The Best and Worst "Best Of" And "Greatest Hits" Compilation albums of All time.

Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by Bobberman, May 31, 2018.

  1. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Just for fun I thought I'd put this idea for a topic Any Artist Any Genre Even Any Record Label is fair game for this subject as a regular music buyer I've seen more than my fair share of Best of albums in their various formats many Good Ones and equally as many Rotten and redundant ones too in regards to song selection. sound quality and many other factors. so feel free to chime in your views and opinions Even if I respectfully disagree Its Totally Fine views and opinions will vary I'll start by giving a few general examples many of the Sony/BMG 2cd sets tend to be very definitive while many of the Universal comps tend to fall short and others are so shortsighted they don't seem to be a good representation of an artist or groups overall body of work and there is also the Hook of adding a remixed version of a song or a new recording done just for the purpose I could go on and on but now it's time to officially Open The Discussion. "So Lets Have at it My Friends".
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  2. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    I like the Beatles “1”. That contains all the number one singles from the US and the UK from ‘62 to ‘70. Fun to sing along with. :D
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  3. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I would say the "best" compilation albums are those that contain actual hits, such as:

    Carpenters - The Singles (the original version)
    Elton John - Greatest Hits (vol 1 and 2 are both equally great)
    Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits
    Santana - Greatest Hits (has a few album cuts but they're all stellar tunes)

    There are lots of others I could come up with but those are the ones that spring to mind.

    Bad "Hits" albums are the ones where the artist only ever had one or two hits, but they pad the rest out with album cuts and hope it sells a few copies. The hits album took a nosedive in the '80s and '90s when it became fashionable to include one to three "new" songs (which were, in at least some cases, nothing more than rejects from past albums) in the hopes of selling the hits album to everyone including the devoted fans who had to have everything.

    Probably the worst "Best of" album I have is "The Best of Bingoboys." Bingoboys had exactly one hit single, called "How to Dance" which is actually quite catchy, and their debut album(!) was called The Best of Bingoboys. I don't know whether that was an inside joke, or if the record company figured they were a one-hit wonder and decided to cash in as soon as possible. Actually the album has a few decent tunes on it, if you like 80s dance pop. I probably have the only copy in the northwest U.S.
    Bobberman likes this.
  4. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Those are Very good Examples of Great compilation albums I enjoy those too and although I never heard of the bingoboys I agree with you on the way they made hits comps in the 90s especially those one hit wonders
  5. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    In my mind, the best compilations are those that present the true hit versions of the songs. Many times throughout pop music history, there are album versions of songs that actually weren't the real "hits". Radio, the purveyor of hits, often played special edits or pruned versions of album songs, and those versions shouldn't, IMHO, shouldn't find their way to "greatest hits" albums.

    Now, if a compilation is to be made of just fan favorites, or representing albums, then using album versions is fine.

    With that in mind, the recent Public Television set THE COMPLETE SINGLES of the Carpenters represents a truly perfect compilation. Not only do you get the a-side hits but the b-sides as well for variety.
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  6. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    One of the ultimate A&M compilations was never sold in stores--the TJB's Dee Jay Sampler, which was released in both stereo and monaural versions. The monaural is notable in that it has the original mono single mixes, as opposed to the mono album versions.

    One of the best for sequencing is Best of the Doobies (Doobie Brothers). It covers most of the best early Doobies songs, and has inspired sequencing. Best of the Doobies Vol. 2 is similarly well-paced but the music can leave a little to be desired as it contains a few tracks from their weak One Step Closer album.

    Gordon Lightfoot's CD Complete Greatest Hits is a nice body of work, covering hits and album favorites. Too bad the mastering is ear-bleedingly bright. :sigh:

    The best Stevie Wonder compilation is Original Musiquarium Vol. 1. Three of the four new studio tracks are stellar ("Front Line" is one of his "message" songs that I detest), but "Ribbon In The Sky," "That Girl" and "Do I Do" all received major airplay when this was released. The rest of the set thankfully avoids his early repetitive Motown stuff, but covers everything from Music Of My Mind forward. I would have preferred a couple more tracks from Hotter Than July (like "All I Do," and "Ain't Gonna Stand For It" which featured the Gap Band's Wilson brothers on backing vocals), but other than that, it's nonstop hits across both discs. It even includes the solitary hit from his dud of an album Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, "Send One Your Love."

    And actually, if someone is fond of Stevie's early Motown stuff, the Motown 3-LP, 42-track Looking Back (in the pink jacket) covers all of that in one place, up to Music Of My Mind. It has a few too many album tracks, but it's a good way to get the better part of his early recordings in one place. It was also released under the title Anthology (which matched the other volumes by other Motown artists).

    Two bad compilations? Look no further than what Universal has done with the Yellowjackets catalog. Rather than put their catalog back in print (or at the very least, the most popular of their albums), they throw together these scattershot compilations every few years, sequenced with no rhyme or reason. Two of these are Priceless Collection (part of a jazz compilation series) and Collection. And there was a cheapo 20th Century Masters/Millenium Collection edition as well. None of them completely covers what radio was playing from these albums, and none include non-album tracks. At least the Warner Best Of includes one bonus track.
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  7. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I totally agree with you about Stevie wonder and I consider The musicquarium album to be one of the very best Stevie wonder albums around I also like I ain't gonna stand for it and the Ballad" Send one your love" the latter is One of my all time favorite ballads and I totally agree with you about Universal's treatment of the Yellow jackets I have a few of the Warner bros releases and only 2 MCA CDS ( the latter albums which I like best Four Corners and their followup Politics) before When Universal Bought GRP they moved all the jazz artists from MCA To GRP and sadly GRP's slow demise began and when they began to issue Their best of "Collection" series in retrospect it was just a sign of what was coming
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  8. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Agreed and An Excellent observation you make A Great point
  9. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    One of the worst compilation albums I've ever seen is ''You're The Inspiration: The Peter Cetera Collection", spanning the years of his solo career from the mid-80s when he left Chicago on up to 1997. So why was "Glory of Love", arguably his BIGGEST solo hit, not included in this collection? It was on the very same album (Solitude/Solitaire) with "The Next Time I Fall", so it's not as if it were obscure. What kind of 'collection' or 'hits' album omits the artist's biggest hit?
    Bobberman likes this.
  10. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Maybe not charting hits, but radio hits...I've never seen a compilation CD of Ramsey Lewis's Columbia recordings that includes both "Sun Goddess" and "Tequila Mockingbird" which received a lot of jazz radio airplay locally. (I haven't looked in recent years in case they remedied that.) But that was frustrating. I ended up getting the Sun Goddess album plus the Electric Collection compilation to cover the bases.

    On Vinyl at least it is better. This one covers the tunes I was interested in.


    In addition to the two tunes, it has "Hot Dawgit" (from Sun Goddess) plus "Brazilica." All of these have an Earth Wind & Fire connection; Larry Dunn wrote and produced "Tequila Mockingbird," where Maurice White and Charles Stepney had a hand in the others. This is the album they should have issued on CD.

    This record was part of a series of Columbia best-of releases back in the day. Same motif for each jacket--the brown paperboard backing, with the black and red ink with gold highlights and monochromatic photos.
  11. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I remember this series I had a cassette version of the Lee ritenour entry which covered his first 2 or 3 Albums on the Epic I wore the tape out but fortunately I was able to obtain the all important First course album on CD which was Rit's first album as leader I have yet to find Captain fingers which was his followup as for Ramsey Lewis I have many of his songs one of my most favorites is his cover of " That's the way of the world" very true to the original EW&F version yet He Puts his own unique stamp on it
  12. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I have 3 compilations that I have played repeatedly over the years and are among my favorites. "Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits Vol 1", "Patsy Cline 12 Greatest Hits", and The Ultimate Bobby Darin; I just love that song Beyond The Sea :)! As far as one I don't care for that much is a vinyl copy of "The Eagles Greatest Hits" that belongs to my sister-in-law (I'm going to make it a point to return it to her next time I see her). Those songs have been done to death!
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  13. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    Alabama "Greatest Hits" (from 1986) is a bad compilation. Check out "The Essential" or "For The Record" instead. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
  14. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    "Best of" and "Greatest Hits" are two different categories, or should be. "Best of" is useful for acts that haven't had enough chart hits to fill an album, but have some good material. "Greatest Hits" should be self-explanatory.

    One group that blurred the lines between the two was Bread, whose original BEST OF BREAD in 1973 was a side of six hits and a side of six B-sides and lesser singles.SEALS AND CROFTS GREATEST HITS two years later went for only 10 tracks and five of them were hits or at least moderately successful singles.

    For sheer hit-after-hit value, it's hard to beat CHICAGO's GREATEST HITS (Chicago IX), THEIR GREATEST HITS (1971-1975) by the Eagles, the first ELTON JOHN GREATEST HITS and the aforementioned Carpenters SINGLES 1969-73.
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  15. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Another I haven't mentioned is The Best of Earth Wind & Fire, Vol. 1. It not only gets the best of the hits and album tracks up to that point, it also adds three non-album tracks--the big hit "September" (recorded during the I Am sessions), "Got To Get You Into My Life" (from the Sgt Pepper film trainwreck), and "Love Music" which hasn't appeared anywhere else (surprisingly, not even on the Eternal Dance 3-CD box set). It was my introduction to EW&F and got me hooked.

    Isn't there some used record store joke, where that Eagles Greatest Hits record multiplies mysteriously in the dollar bins? :laugh: Radio killed the Eagles so much that I can't even bring myself to get a compilation of theirs.
    I have the Patsy on an Analogue Productions 2-LP 45 RPM set that sounds fantastic.
    Bobberman likes this.
  16. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I Agree about That Eagles Greatest Hits album Everybody and their brother had that one and Radio Overplayed them even after they broke up the first time
  17. (among the BEST):
    Beatles '67-'70; Stones' "Hot Rocks '64-'71"; The Rascals' "Time Peace"; John Lennon's "Shaved Fish"; "Elvis' Golden Records Vol. 3"; ALL the CCR "Chronicles"; Three Dog Night "Golden Bisquits".

    (among the WORST):
    "The Best of George Harrison" (1976); Stones' "Metamorphosis"; "Golden Greats of The Monkees" (1969); and -I'm sure- others that I wouldn't even be bothered to seek out.
  18. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Hot Rocks was a good compilation--I am barely a fan of the Stones, and I find that both Hot Rocks sets (with More Hot Rocks) covers all I'll ever want, plus the Rewind compilation that covers their years on their own label.
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  19. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I totally agree the Stones comps you mentioned plus my favorite album the 1966 US version of aftermath on London records pretty much covers all the Stones I want
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  20. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    One of my prized CDs is the London Hot Rocks 1 CD that was released around 1985, which has the stereo versions of the tracks vs. the mono. (The discs were released separately, vs. being released as a 2-CD set.) Even if they weren't intended to be released in stereo, it's a neat listen. And pretty good sounding for an early CD release, actually.
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  21. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I didn't think of the Chicago and Doobies collections that Rood mentioned - they are indeed really good compilations.

    My favorite Stones one is the relatively-recent Forty Licks - it has 40 songs on it that span their career and it hits most of the high points.

    I totally agree about radio killing the Eagles. To this day when I hear...well virtually anything off of that first hits album they released, I want to change the station. If it happens to be "Lyin' Eyes" I am possibly more tempted to poke my eardrums out.

    One band that hasn't had a really well-done compilation is Fleetwood Mac. They had Greatest Hits, which was good but was polluted with non-hits, and then they had The Very Best Of, which only included their superstar-era songs. They did have a four-disk box set, but that one contained "remixes" or "alternate" versions of many songs, and crammed the representation of their early career (pre-Buckingham/Nicks) onto the 4th disk, and therefore left out a lot of great songs. Besides, it's out of print now anyway. They really need TWO good comps; the existing Very Best Of, and another one covering the pre-Buckingham/Nicks years. I already made myself one, which I titled "Class of '70s," which is one of my favorite comps to play.

    Of course, talk of "proposed comps" is borderline moot, since the record companies are probably "thisclose" to stopping making new compilation albums anyway. They'll probably just throw all an artist's tracks onto iTunes, Apple Music, Prime and Spotify and call it good.
    Bobberman likes this.
  22. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I think We all can and have done our own comps in many forms over the years and sometimes we do much better than the labels tend to do I know many people ( including myself) who preferred to make their own Comps instead of buying Them because they had all the regular discographies and preferred the album versions instead of the single edits but it can work both ways as I mentioned some comps will sneak in a cut from an out of print album ( some of Herb Alperts A&M Comps and others come to mind) it differs for each person preferences and mileage will vary of course
  23. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Good point--I don't know of a good Fleetwood Mac compilation either. Has any of them ever included "Hypnotized?" It may not have been a chart hit, but radio played it often enough that listeners knew it. Their compilations seem to be like others I've seen--they load it heavy with one hit-making period and then throw in a couple of strays from earlier and/or later.

    I remember it took Prince a while to get a good compilation out--it ended up as a 3-CD set. The Hits/The B-Sides. Thing is, the B-sides disc was the one that everyone really wanted, as his B-sides were unique in that those are what often drove us to buy the singles, not the A-sides (which we already had on the albums). Any time he'd release a 12-inch single, we'd be running out to buy it just to own the B-side, before they would sell out. Some of his greatest were B-sides, like "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" and "Gotta Stop (Messin' About)" which around here got as much airplay as the official hits. The latter, in fact, is what cued me into the scarcity of his singles after about a year or so after release--after realizing it wasn't an album track, I finally tracked down the 12-inch and bought it, the last one I've ever seen anywhere, even to this date.
  24. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    Here in California, the Eagles are still huge. "Hotel California" is in power rotation on every Classic Hits and Classic Rock station in the state.
  25. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Unfortunately it's still overkilled here as well. It's like a bad rash that won't go away.

    Even Steely Dan took a shot at the Eagles in the tune "Everything You Did" from Royal Scam. "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening." :laugh: (The legend is that Walter Becker's girlfriend played their records constantly, and he wrote this line after a fight they'd had. The song itself is about being cheated on.)

    And the favor was returned in "Hotel California": ""They stab it with their steely knives but they just can't kill the beast."
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