Music Review: ‘The Roots of British Rock’

The Roots of British Rock

An unjustly ignored side street in musical history gets its due in this fascinating companion to Sire Records’ History of British Rock series. Included: Lonnie Donegan’s “Rock Island Line” and “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?,” the song that started England’s skiffle craze and his biggest U.S. hit, respectively; “Tribute to Buddy Holly,” a haunting Mike Berry tune produced by Holly fanatic and famed producer Joe Meek; the Shadows’ “Apache” and the Tornadoes’ “Telstar,” a pair of unforgettable instrumental hits; “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” by the Springfields, the group that launched Dusty Springfield; “Move It” and “Living Doll,” both from the legendary Cliff Richard; and 20 other tunes by such artists as Chris Barber, the Caravelles, Joe Brown, Frank Ifield, and Billy Fury. The bonus: Greg Shaw’s extensive liner notes, which successfully convey the importance of this music.

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