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Capitol Celebrates 60 Years With Box Set

From the old-time Tin Pan Alley songs of Johnny Mercer to the modern sound of Radiohead, Capitol Records has released enough albums by heavyweight artists to have earned my “Keepin’ it Real” award for outstanding achievement in bringing honest-to-God talent to the forefront of the global music scene. Don’t believe it? Well my friends, my proof manifested on store shelves yesterday in the form of a six-CD box set chronicling Capitol’s history and commemorating the label’s 60th anniversary.
Capitol Records: 1942-2002 collects 96 of the label’s hits in digitally remastered form, including tunes by the fine jazz artists that helped establish the label like Stan Kenton, Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee. The set continues through all the bands that eventually stole jazz’s spotlight (the Beatles, the Beach Boys, et. al) on up to current Capitol torch-bearers like pop tart Kylie Minogue and retro-rockers the Vines. Yessir, there are a heck of a lot of different types of music represented on these six discs. Isn’t it great that Capitol hired a fine crew of music experts to scribe essays for the accompanying booklet, helping us all connect the dots from Jo Stafford to Garth Brooks? Nat Hentoff covers the ’40s, Alan Light the ’50s, Anthony DeCurtis the ’60s, Ashley Kahn the ’70s, Charles M. Young the ’80s and David Fricke the ’90s.

There are in fact two different versions of the set available: Special and Deluxe. The Deluxe version comes in a box, ten inches square, that houses the CDs and a 144-page, clothbound coffee-table book full of photographs of the musicians represented on the discs. I can’t wait to rip that picture of Martha Tilton (pictured) right out of the book and pin it to my bedroom wall! The Special version doesn’t come in as fancy a box, and its photo book is only 72 pages long, but it still comes with extensive discography information like the Deluxe version does, and the CDs are the same. If you’re wondering what’s on those CDs, wonder no more:

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