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The Very Best Of

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Album Review

Considering that a two-CD, 54-song Bachelors compilation, The Decca Years: 1962-1972, was released just a year before this, the 12-song running time on this anthology might seem a bit cheap. On the other hand, it could be argued that 12 songs are enough to get the gist of this minor band, sometimes thought of as a British Invasion act although there were far more country and Tin Pan Alley pop vocal components to their sound than there were rock ones. This CD has most of their 1960s British hits, among them their handful of American Top 40 entries: "Diane," "Marie," "In the Chapel in the Moonlight," "No Arms Could Ever Hold You (Like These Arms of Mine)," and "Love Me With All of Your Heart (Cuando Caliente el Sol)." Fellow British Invader Ian Whitcomb's liner notes are useful in their details of sources for some of the songs, revealing that several of them dated from way before the rock era; both "Diane" and "Marie" (by far their best-known American hits), for example, were written for movies in the late '20s. The Bachelors' sound has not dated well, with its corny country-pop harmonies and arrangements of sentimental pop material. But this disc is a good representation of their most commercial moments, also including their notorious clean-cut 1966 cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence," which actually became the hit in Britain rather than the original version, to Paul Simon's displeasure.


Formed: 1959 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Bachelors were an Irish pop band of the 1960s consisting of brothers Conleth (b.March 3, 1941) and Declan Clusky (b. December 12, 1942) and John Stokes (b. August 13, 1940). They began as an instrumental act playing harmonicas and called the Harmonichords or Harmony Chords in 1958, but turned to singing after a tour of England in 1959. They signed to Decca Records in the U.K. and changed their name in 1962, then scored their first hit, "Charmaine" (number six, 1963). Their biggest hit was "Diane"...
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