The greatest Greatest Hits collection

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So what's the best single-artist "Greatest Hits" collection ever? To qualify, I think the record should not only be chock full of great songs that are sequenced properly, it should also serve as the only full-length by the artist you need. But feel free to disregard the last part if you like. Your favorites?

Mark Richardson, Thursday, 1 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

this is the only greatest hits compilations i own that i listen to more than never: the best of gene loves jezebel. its my fav because it contains songs from their first 2 albums which im pretty sure are out of print (theyre hard as hell to find). which, by the way, is fucking insane, because its obviously the best shit they ever recorded. then of course it has desire and jealous, and some other shit. but its my favorite, just for the first 8 songs or so.

matt, Thursday, 1 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Even though it risks me having this conversation for the eighth time with Ally, I'd pick Madonna's Immaculate Collection. Not only is almost every song a winner (excepting the last one), I think the sequencing is illuminating and not too jarring, too. Now the controversial bit - especially FTwise - is, is this the only Madge record you need? A very strong case could be made for "Like A Prayer" but otherwise I'd say yes. So there.

Oh! Oh! Half of it is duff but you don't need any other records by them now it's come out, so I'd say the Best Of Blur, too. An MP3 of Popscene is perhaps of historical interest.

Tom, Thursday, 1 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

But Tom, Blur totally ruin For Tomorrow with a horrid remix, and it has Music is my Radar on it. That alone should disqualify it from having the words "Best" associated with it.

As a rule I don't really care for "Best Of" albums.

Nicole, Thursday, 1 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I avoided best-of comps like the plague, mostly, until Tom's pernicious influence. I still don't really buy them much, but now I actually ask myself if I should, when I am looking at an artist that's new to me. I think the Doors' best-of does a fine job, but then since I've never heard any of their albums I don't really know what I'm missing.

Josh, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hot Rocks ranks as a classic in its own right, although neither is the sequence tremendous, nor is it the only Stones album that you'll ever need.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Probably Squeeze's GH. If we're going to assume popularity, The Eagles GH is probably right up there.

The problem with Hot Rocks is that you're missing "She's A Rainbow" and "Angie," and you miss the whole Goat's Head Soup/Exile on Main Street album period.

D-damn man, didn't you read the prompt?

Besides, as per Bruce McCulloch,

"Greatest Hits comps are for old women and little girls..."

JM, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hmmm... not sure if these are *all* you need to own, but... 'Changes' 1&2 by David Bowie, 'Songs to Learn and Sing' by Echo and the Bunnymen and 'Discography' by the Pet Shop Boys.

Stevie Troussé, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Glen Campbell's 20 Golden Greats. More comprehensive that The Capitol Years, and less po-facedly aimed at muso's twenty years after. It also has an appalling cover, and a terrible coda of Amazing Grace at the end which suggests that this is all this artist will ever amount to. But the mid-sides highlights of "Where's The Playground Susie" and "Witchita Lineman" would prop up any flagging collection of twenty - count-em - golden greats.

It is also quite possibly the first album I ever heard - as my mother was an avid duster to "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife" on her cassette version when I was three (the cassette version really spoiled the awful cover as the heart shaped vinyl motife was squeezed to look like a licourice allsort). I bought it for a quid.

Pete, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

But Josh,

Which 'the Doors best of' are you referring to? Last time I checked the Doors were well on the way to releasing more greatest hits, anthologies and live retrospectives than original albums. It seems as if they have elipsed this format by some nasty postmodern mediation. (increasing the case with the Beatles if anyone hasn't noticed!)

Michael, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

"Singles Going Steady" - Buzzcocks . Although you obviously need everything they ever did too. The Monkees greatest hits (on Rhino, not a cheapo issue)is pop heaven, and may be all most people need to own. Not me though.

Dr. C, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

And how could I forget 'Abba Gold'? 20 songs, 18 or so excellent, 4 or 5 among the best pop singles ever...and every single one of the actual albums is rubbish!* How did they do it?

*actually their last one is pretty good.

Tom, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

the chills greatest hits (not kalediscope world, the later one) is a pretty flawless summation of their small, perfectly formed ouevre.and it has proper top ten hits on it and everything .

cw, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

The problem with _Discography_ is that it isn't _Alternative_. Combining those two together in a 3-disc box set would be absolutely perfect for me.

Personally, I'm very happy with Duran Duran's _Decade_, even if it is missing "Come Undone". Also, _The Best Of Blondie_ is great.

(I don't have _The Best of Blur_, but "Music Is My Radar" could only make it better. I almost bought the damn thing solely for that song.)

Dan Perry, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Nicole - the "Primrose Hill" mix of For Tomorrow, aka the 'farty brass' mix, is way better than the album version - it was one of the key things that made me buy the Best Of, cause I remembered it so well from my old cassingle (sniff). The big brass lead-in really accentuates the spoken bit, which is the best thing about the track by a league.

Tom, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Tom, the problem with Immaculate Collection is two-fold. Firstly, they leave out too many good, bona-fide hits, and for what? A needlessly longer mix of Vogue and that awful Rescue Me? And I could've done with the original version of Like a Prayer. Secondly, the sequencing IS jarring; Live to Tell should never be stuck next to Into the Groove on any compilation. It just sounds sloppy.

Anyhow, I nearly exclusively deal in greatest hits, sometimes, because it's just a lot easier than buying a pile of crap albums to hear like 2 songs. ABBA Gold, obviously, you need; St. Etienne's Too Young To Die is fantastic; Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits is really the only album by him you NEED (though I'd recommend others), despite its willfull and unfortunate leaving out of Rosalita; New Order's best of is really the only New Order album I listen to; same goes for Blondie's The Platinum Collection. I'd also give marks to Blur's best of, even though half of it is crap, because it allows me to rid myself of the rest of their albums finally. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz's greatest hits is good because Lenny is definitely a singles artist, so if you just skip over American Woman and Fly Away you've got a good time on your hands. There are 10,000 Beatles' best ofs, so you should get one of those for historical sake really, and if you get the right one you really don't need more than that.

Ally, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

There's only one anwser and Tom already gave it, ABBA Gold, the pinnacle of Western Civilization. The Kate Bush Greatest Hits is also pretty good, though I prefer the albums.

Omar, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

mmm, if I remember well, Q Magazine published a list of this kind not a long time ago... Still, the best "best of" is "Singles" by The Smiths... "Strictly Commercial" by Frank Zappa is also a good pick although is far from being complete...

Vaudeville, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Don't believe in "Greatest Hits". Well, maybe you could take exception in the case of something/someone like, er, Abba which did a few good songs but everyone forgets they made a load of shite.

The Smiths' "Singles" wasn't bad, especially after Best Of 1 and 2, which was bloody awful. Not to mention replacing Morrissey's cover design outside of North America. Happily "Singles" had his design, a nice picture of Diana Dors and with "Louder Than Bombs" was a better "Best Of" than the offical one was.

Phil Paterson, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Michael, I wasn't aware there was more than one Doors best-of. I mean the one I own, naturally. :)

Josh, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Definitely Blur: The Best Of, even if music is my radar is on it. But then you also need a live version of popscene, as any of these easily beat the actual studio version. The Primrose Hill mix of For Tomorrow, incidentally, has always been the one played live, and wasn't it just the 12" version anyway? Whatever, it's better.

Madonna's Immacualte Collection, plus Frozen and Beautiful Stranger, two bona fide pop classics if you ask me.

...Finally, Abba Gold. Most of these are classics, but you need 'The Visitors' on there as well. The way it builds up into the chorus is just amazingly good.

I'd say a Beatles compilation, but basically, none of the many do them justice, it's just not possible to compile one that would please everyone. (And I genuinely believe that, whatever people may say, most people like the Beatles at least a little)

Just adding to the consensus here...


Bill, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

19 Years: A Collection which is the rhino comp for Alex Chilton, is better than any single Chilton album, and certainly the only way to explain what the hell his later career was all about. Includes Nighttime, Bangkok, No Sex, Lost My Job, Volare, and Like Flies on Sherbert -- between whicn Alex's vision emerges.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

19 Years: A Collection which is the rhino comp for Alex Chilton, is better than any single Chilton album, and certainly the only way to explain what the hell his later career was all about. Includes Nighttime, Bangkok, No Sex, Lost My Job, Volare, and Like Flies on Sherbert -- between which Alex's vision emerges.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Spandau Ballet's Golden Collection ;-)

simon, Sunday, 4 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

"Fossil Fuel" - XTC. All the singles from a great singles band. For the casual bystander all you need from Swindon's finest - although all the albums except Big Express (overproduction, few songs), Oranges and Lemons (too slick) and Nonsuch (very dull), are worth having.

Dr. C, Sunday, 4 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Abba Gold seems unbeatable, with the critera I've established here. Also worth a mention for me is The Beach Boys' _Endless Summer_ (yeah, yeah, you gotta have _Pet Sounds_ [which I do] but for most people this is all the BB you need, all the good shit right up through "Good Vibrations"). Also, Elvis Costello's early American _Best Of_, released some time in the mid-80s (when he left Columbia, I think) has recently been the only thing by him I ever want to put on.

Josh, if the Doors you speak of is the 2-CD thing, quit while you're ahead. That's all the Doors you need. Sad but true story: As a teenager, I loved the Doors like every good American. I had that 2-CD Best Of. I liked it so much I thought I'd love the whole Doors catalog. So I sold the Best-of and went about acquiring the 6 studio albums. I bought all those, got very sick of the Doors, and in my early 20s sold all six. Now I have no Doors at all. Hence the wisdom of quitting while you're ahead.

Mark Richardson, Sunday, 4 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Abba Gold and Too Young To Die.

And if we *have* to go on to the Beatles, then go for the Red and Blue Albums, which between them contain all 27 tracks which ended up on that abomination known as "One", but which also contain a good few tracks that don't get so many daytime plays on Capital Gold :). (well, "I Am The Walrus", which is the one that really matters, though the Blue Album chooses appallingly from Abbey Road). The only Beatles repackagings worth even considering owning.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 5 February 2001 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

two years pass...

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Tuesday, 10 June 2003 19:46 (seventeen years ago) link

six months pass...
"Ramones Mania"
"The Best of Booker T. and the MGs"
"Al Green's Greatest Hits"

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Tuesday, 16 December 2003 21:30 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...
Saw this and found it kinda hilarious:

1. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...) - Lou Bega
2. Macarena - Los Del Rios
3. Chan Chan - Buena Vista Social Club
4. Frenesi - Linda Ronstadt
5. Theme from "Harry's Game" - Clannad
6. Over the Rainbow
7. Barcelona Nights - Ottmar Liebert
8. Valse d'Amelie - Yann Tiersen
9. Bomboleo - Gipsy Kings
10. Pata Pata - Miriam Makeba
11. Jump in the Line - Harry Belafonte
12. Swingin' the Mambo - Tito Puente
13. Soul Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones & His Orchestra
14. Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
15. Hot! Hot! Hot! - Arrow
16. Grazing in the Grass - Hugh Masekela
17. Mais Que Nada - Sergio Mendes
18. Oye Como Va - Santana

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Monday, 15 May 2006 03:04 (fourteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
the cure - standing on a beach

of course definitely not the only one you need, but i need it as well as the others if only for 'charlotte sometimes'. it's a concise song collection, perfect to throw on for a party and obviously has no lemons.

i like my al green, nina simone, and billie holiday greatest hits collections too.

i also quite like the best of testament :) though you probably don't 'need' it per se.

the best of blur actually misses a couple of my fave singles from them ('chemical world' and 'stereotypes'), though the high ratio of parklife tracks is appropriate.

there is also the best of inxs, which i'd wholeheartedly recommend.

used songs by tom waits is a great collection, but fuck man you need them all.

Charlie Howard, Saturday, 14 April 2007 18:09 (thirteen years ago) link

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Tim Ellison, Saturday, 14 April 2007 18:19 (thirteen years ago) link

Pulp's Hits is marred slightly by a few omissions ("O.U." and "Mis-Shapes") and I've never been all that keen on "A Little Soul," but it's pretty awesome nonetheless. And it's the rare "Best of" where the new track ("Last Day of the Miners' Strike") is not only great, but also feels like a fitting close to their career. I don't know if someone would want to live without "She's a Lady," "I Spy," "Wickerman," et al. though.

David Bachyrycz, Saturday, 14 April 2007 19:30 (thirteen years ago) link


lex pretend, Saturday, 14 April 2007 19:39 (thirteen years ago) link

Partly because of the spottiness of many of his studio albums and partly because of the brilliance of the 'hits,' Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits is pretty much all you need.

NYCNative, Saturday, 14 April 2007 19:41 (thirteen years ago) link

Birthday Party - Hits

Go-Betweens - 1978-1990 (I've got all the 2 CD reissues and yet this comp is what gets played)

Iggy Pop - Anthology (eliminates all the dross and is a welcome expansion over the single disc best of)

Mr. Odd, Saturday, 14 April 2007 20:00 (thirteen years ago) link

All This And Nothing: Psychedelic Furs

Doesn't have everything you need from their 2nd record, but is still one of the best greatest hits records ever. The song recorded for the comp, "All That Money Wants" is my favorite song by them ever.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 14 April 2007 22:43 (thirteen years ago) link

All This And Nothing: Psychedelic Furs

This was my first Psych Furs album and I agree it's great all the way through, but _Should God Forget_ expands it to two discs and picks all the great tracks from their last two underrated albums.

Mr. Odd, Sunday, 15 April 2007 07:24 (thirteen years ago) link

Stoned Soul Picnic - Laura Nyro

2 CDs cover an amazing 30-year career, the "recent" stuff (late 90's) every bit as essential as the first songs...

henry s, Sunday, 15 April 2007 20:23 (thirteen years ago) link

two months pass...

Steely Dan's Greatest Hits may not delete the need to buy the actual albums but is probably the greatest collection of songs in existence.

Close second, Merle Haggard's "Songs I'll Always Sing".

mulla atari, Monday, 18 June 2007 03:28 (thirteen years ago) link

i'm listening to the cult's 'pure cult' thingie. pretty damn good. needs 'aphrodisiac jacket' and a few more, but i guess they weren't singles...

Charlie Howard, Monday, 18 June 2007 09:05 (thirteen years ago) link

Thread should have been closed after Dr C's choice of the Buzzcocks 'Singles Going Steady' way up there somewhere. As far as GH go, it doesn't get better than this.

Guilty_Boksen, Monday, 18 June 2007 12:31 (thirteen years ago) link

"Once Upon A Time", Siouxsie and the Banshees, is great.

koogs, Monday, 18 June 2007 12:41 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah, Buzzcocks for me too. Chief competition would be Sly & the Family Stone and CCR. (Greatest non-existent GH = Bob Seger's)

Myonga Vön Bontee, Monday, 18 June 2007 18:04 (thirteen years ago) link

Not The Beatles, simply because any "Greatest Hits" by The Beatles is automatically bound to be devoid of most of the great stuff they did.

Out of the ones not mentioned, Madness had a very strong run of singles.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 18 June 2007 23:17 (thirteen years ago) link

And then there's Bob Marley's "Legend" too. Has been voted best "best of" a lot of times although personally I really don't think it worked out until all those extra tracks were added for the rather recent special edition.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 18 June 2007 23:17 (thirteen years ago) link

maybe not the greatest ever but a pretty cool collection

gman, Wednesday, 20 June 2007 05:03 (thirteen years ago) link is awesome

abanana, Wednesday, 20 June 2007 05:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Siegbran, Wednesday, 20 June 2007 07:19 (thirteen years ago) link

Is there really no AC/DC greatest hits/best of? AMG doesn't list one, nor does Amazon. How odd.

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 20 June 2007 11:37 (thirteen years ago) link

its one of those comps where the extra tracks do a good job of feeling like a natural part of the bands history & catalog, rather than seeming like value-added bonus tracks dug up to sell the comp

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Thursday, 1 October 2020 20:01 (five months ago) link

gotta say I really love those greatest hits/anthology comps that are half hits/great album tracks and half B-sides, unreleased and rare stuff. like The Kink Kronikles or Sound of Science by Beastie Boys. what other comps are like that?

― frogbs, Thursday, October 1, 2020 9:05 AM (three hours ago)

Eno Box I & II

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 1 October 2020 20:01 (five months ago) link

Early '90s CD era was good for those 2-discers. Legacy was on a roll: The Legend of Paul Revere; Poco's The Forgotten Trail; Moby Grape's Vintage and Spirit's Time Circle come to mind.

Not to mention Rhino's Anthology sets, particularly the Sparks installment.

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 1 October 2020 20:02 (five months ago) link

I thought I had mentioned the Sparks one in this thread, guess not. Yeah, it hits pretty much all the high points (at that time) of a long and varied career.

Lately I’ve been playing ZZ Top’s Rancho Texicano a lot. Does a similarly great job, and I like the way it divides between the straight ahead blues rock on disc 1 and the MTV years on disc 2. Listening to the latter as I type!

Orson Well Yeah (Dan Peterson), Friday, 2 October 2020 03:41 (five months ago) link

Biograph was right in this mold, tho it's a big ol' box set

In terms of unreleased material, it seemed a little stingy, especially when Ten of Swords came out around the same time.

But to be fair, "I'll Keep It With Mine," "Percy's Song," "Lay Down Your Weary Tune," "Quinn the Eskimo," "You're a Big Girl Now," "Abandoned Love," "Up To Me" and the Dec. 4, 1975 performances of "Romance in Durango" and "Isis" were indeed lost classics that SHOULD have been released soon after they were recorded.

"Baby, I'm in the Mood for You," "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and the "Forever Young" demo were all pretty good, very enjoyable.

The live 1966 cuts of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "I Don't Believe You" and "Visions of Johanna" were great, but not really the best representation of that epochal tour in terms of performance and song selection (for starters, two acoustic performances and just one electric?) - they really should have put out the Free Trade Hall or the Liverpool show in their entirety much earlier.

The heavily edited "Jet Pilot," "Caribbean Wind" and the live "Heart of Mine" were poor choices. "Caribbean Wind" was especially disappointing because it is definitely a great lost song, but they picked a thoroughly crappy version plagued by bad rewrites, a bad arrangement and a bad performance - they should have used the live version (the only live performance it's ever gotten), which was finally included in the Trouble No More Bootleg Series installment.

birdistheword, Friday, 2 October 2020 05:44 (five months ago) link

In Australia this was the standard Dylan best-of for many 80s households, which has a bit of a grab-bag quality - leaning heavily towards the hits natch but some curious selections in there

umsworth (emsworth), Friday, 2 October 2020 10:21 (five months ago) link

Interesting. Here is a playlist of that as far as I can tell:

Erdős-szám 69 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 2 October 2020 12:01 (five months ago) link

You should definitely own at least the first four LPs as well, but Bjork's GH is a phenomenal album.

chap, Friday, 2 October 2020 12:18 (five months ago) link

agreed, it has brilliant sequencing and choice of tracks

好 now 烧烤 (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 2 October 2020 12:20 (five months ago) link

apparently the sequence is the results of the online fan poll that chose the tracks, in descending order?? don't remember that factoid, wow.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 2 October 2020 12:24 (five months ago) link

apparently the sequence is the results of the online fan poll that chose the tracks, in descending order?? don't remember that factoid, wow.

Forgot about that poll, but that probably helped. While I'm at it, Kate Bush's The Whole Story is an excellent LP-sized compilation too. For anyone who needs a good introduction or who's not entirely sold on Björk or Kate Bush, those compilations pretty much hit the spot.

Re: some of the curious selections on Dylan's Biograph, I noticed later on that some of them were originally released as singles, which may explain why there were picked for the box set. It's too bad because sometimes when the label needed to put out a single, they didn't pick great much less the best songs from the respective albums. So instead of "Going Going Gone," we get both sides of the single for Planet Waves which also happen to be two of the most disposable songs on there, "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine" instead of "Highway 61 Revisited" from Before the Flood, etc.

birdistheword, Friday, 2 October 2020 16:49 (five months ago) link

I’ve been jamming Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits album (the green album cover with the flower) and it really is fucking incredible. Just killer pop song after killer pop song all the way through.

Mr. Snrub, Saturday, 3 October 2020 01:50 (five months ago) link

^ college dorm room staple

calstars, Saturday, 3 October 2020 02:15 (five months ago) link

That Dylan Masterpieces collection is a lot of fun.

Erdős-szám 69 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 October 2020 03:10 (five months ago) link

calstars, Saturday, 3 October 2020 11:29 (five months ago) link

my man

assert (MatthewK), Saturday, 3 October 2020 11:54 (five months ago) link

While exploring Thin Lizzy, I came across this compilation.

(Hoping this image displays properly:)

Originally released in 1981, I believe it's the first hits/best-of that was authorized by Lynott, and it fell out-of-print a long time ago, never getting a reissue during the CD era or later. A shame because I really dig the cover - far better than the unimaginative cookie-cutter designs that were for the posthumous compilations.

I wasn't entirely sold on Thin Lizzy - their recording career feels wildly uneven - but outside of their celebrated live double-LP and Jailbreak, this might be the best place to hear them first. It feels like their best, most concise LP-length compilation. Great introduction and a great summation.

birdistheword, Saturday, 3 October 2020 22:42 (five months ago) link

The cover concept is a good idea, but I’m not sold on the “multiple equine asscrack” execution.

I Hate the Aedes (morrisp), Saturday, 3 October 2020 22:52 (five months ago) link

Hah! Now that I think about it, I guess those aren't rocks, and they're not getting kicked up.

birdistheword, Saturday, 3 October 2020 23:15 (five months ago) link

One that people don’t usually think of is Bob Marley - Legend

― All cars are bad (Euler)

Geir did 13 years ago in this thread.

I think I agree with Legend. Marley is quite frankly the most recognized figure worldwide in reggae music and the album everyone seems to own is Legend.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 3 October 2020 23:51 (five months ago) link

it should also serve as the only full-length by the artist you need. But feel free to disregard the last part if you like.

It may be interesting to focus on this particular criterion. Though I guess you’d have to set a certain bar, to exclude obvious/inarguable cases of one/two/three-hit wonders, etc.

I Hate the Aedes (morrisp), Sunday, 4 October 2020 01:41 (five months ago) link

(and I guess it would probably just turn into the usual round of, “Here’s another band I think sucks...”)

I Hate the Aedes (morrisp), Sunday, 4 October 2020 01:42 (five months ago) link

Btw - a great comp not mentioned on this thread (surprisingly, considering its vintage) is ESG’s A South Bronx Story.

I Hate the Aedes (morrisp), Sunday, 4 October 2020 01:55 (five months ago) link

Two posters mentioned the Go-Betweens - 1978-1990 above, but this is another compilation where the first disc is a greatest hits and the second is rarities, one side each chosen by Forster and McLennan.

Eric Weisbard in The Spin Alternative Record Guide says that this album "never leaves the stereos" of certain Go-Betweens fans who "become obsessive" for the band as the fans age out of "the conceptual games of alternative". It's a strange image of Go-Betweens worshippers superglueing their copies into the cassette deck.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 4 October 2020 22:54 (five months ago) link

Now I have the image of a really dense fan supergluing his CD in the tray, only to hear the motor grind to pieces when it fails to spin the disc for playback. But even in jest, that doesn't remotely align with the intellect of a Go-Betweens fan.

birdistheword, Sunday, 4 October 2020 23:22 (five months ago) link

These are some 1 or 2-disc compilations of artists (hits or otherwise) that have served me well as either all I need or something good enough to spin when I need a fix of their work:

Fats Domino - My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino (EMI)
The Carter Family - Wildwood Flower (Living Era)
Mississippi John Hurt - Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 OKeh Recordings (Columbia)
Blind Lemon Jefferson - The Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson (Yazoo)
Little Richard - The Georgia Peach (Specialty)
Ennio Morricone - The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music (Rhino)
ABBA - ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits (Polar)
Leonard Cohen - The Best of Leonard Cohen (Columbia)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology (Motown)

Hard to pick a favorite of those. Probably whichever I am listening to at that moment.

o. nate, Sunday, 4 October 2020 23:49 (five months ago) link

"The Best of Leonard Cohen" definitely checks all the boxes

enochroot, Monday, 5 October 2020 01:26 (four months ago) link

I have The Essential Leonard Cohen but i don't listen to it much. I usually listen to the first album or watch the Live in London DVD. The latter is probably my favorite Leonard Cohen.

birdistheword, Monday, 5 October 2020 01:42 (four months ago) link

Greatest Live Essential Best Hits

calstars, Monday, 5 October 2020 01:45 (four months ago) link

Greatest Live Essential Best Hits: The Anthology

birdistheword, Monday, 5 October 2020 01:47 (four months ago) link

is meaty, beaty big & bouncy still the best who compilation? there's quite a few others (i think i've owned at least three besides that one), but it's hard to argue with the selection, and it flows pretty well.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 5 October 2020 05:39 (four months ago) link
This has emerged as my all time fave

rip van wanko, Monday, 5 October 2020 05:57 (four months ago) link

is meaty, beaty big & bouncy still the best who compilation?

I'd say yes. Not comprehensive obviously when it was released in 1970, but you can't find a more consistent and concise Who compilation. Great intro, and it doesn't lose much value if you start buying up the proper LP's (My Generation, A Quick One, Sell Out,Tommy,Leeds, Who's Next, etc.)

birdistheword, Monday, 5 October 2020 06:54 (four months ago) link

All my favourites already mentioned other than this early Stones album I stole from my dad.

As with 'Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy' it's a great sampler of everything good about a band up until just before they got a bit shit.

here we go, ten in a rona (onimo), Monday, 5 October 2020 07:45 (four months ago) link

either of the Girls Aloud compilations are a) cheap from your local charity shop b) bloody wonderful

thomasintrouble, Monday, 5 October 2020 07:59 (four months ago) link

carissas wierd - 'they'll only miss you when you leave'
pixies - wave of mutilation
neil young - decade
the cribs - payola

maelin, Monday, 5 October 2020 17:20 (four months ago) link

Haven't heard every Moloko album, but based on those I have, Catalogue pretty much leaves them in the dust.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Monday, 5 October 2020 19:30 (four months ago) link

I like when they're not comprehensive and can function as their own listening experience.

Elton John "Greatest Hits" and ChangesOneBowie are a good template for how to do this. Starting with their breakthrough hit and covering the next 4-5 years, they also include a couple not-so-famous choices that fit well in the sequencing. And they both work as a snapshot of their career until that point, before they later would score a dozen more hits and earn their "volume two."

billstevejim, Monday, 5 October 2020 20:01 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

The Essential Taj Mahal. I don’t know lots about him, but this contains all the “hits” I knew of, and with two discs I don’t have an urgent need to research his dozens of other albums.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Monday, 19 October 2020 23:30 (four months ago) link

And it’s really good!

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Monday, 19 October 2020 23:35 (four months ago) link

I wonder who is the better judge of a greatest Greatest Hits:

- the expert who knows the entire oeuvre and can say, "this covers all you need to hear" or "this is the perfect introduction"

- the neophyte who says, "I am perfectly satisfied with this package and I feel no need to explore further"


Halfway there but for you, Monday, 19 October 2020 23:38 (four months ago) link

I have been both and often the latter turned into the former.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 20 October 2020 01:02 (four months ago) link


The first Nick Drake album I heard was the compilation Heaven in a Wild Flower, and having heard all of the other releases, including the archival ones, I still think it's a perfectly chosen and sequenced set. Ending with Time Has Told Me (the first song on his first album) rather than a Pink Moon or 1974 song gives it a regenerative aura.

On the other hand, I bought the Grand Funk Railroad Capitol Collector's Series CD twenty years ago, and enjoyed it all (except their terrible cover of Gimme Shelter), but never felt any need to go further. I do think Nick Drake is on a higher aesthetic level than GFR, though.

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 20 October 2020 14:58 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

I'm not the biggest prog fan - except for King Crimson, there are very few albums that I really enjoy from start-to-finish. Compilations can be tough due to the nature of the music, but there's two that almost stand out as favorites:

Classic Yes from 1981, compiled by bassist Chris Squire when they temporarily split. It was originally issued as a single LP with a bonus single - the '90s CD release put all nine tracks on one disc.

It's great, but Squire's own "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is a strange inclusion. (Maybe he wanted more royalties?) A better pick would've been "Going for the One" which was an egregious omission. Also a few substitutions were made where he replaced the studio versions with live recordings. Had he kept the original studio versions and included "Going for the One" this would've been a perfect summation of their best work and a flawless primer.

A three-CD set released in 2004 in the UK and 2005 in the US. The reverse chronological sequence was a bad idea, and most of it has been needlessly remixed to the music's detriment. But the selection on the last disc covering their earliest years with Peter Gabriel is close to perfect. "Watcher of the Skies" is a regrettable omission, but the disc is already at capacity. If they programmed a double LP with the same track list plus "Watcher of the Skies" in correct chronological order, it would be the definitive Gabriel-era collection. (Only ten tracks, but almost 90 minutes in running time.)

birdistheword, Saturday, 20 February 2021 23:06 (one week ago) link

I've heard both of these compilations, in fact Classic Yes (without the bonus single) might have been one of my first purchases. "The Fish" was often played on classic rock radio segued from "Long Distance Runaround", so it had some claim to popularity.

The last disc of the Genesis collection is pretty good, but "Counting Out Time" is my least favourite song they released between 1970 and 1974. Also, they fade out "Cinema Show" before the "Aisle of Plenty" reprise, which makes practical sense but feels completely interruptive.

I love both these groups too much to imagine confining myself to these track listings, but I can see how they would appeal to a non-fan.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 20 February 2021 23:20 (one week ago) link

yeah, for me Pete-era GEnesis is an albums act.

if you meh them, shut up (Neanderthal), Saturday, 20 February 2021 23:44 (one week ago) link

― mookieproof, Tuesday, November 29, 2016 9:52 PM (four years ago) bookmarkflaglink

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Saturday, 20 February 2021 23:51 (one week ago) link

After the Fact by Magazine is a great encapsulation of their work, and also the only one to feature liner note quotes from Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Paul Morley, who wrote the notes that quote Bruce, also wrote the notes for the Siouxsie and the Banshees compilation Once Upon a Time, mentioned above.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 21 February 2021 00:11 (one week ago) link

The last disc of the Genesis collection is pretty good, but "Counting Out Time" is my least favourite song they released between 1970 and 1974. Also, they fade out "Cinema Show" before the "Aisle of Plenty" reprise, which makes practical sense but feels completely interruptive.

Time constraints may have played a role, and they certainly limited their options. The much-longer "In the Cage" would be a better pick than "Counting Out Time" but that's an additional 5 minutes the disc doesn't have without dropping another track. (Would work on a double LP though.)

I love both these groups too much to imagine confining myself to these track listings, but I can see how they would appeal to a non-fan.

A fan will need the albums - if you're all in, you'll inevitably want the conceptual framework that comes with those songs. I think the last three with Gabriel and the first one (maybe two) with Collins taking over as frontman is usually cited as the essential works, but I haven't been able to enjoy them in their entirety. It took a LONG time to get into Genesis, they left me completely cold until I tried just the highlights. I may not be completely sold on them (yet), but I really like the highlights, which is what a good compilation should do as an entry point.

birdistheword, Sunday, 21 February 2021 00:54 (one week ago) link

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