London Recordings, with all her lofty divisions, offered a red, white and blue window into the mid-60s English Assault, and was home to some pretty significant acts producing some pretty extraordinary cuts. Their mainstay, and supplier of the label’s flowing honey, were, as you’ve probably guessed, the Rolling Stones, but what I didn’t recognize until earlier today was how many other British Invasion favorites, or in this case Teen Beat favorites, also strolled under the London Recordings umbrella. Unit 4+2, the Moody Blues, the Zombies, and Them all saw early offerings on London, or one of her sisters, and in such a short amount of time, helped propel this label into the upper, heavily coveted realms of rock n’ roll history.
Arguably the best 30 track compilation featuring the monstrously influential British Invasion ever to be pressed to wax, this 1981 collaboration between Warner Special Products and Lake Shore Music marries the pinnacle of head-spinning talent that the Queen of England’s own had to offer… up to and including the 1961 single, My Bonnie, featuring Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. The Beat Brothers, as you know, would eventually change their name to The Beatles… the band name this track is credited to on this compilation.
I’m not going to bore you with the A-1 list of exceptional talent highlighted here (The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Unit 4+2, Donovan, Manfred Mann, The Zombies, Them, Chad & Jeremy, The Beatles, The Spencer Davis Group…), but I will (briefly) mention that someone off Discogs offered to buy my copy of British Sterling, which I appropriately, and respectfully declined. One of these days I’m going to gather enough motivation to digitize this double LP, but until that (dreadfully long and labor intensive) day, two flips for 30 tracks suits me just fine.
Although I don’t consider A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum a pivotal part of the British Invasion, there is something striking about the 1-2 punch of Procol’s Shade followed by Tell Her No by The Zombies. Somebody knew what the hell he or she was doing when they made this compilation. To whomever that is… (raises Sun Records coffee mug) I salute you!