Saturday, April 19, 2014

Late Night Listening: The Association Greatest Hits

One one level, I've thought of Greatest Hits albums as a form of cheating. I figure that artists put a lot of time into preparing individual albums, creating a musical entity that should be allowed to stand on its own. As a result, I generally buy individual albums and enjoy the hits interspersed with the other songs produced at the same time.

So yes, I do own every individual Association album. But I still have a copy of The Association Greatest Hits (the absence of an apostrophe and an s at the end of Association is their titling, not my error), because it was my first exposure to the Association back in 1969. Susan had this album and liked it a lot; she recommended it to me, and I picked it up without really knowing the group or its music much at all.  Somehow, I had only heard an occasional song from them on the radio, because I really didn't listen to radio very much in the 1965-1969 time period, so songs like "Never My Love" and "Cherish" and "Requiem for the Masses" were all new to me. I was hooked immediately. I love harmonies, and there are harmonies galore on this album, along with great melodies and strong instrumentation.

In the decades since, the Association have become sort of a "parents' band," an easy-listening sort of 1960s group. But at the time they were recording, they were bold and innovative. Most of all, they were energetic and sincere; even with lyrics that might seem a bit simple and sappy, such as those of "Never My Love," they convince you that they really mean every word.

So this remains one of the half-dozen or so Greatest Hits albums that are on my frequent-play list. And this album is so burned into my memory that to this day, when I listen to the actual albums the various songs came from, I find myself confused for a split second when one of their hits isn't followed up by another one of their hits...

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