Time-Life compilation CDs

For compilation-o-philes, the Time-Life collections are the Holy Grail. The licensing muscle of Time-Life has more pull than any other collections, anywhere, at any price. I've listed the entries to the following series:

I've provided scans of the back covers of what I have. They're in print-worthy PDF format. (The '70s series is scanned in black and white at 300 dpi and also includes the CD artwork and track credits. All others are just the back covers.)


Sounds Of The Seventies

The "Sounds Of The Seventies" collections are the largest and best-sounding '70s collections I've ever run across, anywhere, ever. Very few tracks are mastered from vinyl, and you even get Bee Gees cuts! Needless to say, you should buy any of these if they turn up used; most are out of print (dang!). There are 48 CDs in this series, and they're all shown below. (You can use this as a checklist - it's complete.) The scans are all 300 dpi black and white pdf files, suitable for printing.

  1. 1970 (released 1989)
  2. 1971 (1989)
  3. 1972 (1989)
  4. 1976 (1989)
  5. 1977 original and rerelease (1990)

    The original pressings of this CD had Abba's "Dancing Queen" as track 2. Later pressings replaced it with Earth Wind and Fire's "Serpentine Fire". Both pressings have identical serial numbers and the only significant difference in artwork is that the "1977" watermark on the rear cover (not shown in my b/w scans, unfortunately) is tilted for the original release, and horizontal for the rerelease.

  6. 1973 (1990)
  7. 1974 (1990)
  8. 1975 (1990)
  9. 1979 (1990)
  10. 1978 (1990)
  11. 1970: Take Two (1990)
  12. 1971: Take Two (1990)
  13. 1972: Take Two (1991)
  14. 1973: Take Two (1991)
  15. 1974: Take Two (1991)
  16. 1975: Take Two (1991)
  17. 1977: Take Two (1991)
  18. 1976: Take Two (1991)
  19. 1979: Take Two (1991)
  20. 1978: Take Two (1991)
  21. Rock 'N' Soul Seventies (1991)
  22. Seventies Top Forty (1992)
  23. Guitar Power (1992)
  24. FM Rock (1992)
  25. Seventies Generation (1992)
  26. FM Rock II (1992)
  27. Dance Fever (1992)
  28. FM Rock III (1992)
  29. FM Rock IV (1993)
  30. Punk And New Wave (1993)
  31. AM Top Twenty (1993)
  32. AM Pop Classics (1993)
  33. AM Pop Classics II (1993)
  34. The Late '70s (1993)
  35. AM Nuggets (1993)
  36. More AM Nuggets (1994)
  37. AM Heavy Hits (1994)
  38. Celebration (1994)
  39. Pop Nuggets: Late '70s (1995)
  40. TV Themes (1996)
  41. Pop Nuggets: Early '70s (1996)
  42. A Loss For Words (1995)
  43. '70s Dance Party 1972-1974 (1997)
  44. '70s Dance Party 1975-1976 (1997)
  45. '70s Dance Party 1976-1977 (1997)
  46. '70s Dance Party 1978-1979 (1997)
  47. '70s Dance Party 1979-1981 (1997)
  48. '70s Dance Party 1979 (1990)

For those who like to quibble:

Sounds Of The Eighties

It's straight up-the-middle pop. On the whole, they're excellent, but there are some oddities, like the last note being cut off from The Power Station's "Some Like It Hot", and inclusion of the too-long album version of "Freeway Of Love". All single CDs. Some of the levels are inconsistent, track-to-track. Vols. 14, 17, 18, 20, 22 and 23 are mastered by Dennis Drake. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R988-xx.

  1. The Rockin' Eighties (released 1994)
  2. 1985 (1994)
  3. 1983 (1994)
  4. 1986 (1994)
  5. 1982 (1994)
  6. 1984 (1994)
  7. 1980 (1995)
  8. 1981 (1995)
  9. 1987 (1995)
  10. 1988 (1995)
  11. 1983-1984 (1995)
  12. 1985-1986 (1995)
  13. 1989 (1995)
  14. 1980-1982 (1995)
  15. The Mid-'80s (1996)
  16. The Early '80s (1996)
  17. The Mid-'80s: Take Two (1996)
  18. The Early '80s: Take Two (1996)
  19. The Late '80s (1996)
  20. The Late '80s: Take Two (1996)
  21. 1986-1989 (1997)
  22. 1980-1983 (1997)
  23. 1984-1985 (1997)
  24. Everything '80s (2002)
  25. The Rolling Stone Collection 1980-1981 (1995)
  26. The Rolling Stone Collection 1982-1983 (1995)
  27. The Rolling Stone Collection 1983-1985 (1995)
  28. The Rolling Stone Collection 1986-1987 (1995)
  29. The Rolling Stone Collection 1987-1988 (1995)
  30. The Rolling Stone Collection 1988-1989 (1995)
  31. Cinemax Movie Hits of the '80s (1996)
  32. TV Themes of the '80s (1996)

There are only 32 CDs in this series.

Classic Rock

The definitive '60s set. Sound levels are a bit low, but the insanely thorough track selection makes up for it. Outstanding, all of them. Single discs, with about 22 tracks each. I'm not sure how many are in the series. The Time-Life numbering scheme is 2CLR-xx.

  1. 1965 (released 1987)
  2. 1966 (1987)
  3. 1964 (1987)
  4. 1968 (1987)
  5. 1967 (1988)
  6. 1969 (1988)
  7. 1966: The Beat Goes On (1988)
  8. 1965: The Beat Goes On (1988)
  9. 1964: The Beat Goes On (1988)
  10. 1967: The Beat Goes On (1988)
  11. 1968: The Beat Goes On (1989)
  12. 1969: The Beat Goes On (1989)
  13. 1966: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  14. 1965: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  15. 1967: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  16. 1964: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  17. Rock Renaissance (1989)
  18. Creedence Clearwater Revival (1989)
  19. 1968: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  20. 1969: Shakin' All Over (1990)
  21. Rock Renaissance II (1990)
  22. 1966: Blowin' Your Mind (1990)
  23. 1965: Blowin' Your Mind (1990)
  24. 1967: Blowin' Your Mind (1990)
  25. On the Soul Side (1990)
  26. Rock Renaissance III (1990)
  27. 1968: Blowin' Your Mind (1991)
  28. On the Soul Side II (1991)
  29. Garage Rock Nuggets (1991)
  30. Rock Renaissance IV (1991)

Possibly related: Animal Rock (1994)

The Rock 'N' Roll Era

The definitive '50s set. Sound levels are a bit low, but the insanely thorough track selection makes up for it. The single-artist collections are especially collectible. Single discs, with about 22 tracks each. I haven't seen higher than Vol. 50. The Time-Life numbering scheme is 2RNR-xx.

  1. 1957 (released 1987)
  2. 1962 (1987)
  3. The Beach Boys: 1962-1967 (1988)
  4. 1961 (1987)
  5. 1958 (1987)
  6. Elvis Presley: 1954-1961 (1988)
  7. 1963 (1986)
  8. 1954-1955 (1988)
  9. The Everly Brothers: 1957-1962 (1987)
  10. 1964 (1987)
  11. 1960 (1987)
  12. The Supremes: 1963-1969 (1987)
  13. 1959 (1988)
  14. 1956 (1987)
  15. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: 1962-1967 (1987)
  16. 1962: Still Rockin' (1988)
  17. 1957: Still Rockin' (1988)
  18. 1961: Still Rockin' (1989)
  19. 1963: Still Rockin' (1989)
  20. 1959: Still Rockin' (1989)
  21. 1958: Still Rockin' (1989)
  22. 1960: Still Rockin' (1989)
  23. 1956: Still Rockin' (1989)
  24. The '50s: Keep On Rockin' (1989)
  25. The '60s: Keep On Rockin' (1989)
  26. Elvis, The King: 1954-1965 (1990)
  27. Teen Idols (1990)
  28. The '50s: Rave On (1990)
  29. The '60s: Rave On (1990)
  30. Roots Of Rock: 1945-1956 (1990)
  31. Ricky Nelson: 1957-1972 (1990)
  32. Red-Hot Rockabilly (1990)
  33. The '50s: Last Dance (1990)
  34. Roy Orbison: 1960-1965 (1991)
  35. The '60s: Last Dance (1991)
  36. Axes & Saxes: The Great Instrumentals (1991)
  37. Weird, Wild & Wacky (1991)
  38. Rock Classics: The Originals (1991)
  39. The New Orleans Sound (1991)
  40. The '60s: Teen Time (1991)
  41. R&B Gems (1991)
  42. The '60s: Sock Hop (1991)
  43. Roots Of Rock II (1992)
  44. Lost Treasures (1992)
  45. Street Corner Serenade (1992)
  46. The '60s: Jukebox Memories (1992)
  47. Teen Idols II (1992)
  48. R&B Gems II (1992)
  49. Lost Treasures II (1992)
  50. Street Corner Serenade II (1992)

Guitar Rock

Very nice collections of, well, guitar rock. A little overlap with the "Sounds Of The Seventies" pop series, but otherwise, strong collections. Single CDs, with 17-21 tracks each. Levels all pretty consistent, with no clipping at all. Graphics all the same, with lots of red. Vols. 1, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 16-20, 24, 25 and 27 have some tracks that are digital clones of existing, earlier CDs. Vol. 3 has many tracks with their left and right channels reversed. Vols. 1-16 mastered by Steve Carr. Vols. 19-21 and 27 mastered by Dennis Drake. Vols. 17-18 and 22-25 don’t list a mastering engineer. I don’t have the liner notes to Vol. 26. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R968-xx.

  1. 1974-1975 (released 1993)
  2. 1978-1979 (1993)
  3. 1976-1977 (1993)
  4. 1980-1981 (1994)
  5. 1972-1973 (1994)
  6. 1970-1971 (1994)
  7. 1968-1969 (1994)
  8. The Mid '70s (1994)
  9. 1966-1967 (1994)
  10. Classics (1994)
  11. The Early '70s (1994)
  12. The Late '60s (1994)
  13. The Early '80s (1994)
  14. The Late '70s (1995)
  15. FM Classics (1995)
  16. The Mid-'70s: Take Two (1995)
  17. The Late '70s: Take Two (1995)
  18. The Heavy '80s (1995)
  19. The Early '70s: Take Two (1995)
  20. The '80s (1995)
  21. The Early '70s: The Hard Stuff (1995)
  22. The Late '60s: Take Two (1996)
  23. Live! (1996)
  24. The '80s: Take Two (1996)
  25. The '90s (1996)
  26. Power & Passion (1999)
  27. Power Ballads (1999)

Superhits/AM Gold

Although the tracks are a little sleepy for my tastes, the collections are put together superbly. Similar in flavor to Rhino's "Have A Nice Day" CDs, with a lot of overlap with other Time-Life series. All single CDs, with 21 or 22 tracks each. Later repackaged by Time-Life as the "AM Gold" series; I have the first 21 in the series under the "Superhits" name with the light-blue graphics, and I'm not sure how many are in the series. Especially noteworthy is the Carpenters collection, which was not repackaged as an "AM Gold" disc. The discs released in 1996 and later sound especially good. The Time-Life numbering scheme is SUD-xx for "Superhits" and AM1-xx for "AM Gold". Note that for the discs "1971", "1972" and "Early '70s Classics" (and possibly others), the first pressings of the "AM Gold" versions were identical to their "Superhits" counterparts; later pressings swapped out one or two tracks and are identified with a reissue "RE-1" in their matrix numbers.

Superhits:

  1. 1966 (released 1990) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 9
  2. 1968 (1990) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 4
  3. 1965 (1990) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 10
  4. 1970 (1990) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 2
  5. 1967 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 8
  6. 1962 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 18
  7. 1969 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 1
  8. 1963 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 17
  9. 1964 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 11
  10. 1971 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 6
  11. 1972 (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 7
  12. The Mid-'60s (1991) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 5
  13. 1973 (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 3
  14. The Late '60s (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 14
  15. The Early '60s (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 19
  16. The Early '70s (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 13
  17. Mid-'60s Classics (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 16
  18. Late-'60s Classics (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 12
  19. Early-'60s Classics (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 20
  20. Early '70s Classics (1992) - reissued as AM Gold Vol. 15
  21. Carpenters Collection (1993) - complete artwork because this is pretty rare

AM Gold:

  1. 1969 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 7
  2. 1970 (1990) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 4
  3. 1973 (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 13
  4. 1968 (1990) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 2
  5. The Mid-'60s (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 12
  6. 1971 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 10; tracks 6 and 11 on Superhits and on original pressings are "Sweet City Woman" and "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"; tracks 6 and 11 on "RE-1" reissue are "Brand New Key" and "Mr. Bojangles"
  7. 1972 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 11; track 7 on Superhits and on original pressings are "Nice To Be With You"; track 7 on "RE-1" reissue is "Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)"
  8. 1967 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 5
  9. 1966 (1990) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 1
  10. 1965 (1993) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 3
  11. 1964 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 9
  12. Late-'60s Classics (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 18
  13. The Early '70s (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 16
  14. The Late '60s (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 14
  15. Early '70s Classics (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 20; tracks 7 and 14 on Superhits and on original pressings are "Sweet Mary" and "Hitchin' A Ride"; tracks 7 and 14 on "RE-1" reissue are "Right Place Wrong Time" and "We May Never Pass This Way Again"
  16. Mid-'60s Classics (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 17
  17. 1963 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 8
  18. 1962 (1991) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 6
  19. The Early '60s (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 15
  20. Early-'60s Classics (1992) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 19
  21. 1974 (1996)
  22. 1975 (1996)
  23. 1976 (1996)
  24. 1977 (1997)
  25. 1978 (1997)
  26. 1979 (1997)
  27. TV Themes Of The '60s (1996)
  28. Teen Idols Of the '70s (1999)
  29. #1 Hits Of The '70s: '70-'74 (2000)
  30. #1 Hits Of The '70s: '75-'79 (2000)
  31. Mellow Hits Of The '70s (2000)
  32. [unknown]
  33. The '60s Generation (2001)
  34. Smash Hits Of The '70s (2001)
  35. Perfect Harmony (2002)

Rhythm & Blues/Solid Gold Soul

Very well-done series. Most of the "Rhythm & Blues" discs were later reissued as "Solid Gold Soul" discs, with a different track number but the same track listing.

Rhythm & Blues:

  1. 1966 (1990) - reissued as SGS Vol. 1
  2. 1963 (1990) - reissued as SGS Vol. 14
  3. 1959 (1990) - reissued as SGS Vol. 21
  4. 1968 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 3
  5. 1956 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 24
  6. Ray Charles 1954-1966 (1991)
  7. 1965 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 12
  8. 1957 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 23
  9. 1971 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 6
  10. 1967 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 2
  11. 1962 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 18
  12. 1964 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 13
  13. 1969 (1991) - reissued as SGS Vol. 4
  14. 1961 (1992) - reissued as SGS Vol. 19
  15. 1960 (1992) - reissued as SGS Vol. 20
  16. 1958 (1992) - reissued as SGS Vol. 22
  17. 1955 (1992)
  18. 1970 (1992) - reissued as SGS Vol. 5
  19. 1954 (1992)
  20. 1972 (1992) - reissued as SGS Vol. 7
  21. 1974 (1996) - reissued as SGS Vol. 9
  22. 1975 (1996) - reissued as SGS Vol. 10
  23. 1976 (1996) - reissued as SGS Vol. 11
  24. 1973 (1996) - reissued as SGS Vol. 8

Solid Gold Soul:

  1. 1966 (1990) - reissue of R&B Vol. 1
  2. 1967 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 10
  3. 1968 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 4
  4. 1969 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 13
  5. 1970 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 18
  6. 1971 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 9
  7. 1972 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 20
  8. 1973 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 24
  9. 1974 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 21
  10. 1975 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 22
  11. 1976 (1996) - reissue of R&B Vol. 23
  12. 1965 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 7
  13. 1964 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 12
  14. 1963 (1990) - reissue of R&B Vol. 2
  15. 1979 (1997)
  16. 1977 (1997)
  17. 1978 (1997)
  18. 1962 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 11
  19. 1961 (1992) - reissue of R&B Vol. 14
  20. 1960 (1992) - reissue of R&B Vol. 15
  21. 1959 (1990) - reissue of R&B Vol. 3
  22. 1958 (1992) - reissue of R&B Vol. 16
  23. 1957 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 8
  24. 1956 (1991) - reissue of R&B Vol. 5
  25. Early '80s (1999)
  26. Mid-'80s (2000)
  27. Deep Soul (1999)
  28. Inspiration (2000)
  29. Make It Funky (2001)
  30. Superbad: Soul Of The City (2001)
  31. Old School Love Affair (2001)

Modern Rock

These are 2-CD sets, with 12 tracks per CD. I think these were Time-Life's answer to Rhino's "Just Can't Get Enough" series. Sound quality is excellent overall; all of these were mastered by Dennis Drake. Most of the tracks are LP versions, unlike the Rhino series that has all-45 versions. I've seen only up to Vol. 21. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R828-xx.

  1. 1982-1983 (released 1999)
  2. 1980-1981 (1999)
  3. 1984-1985 (1999)
  4. 1986-1987 (1999)
  5. Dance (1999)
  6. The '70s (1999)
  7. 1988-1989 (1999)
  8. Early '80s (2000)
  9. Mid-'80s (2000)
  10. Late '80s (2000)
  11. Early '90s (2000)
  12. 1980-1984 (2000)
  13. 1984-1989 (2000)
  14. Lost Hits of the Early '80s (2000)
  15. Lost Hits of the Mid '80s (2001)
  16. The Mid '90s (2001)
  17. Lost Hits of the '70s (2002)
  18. Loud and Raw (2002)
  19. Under the Covers (2001)
  20. Nightclubbing (2001)
  21. Club '80s (2001)

Body Talk

The definitive mellow series. These are 2-CD sets, with 12 tracks per CD. The only negative thing I can think of is that no one (outside of slow-dance DJs) needs so much mellow music. Otherwise, superb track selection and sound quality. Vols. 7 and 13-22 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Outstanding! I've seen up to Vol. 22. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R834-xx.

  1. Forever Yours (released 1996)
  2. Just For You (1996)
  3. Moonlight Nights (1996)
  4. Together Forever (1996)
  5. Sealed With A Kiss (1996)
  6. Only You (1996)
  7. Hearts In Motion (1996)
  8. On My Mind (1996)
  9. Magic Moments (1996)
  10. From The Heart (1997)
  11. After Dark (1997)
  12. By Candlelight (1997)
  13. Just The Two Of Us (1997)
  14. Love And Tenderness (1997)
  15. Once In A Lifetime (1997)
  16. Sweet Nothings (1997)
  17. Heart To Heart (1997)
  18. Romantic Moments (1998)
  19. Always And Forever (1998)
  20. Heart And Soul (1998)
  21. Hearts On Fire (2000)
  22. Forever Love (2001)

Body And Soul

Very much along the same lines as Rhino's "Smooth Grooves" set. These are 2-CD sets, with 12 tracks per CD. I verified that Vols. 1-17 and 19-21 are mastered by Dennis Drake, but I don't know about most of the others. Vol. 28 ("Wedding Songs") is mastered by Scott Shuman, and was released in 2003.

  1. Love Serenade (released 1998) front back
  2. Love And Tenderness (1998) front back
  3. Sweet Seduction (1998) front back
  4. Night Moves (1998)
  5. Smooth Jams (1998) front back
  6. Love Under Cover (1999) front back
  7. Slow and Easy (1999)
  8. In The Groove (1999) front back
  9. Sweet Embrace (1999) front back
  10. Next To Ecstasy (1999) front back
  11. Night Whispers (1999)
  12. After Dark (1999) front back
  13. Slow Caress (1999)
  14. Midnight Seduction (1999)
  15. Tender Moments (1999) front back
  16. Romantic Interludes (1999) front back
  17. Moonlit Passion (2000) front back
  18. Heavenly Touch (2000) front back
  19. Secret Fantasy (2000) front back
  20. Destiny Love (2000) front back
  21. No Control (2001) front back
  22. [unknown]
  23. Smooth + Silky (2002) front back
  24. Ladies Got Soul (2002) front back
  25. [unknown]
  26. [unknown]
  27. Duets (2003) front back

Singers And Songwriters

These are 2-CD sets, except Vol. 31, "Classics", which is a single CD released in 2001. Vols. 1-3, 5-7, 10 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Vols. 4, 8-9, 11-18 and 31 are mastered by Ron Rice. Sound quality is very good overall.

  1. 1972-1973 (released 2000) front back
  2. 1970-1971 (2000) front back
  3. 1974-1975 (1999) front back
  4. 1976-1977 (2000) front back
  5. 1978-1979 (2000) front back
  6. The 1960s (2000) front back
  7. 1980-1982 (2000) front back
  8. Mid-'70s (2001) front back
  9. Early '70s (2000) front back
  10. The Late '70s (2000) front back
  11. 1970-1974 (2001) front back
  12. 1975-1979 (2001) front back
  13. 1979-1989 (2001) front back
  14. 1964-1969 (2001) front back
  15. The '70s (2001) front back
  16. 1969-1972 (2001) front back
  17. 1973-1975 (2002) front back
  18. Hard To Find Hits (2002) front back

Elvis Presley Collection

These are 2-CD sets, except Vol. 16, which is a single CD. There is no Vol. 15. This is a lot of Elvis, and includes just about all his Hot 100 singles except for about three later ones. All discs mastered by Dennis Drake. I suspect that many of the tracks are digital clones of the RCA 5-CD sets covering the '50s, '60s and '70s decades.

  1. Love Songs (released 1997)
  2. Rock 'N' Roll (1997)
  3. From The Heart (1998)
  4. Country (1998)
  5. Movie Magic (1997)
  6. The Rocker (1998)
  7. The Romantic (1998)
  8. Rhythm And Blues (1998)
  9. Gospel (1998)
  10. Treasures 1953-1958 (1998)
  11. Treasures 1960-1963 (1998)
  12. Treasures 1964-1969 (1999)
  13. Treasures 1970-1976 (1999)
  14. Fun At The Movies (1999)
  15. [doesn't exist]
  16. Christmas (2000)