Superb Records hopes to duplicate the success of the For Dummies book series with its Music for Dummies CDs. Each set compiles chart-topping hits in a given genre and contains information about the fe

Superb Records hopes to duplicate the success of the For Dummies book series with its Music for Dummies CDs. Each set compiles chart-topping hits in a given genre and contains information about the featured artists.

"Our aim is to have people make the connection between the For Dummies brand and the CD compilations," Superb founder Shiro Gutzie says.

"Classic Rock for Dummies," "Disco for Dummies," "Rock and Pop Divas for Dummies," "'80s Pop for Dummies" and "'70s Soul for Dummies" are some of the recent releases in the series.

"These CDs are distinctive, fun and informative," Gutzie says of the compilations, which carry a $12.98 list price. "I wanted to create music compilations that everyone could understand."

"Superb Records and Wiley Publishing wanted to establish the brand with music retailers first, in order to create a strong foundation, and then gradually move to nontraditional places," Gutzie explains.

National retail marketing plans for the compilations include in-store promotions with Best Buy and a listening-station program with Borders. Consumers can also buy the sets through Amazon or an upcoming Music For Dummies Web site.

The For Dummies brand was launched in 1991 by John Kilcullen, now Billboard president/publisher. He was a founding member of the company that created the how-to brand, which remains popular and has sold more than 150 million copies in 29 languages. The company went public in 1998; John Wiley & Sons acquired it in 2001.

The first Dummies discs came out in November 2003. The Los Angeles-based label has shipped 40,000 CDs so far; "Sales have been very positive," Gutzie says.

According to Gutzie, personal preference, not just chart success, came into play when selecting songs for the Dummies CDs. He recalls thinking, "If I were to buy an '80s compilation CD, what would I want on it?" On "Disco for Dummies," cuts include "Le Freak" by Chic, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, "The Hustle" by Van McCoy -- selections that even, well, a dummy could have chosen.

The series initially comprised 12 titles, six of which are active in stores. The genres those titles cover are pop and rock divas, neo-soul, '70s soul, '80s rock and classic rock. Upcoming titles will explore jazz, blues and Christmas music.