So said the self-styled world’s oldest living teen-ager (now deceased) and erstwhile host of long-running music show American Bandstand on the back sleeve of this superb double album compilation. 20 Years of Rock n’ Roll‘s simple, but effective concept is to cherry-pick one or two stone classics from each year (from ’52 to ’72) and present them chronologically. There’s no Chuck/Beatles/Stones/Motown/ Elvis/Stooges, nor is this a Nuggest-style specialist excavation; this is a populist, US AM radio-friendly set featuring representative examples of the Rock style during the genre’s first two decades. See the track list for yourselves here if you don’t believe me.
20 Years formed the backbone of my record collection at a time when the music library was in single digits, only accumulated at a rate of one or two albums every 12 months and I was too young to know what “Electronically Reproduced For Stereo” meant. Music choice was not so freely available back in the day to tyrannize and overwhelm, so this album was a handy, perfectly-judged godsend; truly, a happy education.
I still like every single song here and listen to the record every couple of years. Thanks, Dick.
Also included in the package (which I thrifted from Mount Vernon, Ohio’s Goodwill store over three and a half decades ago for 50 cents), is a 12cm x 12cm cardboard flexi-disc of Dick’s “off-the-cuff” showbizzy reminiscences called “Inside Stories”. As if. It is, unsurprisingly, too cheesy by half and there’s something unsettling about the hole in the middle of Clark’s forehead.