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 what I have.


The Rock 'N' Roll Era

The definitive 1950s set. The early discs sound pretty bad, due to source material being shipped to Time-Life life on analog reel-to-reel tapes. Sound levels are a bit low. Remarkable track selection, probably the deepest 1950s pop set ever released. These are all single discs, with about twenty-two tracks each. Some of these have been remastered or reissued with a few different tracks; you can tell by “RE-1” or “RE-2” in the matrix number on the discs. Time-Life released an additional Vol. 51 in 1996, four years after the original series ended. The Time-Life numbering scheme is 2RNR-xx.

  1. 1957 (released 1987)

    The original pressing has a total run time of 52:18. The original includes three tracks with electronically reprocessed stereo (Come Go With Me, I'm Walkin', Party Doll), and several tracks with truncated fades.

    The "RE-2" reissue has a total running time of 52:37. The RE-2 reissue has the same track listing and art/booklet as the original release, and can only be visually distinguished from the original release by the RE-2 in the matrix number on the CD. The RE-2 reissue features drastically improved sound on nearly all tracks, likely from lower-generation source tapes. All tracks are in pure mono. It is unclear if there was ever an RE-1 reissue for this disc.

    There was also a pressing on JCI Records that uses the track listing and mastering of the RE-2 reissue.

  2. 1962 (1987)

    Track 18 on the original pressing is "Twistin' The Night Away".

    The "RE-1" reissue has the same track listing and art/booklet as the original release, and can only be visually distinguished from the original release by the RE-1 in the matrix number on the CD. The RE-1 reissue features drastically improved sound on nearly all tracks, likely from lower-generation source tapes.

    Track 18 on the "RE-2" reissue is "Sherry". Sound quality of the other tracks is comparable to the RE-1 reissue. The RE-2 reissue remained in print until at least 1994, as evidenced by a pressing with a Mould SID Code.

    There was also a pressing on JCI Records that uses the track listing and mastering of the RE-2 reissue.

  3. The Beach Boys: 1962-1967 (1988)
  4. 1961 (1987)

    Tracks 10 and 18 on the original pressing are "Shop Around" and "Please Mr. Postman".

    The "RE-1" reissue has the same track listing and art/booklet as the original release, and can only be visually distinguished from the original release by the RE-1 in the matrix number on the CD. The RE-1 reissue features drastically improved sound on nearly all tracks, likely from lower-generation source tapes.

    Tracks 10 and 18 on a pressing on JCI Records are "Heart And Soul" and "Apache". The other 20 tracks are digitally identical to the RE-1 reissue.

  5. 1958 (1987)

    The original pressing is likely the "RE-1" release; there are no known variants of this CD that lack the RE- designation. The RE-1 release has 23 tracks, including "To Know Him, Is To Love Him".

    The "RE-2" reissue has only 22 tracks, omitting "To Know Him, Is To Love Him" and reordering the remaining tracks. The RE-2 reissue features drastically improved sound on nearly all tracks, likely from lower-generation source tapes.

    There was also a pressing on JCI Records that uses the track listing and mastering of the RE-2 reissue.

  6. Elvis Presley: 1954-1961 (1988)
  7. 1963 (1986)
  8. 1954-1955 (1988)
  9. The Everly Brothers: 1957-1962 (1987)
  10. 1964 (1987)

    Track 2 on the original pressing is "California Sun".

    The "RE-1" reissue has the same track listing and art/booklet as the original release, and can only be visually distinguished from the original release by the RE-1 in the matrix number on the CD. The RE-1 reissue probably features drastically improved sound on nearly all tracks, likely from lower-generation source tapes, but I can't confirm.

    Track 2 on the "RE-2" reissue is "Rag Doll". I can confirm that the sound on RE-2 is vastly improved over the original release.

  11. 1960 (1987)

    Tracks 4 and 15 on the original pressing are Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and "Chain Gang".

    There may not be an RE-1 reissue for this release.

    Tracks 4 and 15 on the RE-2 reissue are "Wonderful World" and "Cathy's Clown", according to the Both Sides Now discography. I haven't encountered the RE-2 variant at all; it's likely quite rare.

    Tracks 4 and 15 on the "RE-3" reissue are "Last Date" and "Cathy's Clown". Time-Life lost the rights to the Sam Cooke tracks.

  12. The Supremes: 1963-1969 (1987)
  13. 1959 (1988)

    The original pressings have sleepover party artwork. On the last page of the booklet, the copyright date for the cover art is 1988.

    More common later pressings have Ritchie Valens on stage artwork. On the last page of the booklet, the copyright date for the cover art is 1989.

    The audio is the same on both.

  14. 1956 (1987)

    The original pressing (and mastering) remained in print until at least 1994, as evidenced by a pressing with a Mould SID Code.

    There was also a pressing on JCI Records that uses the track listing and mastering of the original release.

  15. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: 1962-1967 (1987)
  16. 1962: Still Rockin' (1988)

    Tracks 2 and 17 on the original pressing are Sam Cooke's "Having A Party" and "Bring It On Home To Me".

    Tracks 11 and 12 on the "RE-1" reissue are "Crying In The Rain" and "Big Girls Don't Cry", which replace the Sam Cooke tracks. The remaining 20 tracks are retained in order from the original release, but with the two Sam Cooke tracks deleted and the two replacement tracks inserted in the middle of the track listing.

    "Turn On Your Love Light" is a stereo alternate take on the original release, and the mono hit version on the RE-1 reissue. "I Need Your Lovin'" is mono on the original release, and stereo (and from better-sounding source tapes) on the RE-1 reissue. All the remaining tracks on the RE-1 reissue (tracks 1-10, 13-16, 18-20, and 22) are digitally identical clones of the original release.

  17. 1957: Still Rockin' (1988)

    Track 6 on the original pressing is Sam Cooke's "You Send Me".

    Track 6 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Be Bop Baby". "Hula Love" is cleaned up on the RE-1 reissue to remove some of the clipping (high-frequency distortion in the loud portions). All the remaining tracks on the RE-1 reissue (tracks 1-5, 7-15, and 17-22) are digitally identical clones of the original release.

  18. 1961: Still Rockin' (1989)

    The original pressing is likely the "RE-1" release; there are no known variants of this CD that lack the RE- designation. Track 4 of the RE-1 release is Sam Cooke's "Cupid".

    Track 4 of the "RE-2" reissue is "Walk Right Back". Compared to RE-1, the RE-2 reissue features new analog transfers (and not necessarily improvements) on tracks 2, 5, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 19. All others are digitally identical (tracks 1, 3, 6, 18, 21, and 22), are digital clones with one or more level changes in the song (tracks 9-12 and 15-17), or are digital clones that adjust the left/right balance (track 20).

  19. 1963: Still Rockin' (1989)

    There is a "RE-1" release, but I doubt that there is a non-RE original release that was released earlier. A review from the Both Sides Now website claimed that there was a non-RE original release with the same track listing as the RE-1, and that the RE-1 had upgraded sound from the original release. I couldn't find any images of a non-RE matrix number for this release.

  20. 1959: Still Rockin' (1989)

    Tracks 4 and 10 on the original pressing are Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen" and Paul Anka's "Lonely Boy".

    Tracks 4 and 10 on the "RE-1" reissue are "('Til) I Kissed You" and "It's Late". All other tracks on the RE-1 reissue (tracks 1-3, 5-9, and 11-22) are digitally identical clones of the original release.

  21. 1958: Still Rockin' (1989) "RE-1" version; I haven't encountered any releases without the RE-1.
  22. 1960: Still Rockin' (1989) "RE-1" version; I haven't encountered any releases without the RE-1.
  23. 1956: Still Rockin' (1989)
  24. The '50s: Keep On Rockin' (1989) "RE-1" version; I haven't encountered any releases without the RE-1.
  25. The '60s: Keep On Rockin' (1989)
  26. Elvis, The King: 1954-1965 (1990)
  27. Teen Idols (1990)
  28. The '50s: Rave On (1990)

    Track 11 on the original pressing is Paul Anka's "You Are My Destiny".

    Track 11 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Tall Cool One". All other tracks on the RE-1 reissue are digitally identical clones of the original release.

  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) "RE-1" version; I haven't encountered any releases without the RE-1.
  36. Axes & Saxes: The Great Instrumentals (1991)
  37. Weird, Wild & Wacky (1991)

    Track 13 on the original pressing is a non-hit rerecording of Larry Verne's "Mr. Custer".

    The "RE-1" reissue has the same track listing and art/booklet as the original release, and can only be visually distinguished from the original release by the RE-1 in the matrix number on the CD. Track 13 of the RE-1 reissue is the original hit version of Larry Verne's "Mr. Custer". All other tracks on the RE-1 reissue are digitally identical to the original release.

  38. Rock Classics: The Originals (1991)

    Track 13 on the "RE-1" version is Richard Berry's "Louie Louie". I haven't encountered any releases without the RE- designation in the matrix number.

    Track 13 on the "RE-2" reissue is Don And Dewey's "I'm Leavin' It All Up To You".

    Track 11 on RE-2 is a new analog transfer of the same source tape used on RE-1. Track 14 on RE-2 is a new analog transfer that fades about 16 beats earlier than RE-1. Track 15 is the 45 version on RE-2, but is a previously unreleased version from the 1991 CD "The Isley Brothers Story" on RE-1. Track 16 is a mono mix on RE-1, but a stereo mix on RE-2. Tracks 1-10, 12, and 17-22 of RE-2 are volume-adjusted digital clones of the corresponding tracks from RE-1. (Tracks 1 and 7 are 1.9 dB louder on RE-2. Tracks 2 and 10 are 2.4 dB louder on RE-2. Tracks 3 and 20 are 2.6 dB louder on RE-2. Tracks 4, 5, 19, 21, and 22 are 2.9 dB louder on RE-2. Tracks 6, 8, 9, 12, and 17 are 2.7 dB louder on RE-2. Track 18 is 3.1 dB louder on RE-2.)

  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)
  51. The Great Rock 'N' Roll Instrumentals (1996)

Classic Rock

The definitive 1960s set. Same quibbles as with the Rock ’N’ Roll Era series - the early discs sound pretty bad, due to source material being shipped to Time-Life life on analog reel-to-reel tapes. Sound levels are a bit low on this set as well. Track selection is also remarkable, probably the deepest 1960s pop set ever released. All are single discs, with about twenty-two tracks each. Time-Life released an additional Vol. 31 in 1996, five years after the original series ended. The Time-Life numbering scheme is 2CLR-xx.

  1. 1965 (released 1987)
  2. 1966 (1987)

    "Tell It Like It Is" on the original pressings is a 3:09 non-hit remake.

    "Tell It Like It Is" on the "RE-1" reissue is the 2:43 hit version.

    The RE-1 reissue has all its tracks remastered using significantly better-sounding source tapes than what were used on the original release. The original release and the RE-1 reissue use identical artwork for the booklets and discs. The only way to tell the releases apart is to inspect the matrix number in the inner hub of the CD.

  3. 1964 (1987)

    The original pressings have 22 tracks and the "A Go-Go" cover art.

    The 1989 "RE-1" reissue has 25 tracks (adding "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Hippy Hippy Shake", and "She's Not There", and reordering the tracks) and the painted lady face cover art. In general, the RE-1 reissue uses significantly better-sounding source tapes than what were used on the original release.

    The 1993 "RE-2" reissue has 24 tracks (deleting "A Summer Song") and the painted lady face cover art. The RE-2 reissue has comparable sound to the RE-1. All 24 tracks are digital clones from the RE-1 reissue, with adjustments for levels, balance, and EQ. "Come See About Me" is missing the opening drumbeat on RE-2, but is OK on RE-1.

    "How Do You Do It" is mono on original release and stereo on RE-1 and RE-2.
    "Fun Fun Fun" is mono LP mix on original release and is stereo LP mix on RE-1 and RE-2.
    "Farmer John" is stereo LP version on original and is mono 45 version on RE-1 and RE-2.
    "Needles And Pins" is mono on original release and stereo on RE-1 and RE-2.

  4. 1968 (1988)

    The original pressings have ladies-in-car artwork.

    More common later pressings have guys-in-weeds artwork.

    The audio is the same on both. Note that the copyright date is 1988 (shown on the CD and inside the booklet), not 1987 (as printed on back cover).

  5. 1967 (1988)

    The original pressings have people-on-building artwork.

    More common later pressings have people-on-stage artwork.

    The audio is the same on both.

  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)

    Track 4 on the original pressings is "Sugar Sugar".

    Track 4 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Grazing In The Grass".

    Tracks 1-3, 5-18, and 20-22 are digitally exactly 0.7 dB louder on the RE-1 reissue. Track 19 is digitally exactly 0.6 dB louder on the RE-1 reissue.

  13. 1966: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  14. 1965: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  15. 1967: Shakin' All Over (1989)
  16. 1964: Shakin' All Over (1989)

    Track 17 on the original pressings is "Steal Away".

    Track 17 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Saturday Night At The Movies".

  17. Rock Renaissance (1989) "RE-1" reissue; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.
  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) "RE-1" reissue; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.
  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)
  31. Totally Fantastic '60s (1996)

Country USA

Year-by-year volumes of country music, covering 1950 through 1972. Each volume is a single disc with 24 tracks. This was Time-Life's first series that was not manufactured exclusively by Warner Special Products. I noticed some tracks had their left and right channels swapped, but I haven't spent enough time with this set to determine if it's entire discs or just isolated tracks. The Time-Life numbering scheme is CTD-xx.

  1. 1961 (released 1988)
  2. 1957 (1988)
  3. 1962 (1988)
  4. 1970 (1988)
  5. 1971 (1989)
  6. 1968 (1989)
  7. 1958 (1989)
  8. 1969 (1989)
  9. 1959 (1988)
  10. 1965 (1989)
  11. 1963 (1989)
  12. 1960 (1989)
  13. 1956 (1990)
  14. 1964 (1990)
  15. 1954 (1990)
  16. 1952 (1990)
  17. 1967 (1990)
  18. 1972 (1990)
  19. 1955 (1991)
  20. 1953 (1990)
  21. 1966 (1991)
  22. 1951 (1991)
  23. 1950 (1991)

Your Hit Parade

The definitive 1940s set. Bill Inglot was involved with Vols. 1-31, making those volumes essential for 1940s pop. This was Time-Life's second of only two early series that were not manufactured exclusively by Warner Special Products. The Time-Life numbering scheme is HPD-xx.

  1. 1951 (released 1988)
  2. 1950 (1988)
  3. 1953 (1989)
  4. 1945 (1989)
  5. 1952 (1989)
  6. 1949 (1989)
  7. 1954 (1989)
  8. 1946 (1989)
  9. 1955 (1989)
  10. 1947 (1989)
  11. 1958 (1990)
  12. 1948 (1990)
  13. 1959 (1990)
  14. 1944 (1990)
  15. 1956 (1990)
  16. 1941 (1990)
  17. 1957 (1990)
  18. 1942 (1990)
  19. The Early '50s (1991)
  20. 1943 (1991)
  21. The Mid '50s (1991)
  22. 1940 (1991)
  23. The Late '50s (1991)
  24. The War Years (1991)
  25. The '50s (1991)
  26. The Late '40s (1991)
  27. The Unforgettable '50s (1991)
  28. The Fabulous '50s (1992)
  29. The '40s (1992)
  30. '50s Instrumentals (1992)
  31. The '50s Forever (1992)
  32. Into The '60s (1992)
  33. The Early '60s (1993)
  34. '60s Instrumentals (1993)
  35. The Fun-Time '50s And '60s (1993)
  36. The '50s Pop Revival (1993)
  37. The '60s (1993)
  38. The '50s Generation (1993)
  39. '60s Instrumentals Take Two (1993)
  40. Golden Goofers (1993)

Sounds Of The Seventies

Time-Life's mainstream 1970s pop series, billed in their promotional material as "the '70s greatest hits".

For 1970s material, my radio show's permanent library included all of these volumes, Abba's Gold, possibly a hits collection from Earth, Wind & Fire and Elvis Costello, and not much else. These discs really are the be-all/end-all of 1970s US pop.

The initial run of this series, released from 1989 to 1994, was numbered SOD-xx.

  1. 1970 (released 1989)
  2. 1971 (1989)

    Jerry Garcia is on the front cover of the original artwork.

    Marvin Gaye is on the front cover of the (far more common) reissue artwork. The two releases have identical audio.

  3. 1972 (1989)
  4. 1976 (1989) "RE-1" reissue; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.
  5. 1977 (1990)

    Track 2 on the original pressings is "Dancing Queen".

    Track 2 on the (far more common) "RE-1" reissue is "Serpentine Fire".

  6. 1973 (1990)
  7. 1974 (1990)

    Joni Mitchell is on the front cover of one pressing.

    Some leaves are on the front cover of a more common pressing. The two releases have identical audio.

  8. 1975 (1990)
  9. 1979 (1990)
  10. 1978 (1990)

    The Bee Gees are on the front cover of the original artwork.

    A guitarist is on the front cover of the reissue artwork. The two releases have identical audio.

  11. 1970: Take Two (1990)
  12. 1971: Take Two (1990)
  13. 1972: Take Two (1991) "RE-1" reissue; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.
  14. 1973: Take Two (1991)
  15. 1974: Take Two (1991)
  16. 1975: Take Two (1991)
  17. 1977: Take Two (1991)

    Track 14 on the original pressings is "Sleepwalker".

    Track 14 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Don't Stop".

  18. 1976: Take Two (1991)

    Track 2 on the original pressings is "The Boys Are Back In Town".

    Track 2 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Over My Head".

  19. 1979: Take Two (1991)
  20. 1978: Take Two (1991)

    Track 7 on the original pressings is "A Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy".

    Track 7 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Every Kinda People".

  21. Rock 'N' Soul Seventies (1991)
  22. Seventies Top Forty (1992)

    Track 9 on the original pressings is "Little Willy".

    Track 9 on the "RE-1" reissue is "I Need You".

  23. Guitar Power (1992)

    Tracks 4, 8, 10, 12, and 15 on the original pressings (I assume that it's the original pressing because it includes a Kinks song, and no one has reported owning a version with RE-1 or no RE in the matrix number) are "Lady Love", "Locomotive Breath", "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad", "Blues Power", and "Juke Box Music".

    Tracks 4, 8, 10, 12, and 15 on the reissue with catalog number R942-23 are "Bad Case Of Loving You", "Funk #49", "Yank Me, Crank Me", "Fool For The City", and "Easy Rider (Let The Wind Pay The Way)".

  24. FM Rock (1992)
  25. Seventies Generation (1992)
  26. FM Rock II (1992)
  27. Dance Fever (1992) "RE-1" reissue; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.
  28. FM Rock III (1992)

    Track 2 on the "RE-1" reissue is "Take Me To The Pilot"; it's not clear if Time-Life ever released a version without the RE-1.

    Track 2 on the "RE-2" reissue is "Nobody".

  29. FM Rock IV (1993)

    Tracks 13 and 18 on the original pressings are "(You Got To Walk And) Don't Look Back" and "Bridge Of Sighs". The cover art has a shirtless guy.

    Tracks 13 and 18 on the "RE-1" reissue are "Never In My Life" and "Message From The Country". The cover art has hands on a piano.

  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)

    This disc is numbered differently (R138-38) and packaged without any mention of "Sounds Of The Seventies". But in 1994, Time-Life felt that Celebration should be part of the series, as evidenced by pages of this Time-Life catalog, mailed to me in October 1994.

Here is mastering information, as printed verbatim in the booklets:

A few of the early discs include tracks that are digitally identical clones from Rhino’s Billboard Top Rock ’N’ Roll Hits series.

Vol. 31 has most of its tracks using the same analog transfers as Rhino’s Have A Nice Day series, but with the left and right channels reversed.

Vol. 32 has most of its tracks using the same analog transfers as Rhino’s Have A Nice Day series.

Vol. 35 has most of its tracks with the left and right channels reversed.

Sounds Of The Seventies revived

Time-Life revived the Sounds Of The Seventies series in 1995 with a new numbering scheme for the new volumes (R840-xx).

  1. Pop Nuggets: Late '70s (1995)
  2. TV Themes (1996) and alternate packaging as TV Themes Of The '70s
  3. Pop Nuggets: Early '70s (1996)
  4. A Loss For Words (1995)
  5. '70s Dance Party 1972-1974 (1997)
  6. '70s Dance Party 1975-1976 (1997)
  7. '70s Dance Party 1976-1977 (1997)
  8. '70s Dance Party 1978-1979 (1997)
  9. '70s Dance Party 1979-1981 (1997)
  10. '70s Dance Party 1979 (released 1997; copyright 1990 because is repackaged version of volume SOD-09)
  11. Feel Good '70s (1999)

The R840-xx volumes include many tracks that are digital clones of existing CDs. Vols. R840-01 through R840-04 do not list mastering credits. Vol. R840-01 uses extra compression on many tracks; avoid.

Vols. R840-05 through R840-10 are a subseries called '70s Dance Party, all of which are mastered by Dennis Drake. These are superb disco collections - among the very best I've ever encountered.

Vol. R840-10 is the same as volume SOD-09, with the same track order and mastering but new packaging.

Superhits/AM Gold

Mid-1960s to mid-1970 light pop, similar in flavor to Rhino’s Have A Nice Day CDs. There is a lot of overlap with other Time-Life series. All are single CDs, with twenty-one or twenty-two tracks each. Sonically, many of the early discs have levels that are too low. Several discs have all of their tracks with left and right channels swapped. Many tracks shorten the very tail of the fade. From 1994 to 1996, Time-Life repackaged Vols. 1-20 of Superhits as Vols. 1-20 of the AM Gold series (but in a different order), with the same track listing and mastering, but new artwork.

Superhits (numbering scheme is SUD-xx):

  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)

AM Gold (numbering scheme AM1-xx for early volumes, R984-xx for later volumes):

  1. 1969 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 7
  2. 1970 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 4
  3. 1973 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 13
  4. 1968 (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 2
  5. The Mid-'60s (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 12
  6. 1971 (1994) - 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 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 11

    Track 7 on Superhits and on original pressings is "Nice To Be With You"

    Track 7 on "RE-1" reissue is "Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)"

  8. 1967 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 5
  9. 1966 (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 1
  10. 1965 (1994) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 3
  11. 1964 (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 9
  12. Late-'60s Classics (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 18
  13. The Early '70s (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 16
  14. The Late '60s (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 14
  15. Early '70s Classics (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 20

    Tracks 7 and 14 on Superhits and on original release are "Sweet Mary" and "Hitchin' A Ride"

    Tracks 7 and 14 on "RE-1" reissue are "We May Never Pass This Way (Again)" and "Right Place Wrong Time"

  16. Mid-'60s Classics (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 17
  17. 1963 (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 8
  18. 1962 (1995) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 6
  19. The Early '60s (1996) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 15
  20. Early-'60s Classics (1996) - reissue of Superhits Vol. 19

    Track 6 on Superhits and original release is "Puppy Love"

    Track 6 on "RE-1" reissue is "A Little Bitty Tear"

  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. [likely doesn't exist]
  33. The '60s Generation (2001)
  34. Smash Hits Of The '70s (2001)
  35. Perfect Harmony (2002)
  36. Rockin' Down The Highway (2004)

Rhythm & Blues/Solid Gold Soul

Mainstream R&B series covering the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. From 1990 to 1992, Time-Life released Vols. 1-20 of the Rhythm & Blues series. Time-Life introduced the Solid Gold Soul series in 1996. Throughout 1996 and 1997, Time-Life repackaged 17 of the first 20 volumes of Rhythm & Blues series as releases in the Solid Gold Soul series. The Solid Gold Soul releases included updated artwork and packaging, but used the same track listings and masterings. In 1996, Time-Life released the yearly collections for 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976 simultaneously in the Rhythm & Blues series (as Vols. 21-24) and the Solid Gold Soul series (as Vols. 8-11). There were no further releases for the Rhythm & Blues series beyond Vol. 24 in 1996. The Solid Gold Soul series continued with new releases until about 2001. Steve Carr mastered the 1990-1992 releases. Dennis Drake mastered the releases from 1996 onward.

Rhythm & Blues (numbering scheme RHD-xx):

  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) - also released as SGS Vol. 9
  22. 1975 (1996) - also released as SGS Vol. 10
  23. 1976 (1996) - also released as SGS Vol. 11
  24. 1973 (1996) - also released as SGS Vol. 8

Solid Gold Soul (numbering scheme R838-xx):

  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) - also released as R&B Vol. 24
  9. 1974 (1996) - also released as R&B Vol. 21
  10. 1975 (1996) - also released as R&B Vol. 22
  11. 1976 (1996) - also released as 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)

Contemporary Country

Single-disc volumes devoted to time frames, rather than individual years. The Time-Life numbering scheme is CCD-xx.

  1. The Mid-'80s (released 1991)
  2. The Late '70s (1991)
  3. The Early '80s (1991)
  4. The Mid-'70s (1992)
  5. The Late '80s (1992)
  6. The Early '70s (1992)
  7. The Mid-'80s Pure Gold (1992)
  8. The Mid-'70s Pure Gold (1992)
  9. The Early '80s Pure Gold (1992)
  10. The Late '70s Pure Gold (1992)
  11. The Late '80s Pure Gold (1992)
  12. The Early '70s Pure Gold (1992)
  13. The Mid-'80s Hot Hits (1992)
  14. The Late '70s Hot Hits (1993)
  15. The Early '80s Hot Hits (1993)
  16. The Mid-'70s Hot Hits (1993)
  17. The Late '80s Hot Hits (1993)
  18. The Early '70s Hot Hits (1993)
  19. The '80s Pure Gold (1993)
  20. The '70s Pure Gold (1993)
  21. The Early '90s (1993)
  22. The Mid-'90s (2000)

History Of Rock 'N' Roll

Beautifully-produced single-disc volumes, with gigantic booklets. Because each volume was devoted to a cluster of about five years, rather than a single year, the series didn't work well with the serial subscription business model. They sold poorly, and the series was scrapped after just eight volumes. Too bad; these were extremely well done. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R962-xx.

  1. Rock 'N' Roll Classics 1957-1959 (released 1992)
  2. Folk Rock 1964-1967 (1993)
  3. Rock 'N' Roll Classics 1954-1956 (1993)
  4. California Pop 1963-1967 (1993)
  5. The Teenage Years 1957-1964 (1993)
  6. Doo-Wop And The Vocal Group Tradition 1955-1962 (1993)
  7. The British Invasion 1964-1966 (1993)
  8. Sound Of The City 1959-1965 (1993)

Guitar Rock

Guitar-based rock series that based mainly in the late-1960s to the early 1980s. All are single CDs, with seventeen to twenty-one tracks each. Levels are all pretty consistent, with no clipping at all. Graphics are 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 CDs. Vol. 3 has many tracks with their left and right channels reversed. Vols. 1-16 are mastered by Steve Carr. Vols. 19-21, 26, and 27 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Vols. 17-18 and 22-25 don’t list a mastering engineer. Additional Vol. 26 and 27 were released in 1999, three years after the original series ended. 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)

Sounds Of The Eighties

The definitive 1980s set. All are single-CD sets with about 18 tracks. Vol. 25-30 form a subseries called The Rolling Stone Collection. On the whole, they’re very good, but not perfect. Vols. 1-4 and 25 include many tracks that use the same analog transfers as existing CDs. Vols. 5-24 and 26-32 include many tracks that are digital clones of existing CDs. Vols. 5, 6, 8, 9, and 24 include some additional compression on some tracks, compared to those earlier CDs; avoid these if possible. Vols. 14, 17, 18, 20, 22, and 23 are mastered by Dennis Drake. An additional Vol. 24 was released in 2002, five years after the original series ended. 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)

    Track 13 on the extremely rare original release is "Say It Isn't So"

    Track 13 on the far more common "RE1" reissue is "One On One"

  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)

Body Talk

Superb mellow light-rock series. Vols. 7 and 13-22 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Many tracks on all discs are digital clones of existing CDs. This series marks Time-Life's first foray into releasing two-CD sets. They weren't sure at first; the first six volumes were available in both two-CD sets (with twenty-four tracks total) and one-CD sets (with eighteen tracks, all of which appear on the two-CD version). The two-CD sets proved more popular; the rest of the volumes were available only as two-CD sets, with twelve tracks per CD. Just about all subsequent series would use two-CD sets. Additional Vols. 21 and 22 were released in 2000 and 2001, respectively, two and three years after the original series ended. The Time-Life numbering scheme for the two-CD sets 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)

Classic Country

These are two-CD sets, fifteen tracks per disc, all mastered by Dennis Drake. Sound is superb throughout. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R808-xx.

There are three additional two-CD sets that are unnumbered: Hard To Find Hits (2003), Great Duets (2004), and Honky Tonk Heroes (2004). There are many, many additional unnumbered one-CD volumes released starting in 2003.

  1. 1960-1964 (released 1997)
  2. 1965-1969 (1998)
  3. 1950-1959 (1998)
  4. 1970-1974 (1998)
  5. 1975-1979 (1998)
  6. Golden '50s (1998)
  7. Golden '60s (1998)
  8. Golden '70s (1998)
  9. Golden '40s (1999)
  10. The Nashville Era 1958-1963 (1999)
  11. 1980-1984 (1999)
  12. 1964-1968 (1999)
  13. Honky-Tonkin' 1952-1957 (1999)
  14. 1969-1975 (1999)
  15. The Sixties Legends (1999)
  16. The Fifties Legends (1999)
  17. The '60s Treasures (2000)
  18. The '50s Treasures (2000)
  19. The '70s Treasures (1999)
  20. 1941-1951 (2000)
  21. Great Story Songs (2001)
  22. Great Country Gospel (2001)
  23. Great Country Gospel II (2001)
  24. Great Story Songs II (2002)
  25. ?
  26. Queens of Country (2003)

Elvis Presley Collection

These are all two-CD sets, and all feature a previously unreleased Elvis track. This is a lot of Elvis and includes just about all his Hot 100 singles except for about three later ones. All discs are mastered by Dennis Drake. I suspect that many of the tracks are digital clones of the RCA five-CD sets covering the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s decades. A single-CD Christmas volume was released in 2000 as Vol. 16. Vol. 15 is the European version of the Christmas CD, which seems to be the same as the US version in every way except the volume number. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R806-xx.

  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. [European version of Christmas CD]
  16. Christmas (2000)

Body + Soul

These are two-CD sets, similar in flavor to Rhino’s Smooth Grooves discs. Sound quality is very nice throughout. Time-Life sporadically released numbered Vols. 21-28 from 2001 to 2003. Vols. 1-22 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Vols. 24, 27, and 28 are mastered by Scott Shuman. Vol. 26 is mastered by Ron Rice. Not sure about Vol. 23. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R794-xx.

  1. Love Serenade (released 1998)
  2. Love And Tenderness (1998)
  3. Sweet Seduction (1998)
  4. Night Moves (1998)
  5. Smooth Jams (1998)
  6. Love Under Cover (1999)
  7. Slow And Easy (1999)
  8. In The Groove (1999)
  9. Sweet Embrace (1999)
  10. Next To Ecstasy (1999)
  11. Night Whispers (1999)
  12. After Dark (1999)
  13. Slow Caress (1999)
  14. Midnight Seduction (1999)
  15. Tender Moments (1999)
  16. Romantic Interludes (1999)
  17. Moonlit Passion (2000)
  18. Heavenly Touch (2000)
  19. Secret Fantasy (2000)
  20. Destiny Love (2000)
  21. No Control (2001)
  22. Christmas (2001)
  23. Smooth + Silky (2002)
  24. Ladies Got Soul (2002)
  25. Body + Soul Of The '60s (2002)
  26. Absolute (2003)
  27. Duets (2003)
  28. Wedding Songs (2003)

Modern Rock

This series was Time-Life’s answer to Rhino’s Just Can’t Get Enough series. These are two-CD sets, with twelve tracks per CD. Sound quality is excellent overall; all of these were mastered by Dennis Drake. Several of the tracks are LP versions, unlike the Rhino series that has all 45 versions. Many tracks on all discs are digital clones of existing CDs. 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)

Glory Days Of Rock 'N' Roll

Very well-produced early rock 'n' roll sets. These are two-CD sets, with fifteen tracks per CD. Sound quality is excellent overall; all of these were mastered by Dennis Drake. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R696-xx.

  1. Doo-Wop (released 1999)
  2. Golden Groups (1999)
  3. Teen Idols (1999)
  4. Teen Ballads (1999)
  5. One-Hit Wonders (1999)
  6. Novelties (1999)
  7. Girl Group Sound (1999)
  8. Rockabilly (1999)
  9. R&B Legends (2000)
  10. Great Rockers (2000)
  11. New Orleans (2000)
  12. Great Love Songs (2001)
  13. Great Vocals (2000)
  14. Instrumentals (2000)
  15. Dance Party (2001)
  16. One-Hit Wonders 2 (2001)
  17. No. 1 Hits (2001)
  18. Hard-To-Find Hits (2001)
  19. R&B Classics (2001)
  20. The Birth Of Rock 'N' Roll (2001)

Singers And Songwriters

These are all two-CD sets. Many tracks on all discs are digital clones of existing CDs. Vols. 1-3, 5-7, and 10 are mastered by Dennis Drake. Vols. 4, 8, 9, and 11-18 are mastered by Ron Rice. Vols. 19-22 are mastered by Scott Shuman. Sound quality is very good overall. Vols. 19-22 are a sub-series called The Folk Years. These are 2-CD sets, 24 tracks total per set. The Time-Life numbering scheme is R812-xx. There is a single-disc volume called Classics (2001), which doesn't fit the numbering scheme.

  1. 1972-1973 (released 2000)
  2. 1970-1971 (2000)
  3. 1974-1975 (1999)
  4. 1976-1977 (2000)
  5. 1978-1979 (2000)
  6. The 1960s (2000)
  7. 1980-1982 (2000)
  8. Mid-'70s (2001)
  9. Early '70s (2000)
  10. The Late '70s (2000)
  11. 1970-1974 (2001)
  12. 1975-1979 (2001)
  13. 1979-1989 (2001)
  14. 1964-1969 (2001)
  15. The '70s (2001)
  16. 1969-1972 (2001)
  17. 1973-1975 (2002)
  18. Hard To Find Hits (2002)
  19. The Folk Years Blowin' In The Wind (2002)
  20. The Folk Years Yesterday's Gone (2002)
  21. The Folk Years Reason To Believe (2002)
  22. The Folk Years Simple Song Of Freedom (2002)