Originally recorded in 1969 but unreleased for 34 years, Drivetime
was a grandiose concept that attempted to translate American radio's penchant for "drive-time" music to the British airwaves. A massively orchestrated blend of movie themes, pop gems and rock & roll classics, all were selected with one thing in mind: It was music to drive to. The fact that Britain could scarcely boast anything even remotely approaching the American culture of motorvating does not appear to have crossed Mike Hurst
's mind. Armed with a 49-strong backing band drawn from both classical and jazz circles, he not only rearranged, but utterly reinvigorated the likes of "Route 66" and "Sounds of Silence". He tackled "Good Vibrations" with an aplomb that might have given Brian Wilson
pause for thought, and he sent themes from The Wild Ones and West Side Story soaring. Although it could readily be filed alongside the similarly orchestral albums being issued by other top producers of the age (Larry Page
, Tony Hatch
, George Martin
, and Andrew Loog Oldham
all tried their hands at such things), the result towers above almost all of them.