As compilations go this is up there with the best. 28 tracks of the Beach Boys at the top of their form (or close to the top, anyway). And at the price this is great value. It's easy to forget just how important the Beach Boys were to the progression of popular music in the 1960s. Brian Wilson used to watch what the Beatles were doing and try to match them on the artistic level. The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' was born of this rivalry and Paul McCartney regarded it as one of the greatest popular-music albums ever made. It spurred the Beatles to complete 'Revolver' and then make 'Sgt Pepper'. Brian Wilson was the Beach Boys' creative genius and when he broke down they lost their leadership position. However they left a huge repertoire of major hits, many of which are captured on this compilation. Some of the most finely crafted pop-music recordings ever made are here. Pete Doggett has written a paragraph in the accompanying booklet giving a little background to each of the tracks, which makes for interesting reading.
In a musical career that has spanned seven decades, Quincy Jones has earned his reputation as a renaissance man of American music. Jones has distinguished himself as a bandleader, a solo artist, a sideman, a songwriter, a producer, an arranger, a film composer, and a record label executive, and outside of music, he's also written books, produced major motion pictures, and helped create television series. And a quick look at a few of the artists Jones has worked with suggests the remarkable diversity of his career – Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Lesley Gore, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin…
Robert Baden-Powell's handbook Scouting for Boys, written in 1908, may be largely forgotten today but it is one of the most influential and best-selling books of all time. In the 20th century, only the Bible, the Koran and the Thoughts of Chairman Mao sold more. But they had fewer jokes, no pictures and were useless at important stuff like tying knots. In this entertaining and affectionate film, Ian Hislop uncovers the story behind the book which kick-started the Scout Movement - a work which is very eccentric, very Edwardian and very British. Ian discovers that the book is actually very radical and addresses all sorts of issues that we think of as modern, such as citizenship, disaffected youth and social responsibility. He explores the maverick brilliance of Baden-Powell, a national celebrity after his heroism in the Boer War, and considers the book's candid focus on health and wellbeing - from the importance of what Baden-Powell called a 'daily rear' to his infamous warning on the dangers of masturbation. Contributors include his grandson Lord Baden-Powell, minister for culture and former cub scout David Lammy, biographer Tim Jeal and Elleke Boehmer, editor of the re-issue of the original Scouting for Boys.
An overlooked gem is rediscovered. A 1985 LP that went largely unnoticed on its release, Willie and the Poor Boys was an exercise in nostalgia for Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and a bunch of his musical pals. The LP was put together by Wyman as a means of raising funds to help out The Faces founder Ronnie Lane, then suffering greatly from Multiple Sclerosis. A major benefit the A.R.M.S. Concert had been mounted in September 1983, and Willie and the Poor Boys was an outgrowth of that effort, employing many of the musicians involved in the original concert.