Shout! Factory's 2003 box set Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade
is an excellent triple-disc overview of the early days of rock & roll. Starting with Carl Perkins
' "Blue Suede Shoes," the 60-track set features a little bit of everything from the late '50s and early '60s -- there's a bunch of driving rock & roll, but also hard-charging R&B, Motown, Brill Building pop, girl groups, teen idols, Merseybeat, and surf rock. While there are no surprises here (with the possible exception of beginning disc three with Lou Christie
's "The Gypsy Cried"), there are absolutely no duds and most of this is both classic and important, making this a first-rate sampler and introduction to the best music from the early days of rock & roll.