Various: Restless, Reckless & Reviled! Untamed Youth

The most enjoyable history lesson ever.

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Compilations of music from rock’n’roll’s Big Bang moment are 10-a-penny in service stations and supermarket aisles throughout the land, but few are as comprehensive, themed, perfectly curated and lovingly presented as this excellent three-disc, 93-track collection.

Following on from The First Rock’n’Roll Record and The Backbeat Of Rock’n’Roll – Seminal Sounds From The Instrumental Era, this new set focuses on the figures that led the teenage musical revolution, as Elvis spooked parents with one twitch of his hips and establishment-baiting bad lads like Jerry Lee Lewis – pictured, shirtless and smirking, on the cover as he’s dragged away by police – positioned themselves as outlaws kicking against post-war conservatism.

The names crowded into this collection speak for themselves: Presley, Lewis, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Billy Fury, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Johnny Cash, Ike Turner… the list goes on, each name as familiar and evocative as rock’n’roll itself. And even though you’ve heard the likes of Good Golly Miss Molly, Folsom Prison Blues and Hound Dog a million times, they still have that raw power that shook things up all those years ago.

And there are plenty of less obvious tracks to discover here, Carl Perkins’s I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry neatly summing up the spirit of rebellion. We wouldn’t have the current music we love without these characters, and they still sound like they’d lead you astray in a heartbeat./o:p

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.