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4.6 out of 5 stars34
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2013
Being a Dutch music lover I love "strolling" through the old British Hitparades when instrumentals were still popular and a lot of covers were released, also discovering songs I never heard before. Well Fantastic Voyage just released the year 1962. Once again the sound quality is very good and the liner notes of Stuart Colman are delicious! Last year I switched from the Acrobat to the Fantastic Voyage releases because I prefer pressed CDs instead of CD-R burning, taking the exotic cardboard box of the set for granted. For two years they tried to make a difference with a very unpractical housing. And now they changed the box again, radically. This time it is almost perfect! The height is still the same, but the box is very flat and the booklet with the liner notes has the right size for eyes that are not that young anymore. Only one small thing to make it perfect is missing, the title of the set on the spine. After all this is a booktype format and standing or lying in the shelf it is hard to detect a particular set. That should be no problem. Maybe next year?
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on 13 January 2013
I've listened to the entire collection (Volume 1-1962) and am happy to say
the sound is great, the liner notes are great and the new packaging which
saves space is also great. There is only one problem here: each CD needs
to be placed in a poly sleeve before being placed in its slot in the pack.
It is almost impossible to remove and return CDs to their slots without
consistently scuffing the discs. I don't know how many scuffs discs can take
before it affects play.

Also thanks to other reviews I now know that the 2 different formats are
actually different productions (Acrobat vs Fantastic Voyage). Until now
I'd thought the same company was producing them in 2 formats so those
interested could buy the 4 CD sets/picture covers or the long boxes...thanks)
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on 26 January 2013
OK so let's put this album into perspective. If you download it, it costs less than 6p per tune. I put this in before all the purist record collectors come on and pull it apart track by track. On a couple of tracks, the remastering has created strange effects. Certainly effects that are not on my original mono singles. I am also not convinced that every track is the original single release. A couple of the tracks sound as if they were copied from a Dansette onto a tape recorder (remember doing that!) But as I said, for 6p a tune what the heck!

This album is a fantastic trip down memory. I have gone for the download, previous years I have purchased the box sets which are beautifully presented. Buy it, in whatever format, and enjoy it for what it is.

I was worried that that the Cliffs Law change to copyright might stop these sets being published, I hope not as I really am looking forward to 1963-1967, and I don't want to wait another 20 years to hear them.
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on 5 February 2013
The selection of tracks on this set and the quality of the recordings is very good. Another reviewer remarked about lesser known tracks that didn't actually enter the British charts, I have no objection to this as I have all the well known ones and this set allows me to fill in tracks I don't already have. I thought the packaging on the 1960 and 1961 series was poor but this is worse, the CDs just slip into slots inside the covers, not good. Why can't they use jewel cases. I have a couple of thousand CDs and this set will not fit onto the shelves and have to be stored elsewhere. It's because of this I have given it 4 stars instead of 5.

Forget to mention before but this set of 5 discs (Part 1) does not have CD texting on them. Very annoying if converting to MP3 as you have to key in the track details.
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on 6 January 2013
After 1962, musically things would never be the same. The Beatles were about to enter the charts and many of the established acts were about to be swept away. Trad jazz with Kenny Ball, Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Terry Lightfoot would soon join the cabaret circuit and although they would have hits, acts such as Matt Munro and Crag Douglas could see the writing on the wall. Cliff and The Shads would buck the trend and in the first six months of '62 had a couple of their greatest hits. The Shads would never really be toppled as a twangy guitar group but The Fentones' 'The Mexican' is every bit as good as anything Shadowy. The Spotniks would come on Thank your Lucky Stars in their Astronaut outfits but never really bothered the charts much after this year. We were also seeing a post army Elvis, his films at first, good, issuing hits from Blue Hawaii and this would be a formula that would last for a few years. Joe Brown continued to blossom and would have a string of hits for the next couple of years as would Roy Orbison. The Twist as a dance craze had many records released and one of the best of this genre was Sam Cooke's Twisting The Night Away, a highlight of this package. Comedy records by Mike Sarne and Bernard Cribbins were passable but again would soon be seen as passe. The late Buddy Holly had a hit in the first six months and his influence would be seen shortly with tracks by The Beatles and The Stones. All in all, a well mastered (with one exception, I'll let you find that one out) set and as good value as you're ever going to get. The next six months would start to change music history and if an era had to come to an end then the majority of tracks on offer, do it justice. Well recommended.
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on 26 January 2013
OK so let's put this album into perspective. If you download it comes at less than 6p per track. I put this in before all the purist record collectors come on and pull it apart track by track. On a couple of tracks, the remastering has created strange effects. Certainly effects that are not on my original mono singles. I am also not convinced that every track is the original single release. A couple of the tracks sound as if they were copied from a Dansette onto a tape recorder (remember doing that!) But as I said, for 6p a tune what the heck!

This album is a fantastic trip down memory. I have gone for the download, previous years I have purchased the box sets which are beautifully presented. Buy it, in whatever format, and enjoy it for what it is.

I was worried that that the Cliffs Law change to copyright might stop these annual sets being published, I hope not as I really am looking forward to the years 1963-1967, and I don't want to wait another 20 years to hear them.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 February 2013
(Sadly) this is the highlight of my year which means that from the first week of January, I've nothing to look forward to except NEXT January! Having bought all the previous releases from this company, I was pleased to reach 1962 which had so many memorable (for me at least) songs. This was the year of the Beatles and strangely enough, a lot of the records that people attribute to the Beatles influence were hits before the Fab Four had a hit with Love Me Do. That just shows how the memory cheats though.
This is a great collection with parts 1 and 2 containing over 300 songs. You'll find songs that you love, songs that you don't love, songs that were good at the time but are embarrasing now, songs that tell the story of your life and songs tell the story of how you wish your life had been. Can't wait for 1963, a winter that lasted from Boxing Day until March, Doctor Who starting in November and a great year of music sandwiched in between. Great stuff from Fantastic Voyage.
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on 20 February 2016
HISTORY:

Fantastic Voyage label in UK has been releasing British Hit Parade series, from 1954 to 1961 (A-side), containing every single (a-side) that entered the British Hit Parade for each year. And I mean every single, arranged chronologically, each with a comprehensive booklet detailing each song and artist. This is indeed a collector’s dream come true. Being a collector and completist myself, I have purchased every box set that has been released, and totally very happy with all the rare music. There are many many singles that you can only find in this series…truly amazing series.

Starting 1960, the packaging started to change. There are two varieties: 1) two long case box sets, and 2) 3 sets of CD case size. The former is usually more economical. In 1960 and 1961 (long case box set), the 6 CDs in each set were housed in their own cardboard cases. The whole box was quite bulky. In 1962, this current set is a slim long case set, with 5 CDs housed on two pages, no individual cardboard case. You can also buy the above series with 3 sets for 4 CDs each (currently only available on Amazon.co.uk), but the final cost is higher.

The following review is based on the long case set, Part 1 (January – June). Part 2 (July – December) review is found elsewhere.

CONTENT:

In Part 1 of this series (January - June 1962), there are 5 CDs, with a total of 151 songs!! The songs are arranged chronologically according to their entries into the UK Singles Chart. The sound is very good, considering the age of the recordings. Good job!

Since there are 151 songs, it is not possible to write out a song listing, because the review becomes too long. But I can reassure you that there are many rare gems found in this set.
For example, from this set and previous series, one can get the rare original versions of songs by the Spotnicks. In this set, the rare, exciting and vibrant original version of “Orange Blossom Special” is featured. In most commercially available CDs on the Spotnicks, re-recorded versions are used. Also in this set, you can also get the UK’s answer to US’s versions: “Norman” (Carol Deene; US’s version by Sue Thompson); “Little Bitty Tear” (Miki & Griff; US’s version by Burl Ives); “The Wonderful World Of The Young” (Danny Williams; US’s version by Andy Williams); “Johnny Angel” (Patti Lynn; US’s version by Shelley Fabares); “Wimoweh” (Karl Denver; US’s version by The Tokens).

The 32-page booklet is also exceptional. The size is much bigger – now the long case size. The choice of contrasting colours makes the letters stand out, plus the size of the letters is also bigger (great for older folks like myself). There is a wealth of detailed information about each song. An exceptional effort!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

For completist like myself, this set is a dream come true. Because of the 50 year rule about royalty, this type of release is done only once a year. Wait, there is more good news. I have also received the British Hit Parade 1962: B-sides, (available at this time only through Amazon.co.uk) consisting of 3 sets of 4 CD each, with a total of 281 songs. In the A-sides series, the entire set has 291 songs. Why the discrepancies…it was explained in the booklet that there are many songs with Double A-sides. When I am collecting songs for an artist, the b-sides are the most challenging aspect to find. I just received the 3 sets of b-sides for 1962, and I am going to update the missing b-sides in my Billboard book.

Next to the Bear Family box sets, this British Hit Parade series is the next most sort-after box sets. I may not know all the songs, but listening to the set is an entirely enjoyable experience, bringing back many happy memories of days gone by. This set is of course very highly recommended, especially for collectors. It is pure gold.
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on 20 April 2013
This would have had 5 stars but for the packaging. Having issued 4 box sets previously, I would have preferred Fantastic Voyage to have continued in the same vein and like other reviewers, I don't like having CD's not in their own cases, cardboard or plastic. Nevertheless, none of the above would ever deter me from buying such a nostalgic package.

Following these year by year releases shows how the music was slowly developing, but what a contrast the British charts were in 1962 to those in the USA. As shown by this package, it's pretty obvious that British record companies were clinging on to the popularity of variety and music hall music. These tracks are what releases they were obviously promoting. If I hadn't tuned in to American Forces Network,I would not have been aware of what great music there was out there. Apart from the obvious artists, like Del Shannon, Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers etc my listening experience would have been so dull if I had only listened to these records contained in this package. It makes me feel quite angry really to think of how we in Britain were starved of good music but hey! 1963 was around the corner and better things were on the way.

So, as you can probably tell, I buy these releases for the nostalgia and not necessarily for the quality of the music contained. I'm not altogether a Beatles fan but listening to what was in the charts in 1962, we owe them a great debt for shaking up the British music business.

Buy this and share the pain!
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on 7 January 2013
I have started to listen to this great series and so far the recordings are excellent as in previous years. However the new packaging is a big let down compared to 1960 and 1961. This year it is done for cheapness with no separate covers for each CD as in previous years. In addition they are not contained in a good quality cardboard box as in previous years. So good recordings but shame about the new shoddy presentation which means one star is deducted.
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