With such a huge back catalogue, it was inevitable that The Bachelors previous work would be cascaded to compact disc. Some of their hits started to appear on 60’s compilation discs around 1984, but their fans had to wait until 1987 for K-Tels ‘The Best of The Bachelors’…and what a disappointment it was! Some of the tracks had clearly been taken from vinyl recordings and came complete with crackles and clicks! The only ‘clean’ track on this sub-standard offering was the version of ‘Diane’ recorded by Con, Dec and John in 1983 and while that alone made it worth buying (for me), the rest was, in my opinion, an insult to their memory.
‘Pickwick’ rescued their reputation with ‘The Bachelors Collection’ in 1988, which was chosen as ‘Radio 2’s Album of the week.’ Following on from that, Decca began to capitalise on their Bachelors treasure chest with ‘Bachelors Hits’ in 1989, following which, several European tape leasing arrangements saw the ‘budget CD’ market take off big time (see the discography and CD gallery)!
Decca issued the wonderful ‘Golden Hits and Precious Memories’ CD in 1996. It contained several hits and early album tracks, many of which were heard in stereo for the first time in the UK. There is nothing after 1965 on this CD, which makes it an excellent showcase of The Bachelors earlier work on the Decca label.
In 1999 Decca honoured The Bachelors importance and memory with a double CD ‘The Decca Years 1962 – 1972.’ It contains all 30 of their 45rpm ‘A’ sides and a generous sprinkling of ‘B’ sides and album tracks. The extensive sleeve notes (with help from Dec Cluskey) are a good read and the overall track selection does justice to their vocal versatility and the excellence of the musicians, producers and engineering teams that helped them craft their unmistakable sound.
2006 and 2008 saw triple disc box sets issued by Disky (Moments to Remember – the ultimate collection) and Readers Digest (The Very Best of The Bachelors). As you would expect, all the big hits are included in both presentations, but many ‘B’ sides and album tracks are given their first outing on compact disc. If you want the broadest spread of Bachelors tracks available on CD, I recommend grabbing these two triple albums. The emergence of ‘previously loved’ suppliers such as ‘Music Magpie’ may be a good place to start if you can’t find them anywhere else.
Decca continue to release Bachelors material at sensible intervals with ‘I Believe – The very best of The Bachelors’ being advertised widely on TV in 2008. It roared into the UK album chart peaking at No.8, confirming my belief that their music will never disappear and be forgotten! They issued ‘The World of The Bachelors’ in 2009 and ‘The Best of The Bachelors’ in 2013. Both are built around hit material with no big surprises in the track listings.
HMV gave us ‘All Time Greats The Bachelors’ in 2019 which signifies their back catalogue is alive, well, remembered and valued. As CD’s lose their popularity, we can only hope that more of The Bachelors output will be pegged for digital download. Decca have made a start on this with their first LP ‘The Bachelors’ (1963) being offered in 2015. Maybe we will see some of the ‘Philips’ and ‘Galaxy’ tracks rolled out for a new audience?
With the vinyl renaissance gathering pace daily, the asking price for old Bachelors records seems to be increasing. Dare we hope to see some re-issues in the future? This vinyl junkie hopes so!