 38/1961)
21 Mr. Guitar – Bert Weedon (JAR 559)(UK 47/1961) UK guitarist
22 Little Lonely One – Jarmels (JAR 560)(UK uncharted, released April 1961)(US uncharted)
23 Bumble Boogie – B. Bumble & The Stingers (JAR 561)(UK uncharted, released May 1961)(US 21/1961)
24 Find Another Girl – Jerry Butler (JAR 562)(UK uncharted, released May 1961)(US 27/1961)
25 Come Along – Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs (JAR 563)(UK uncharted, released May 1961)(US 83/1961)

Disc 2:
01 I Don’t Want To Cry – Chuck Jackson (JAR 564)(UK uncharted, released May 1961)(US 36/1961)
02 Mama Said – Shirelles (JAR 567)(UK uncharted, released May 1961)(US 4/1961)
03 Buzz Buzz A-Diddle-It – Freddy Cannon (JAR 568)(UK uncharted, released June 1961)(US 51/1961)
04 Time – Craig Douglas (JAR 569)(UK 9/1961)
05 Raindrops – Dee Clark (JAR 570)(UK uncharted, released June 1961)(US 2/1961)
06 Count Every Star – Donny & The Dreamers (JAR 571)(UK uncharted, released June 1961)* rare gem cover of Linda Scott’s version
07 Those Oldies But Goodies – Nino & The Ebb Tides (JAR 572)(UK uncharted, released June 1961)* rare gem
08 Every Beat Of My Heart – Gladys Knight & The Pips (JAR 574)(UK uncharted, released 1961)(US 6/1961)
09 Quarter To Three – Gary (U.S.) Bonds (JAR 575)(UK 7/1961)(US 1/1961)
10 Johnny Remember Me – Johnny Leyton (JAR 577)(UK 1/1961) Johnny’s biggest hit
11 What A Sweet Thing That Was – Shirelles (JAR 578)(UK uncharted, released August 1961)(US 54/1961)
12 Transister Sister – Freddy Cannon (JAR 579)(UK uncharted, released August 1961)(US 35/1961)
13 A Little Bit Of Soap – Jarmels (JAR 580)(UK uncharted, released August 1961)(US 12/1961)
14 School Is Out – Gary (U.S.) Bonds (JAR 581)(UK uncharted, released September 1961)(US 5/1961)
15 Ghost Train – Bert Weedon (JAR 582)(UK uncharted, released September 1961)
16 You’re The Reason – Bobby Edwards (JAR 584)(UK uncharted, released September 1961) cover version of Bobby Darin’s
17 Wild Wind – Johnny Leyton (JAR 585)(UK 2/1961) Johnny’s 2nd biggest hit
18 Runaround Sue – Dion (JAR 586)(UK 11/1961)(US 1/1961)
19 Back To The Hop – Danny & The Juniors (JAR 587)(UK uncharted, released October 1961)(US 80/1961)
20 I Love How You Love Me – Paris Sisters (JAR 588)(UK uncharted, released October 1961)(US 5/1961)
21 Big John – Shirelles (JAR 590)(UK uncharted, released November 1961)(US 21/1961)
22 Stop Your Crying – Jerry Naylor (JAR 591)(UK uncharted, released November 1961)
23 For Me & My Gal – Freddy Cannon (JAR 592)(UK uncharted, released November 1961)(US 71/1961)
24 School Is In – Gary (U.S.) Bonds (JAR 595)(UK uncharted, released November 1961)(US 28/1961)
25 Turn Around, Look At Me – Glen Campbell (JAR 596)(UK uncharted, released December 1961)(US 62/1961)


The sound is clean and generally well remastered. I personally have purchased British Hit Parade 1960 and 1961, which contained every charted a side singles that entered the UK chart during those 2 years. I am glad to find that in this current The Top Rank Story, many rare songs have not charted, thus a welcome new addition to my library.

The label is One Day Music, a re-issue label from UK, also has over 100 similar releases on various record labels, such as The Pye International Story (2 CDs)(reviewed elsewhere), Rave On: the Coral Story (2 CDs) and Oh Boy: the Brunswick Story (2 CDs)…these are the popular labels (Pye, Coral and Brunswick) from the 60s.

This set is an enjoyable listening experience. But for collectors like myself, this set is like a goldmine with lots of rare gems. This set with such a cheap price is recommended.
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on 24 December 2012
This is a good follow up to the original record. It still has plenty going for it and complements the 1960 disc very well.
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on 26 February 2013
Some songs I knew and some I didn't but I enjoyed them all and the sound is excellent.
Craig Douglas should have been bigger than he was as he was/is a very good singer.
Chuck Jackson has also become a favourite of mine over the years and I have several of his cd's but back in 1961 he was unknown to me.
Great sounds and a great price! I will be buying the rest of this series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 December 2012
Question: Is this 2 disc compilation by 'One Day Music' disappointing? Answer: NO, on the contrary it's a FANTASTIC compilation of 'Top Rank' A sides from 1961 (covering JAR 534 to JAR 596). Disc 1 runs 59.06mins and Disc 2 59.25. So nearly 2 hours of superb music all for under a £5.

Yes, there are a few niggles:
1. If we are being pedantic 'A Hundred Pounds of Clay' by Craig Douglas is the amended version and not the original banned version.
2. If we are being extra pedantic 'Raindrops' by Dee Clark is a different version also.
3. If we are being extra super pedantic 'Turn around, look at me' by Glen Campbell is not the original Crest Records version (which is far superior - Crest 1087).

In my opinion, these niggles don't matter one jot because the music - original versions or not is fantastic, by some fantastic top notch artists - some of my favourites are 'Little lonely one' by the Jarmels and 'Stop your crying' by Jerry Naylor. This compilation has great sound quality, something that other pedantic reviewers have omitted to say. This is the best of the three compilations of 'Top Rank' records released to date by One Day Music. Highly Recommended. Great value for money. Looking forward to the last instalment - Jan to April 1962.
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on 16 April 2013
This is a great series of classic tracks from this great record label. The series is well produced and includes so many well known and slighlty less well known titles. Shall look out for other labels in this series.
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on 22 February 2013
I have one or two tracks on this and the sister albums covering the years of 1959 & 1960 respectively but there are so many that I missed and, of course, its quite handy having them all packaged together on two Cds.
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on 9 June 2013
I bought this product for my father, he seems very satisfied with itt and thats the most I can say about it.
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on 10 August 2012
Another great collection from one day music,they really are putting out some great stuff
At least half of these tracks are new to me.Imust have missed them first time round.The best track for me is the wonderfull glen campbell track turn around.honestly there is not aduff track.So if like me you like early 60,s this is agreat many rare tracks.Cant wait for the 1962 releases from this company ENJOY
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on 17 July 2014
A very good collection of oldies, which is good to reminisce with. Good value for money.
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