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CD Albums by Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers

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January 19, 1990|ROBERT HILBURN | TIMES POP MUSIC CRITIC

The eight artists or groups who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Wednesday in New York City are featured on 74 albums that are available in compact disc, according to the December issue of the Schwann CD catalogue.

But there's a catch: 62 of the albums are devoted to just five of the artists--the Four Tops (15), the Kinks (16), Simon and Garfunkel (8), Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons (7) and the Who (16).

That leaves just five albums each for Bobby Darin and the Platters and only two for Hank Ballard.

To make it worse for anyone trying to collect recordings by the inductees, the best Platters and Ballard CDs are extremely hard to find.

Only one of a dozen record stores checked this week had the key Ballard CD ("What You Get When the Gettin' Gets Good") and none had a copy of the Platters' "Golden Hits" in stock. Here's a guide to the best introductions to the new Hall of Fame members:

Hank Ballard--"What You Get When the Gettin' Gets Good" (Charly R&B Records)--Ballard may be best known today as composer of "The Twist," but his reputation in the '50s was built on a series of R&B hits highlighted by the truly scandalous "Work With Me Annie" and "Sexy Ways." Bobby Darin--The Ultimate Bobby Darin" (Warner Special Products)--The Darin entry in Capitol's "Collector's Series" has some noteworthy material, but this 17-song package--drawn from his excellent Atco recordings from the late '50s and early '60s--showcases why he was inducted. Includes "Mack the Knife" and "Dream Lover."

The Four Seasons--"Anthology" (Rhino)--There's a more ambitious, 50-song Rhino box titled "25th Anniversary Collection" also available, but this package should satisfy most fans. The material runs from "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" in 1962 to "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night") in 1975.

The Four Tops--"Anthology" (Motown)--The two-disc set has 41 songs, including such Top 10 singles as "I Can't Help Myself" and "It's the Same Old Song."

The Kinks--"Greatest Hits" (Rhino)--Even though 16 Kinks albums are in CD, some of the band's most distinguished collections (including "Arthur" and "Village Green . . . ") are still not availble in CD. These 18 songs, first released in the mid '60s by Reprise Records, range from "You Really Got Me" to "Dedicated Follower of Fashion."

The Platters--"Golden Hits" (Mercury)--"Only You" remains the L.A. vocal group's signature song, but it wasn't one of the Platters' four No. 1 singles. The latter included "The Great Pretender" and "My Prayer."

Simon & Garfunkel's "Greatest Hits" (Columbia)--Among the titles in this remarkable 14-song package: "Mrs. Robinson," "The Boxer" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." In recognition of the Hall of Fame induction, CBS is releasing this week a three-disc set that includes all five of the duo's studio albums.

The Who's "Who's Better, Who's Best" (MCA)--Lots of "greatest hits" alternatives available on this landmark band, but this 19-song album ("My Generation" to "Baba O'Riley") offers the best overview.

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