Reviewers referred to them variously as "rockaballads, "ballads with a beat" or "teen ballads" and for a generation of kids growing up in the rock'n'roll era they formed the soundtrack for the emotional turmoil of adolescence, evoking the angst (if not the joy) of those innocent times more faithfully than any number of frantic rockers.
Initially, we had intended to focus on the solo teen idols of the day, as they were the performers most closely associated with the teen ballad. Then we realised that this was a mistaken assumption on the part of posterity and widened our range to give a truer reflection of "the way it was" without disturbing the initial concept.
The first volume of TEENAGE CRUSH (CDCHD 640) containing 28 teen classics from the 50s and early 60s proved so popular that it has evolved into a new series, effectively creating the perfect foil to the more muscular sounds of "The Golden Age" series. This sequel contains a further 28 Hot 100 hits (including five US #1's) all beautifully mastered from primary sources. Among the lesser known titles are the Castells' infectious So This Is Love (easily the equal of their first hit Sacred which can be heard on Golden Age Vol 3 - CDCHD 497), Connie Stevens' gorgeous Sixteen Reasons, a major hit not often compiled on CD and the extraordinary I've Come Of Age by Billy Storm whose exceptional vocal range is displayed to devastating effect on this 1959 hit, making its CD debut here. Storm, who sadly never fulfilled his potential, can also be heard in full doo-wop/rock'n'roll mode with The Valiants on Golden Age Vol 5 (CDCHD 600) and Rockin' From Coast To Coast (CDCHD 496).
Also hard-to-find on CD is Tony Bellus' catchy Robbin' The Cradle which belied its relatively modest chart placing by remaining on the Hot 100 for 26 weeks - far longer than most #1s! The set closes with Percy Faith's million selling Theme From "A Summer Place", an instrumental which evokes misty-eyed memories of the period, the moment it begins.
By Rob Finnis