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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Originally released in Canada on vinyl way back in 1985 "Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits" from Atlantic records remains the absolute best overview of Aretha Franklin during her peak years from 1967 through 1974. While her subsequent work for Arista in the eighties produced some fine singles, most of those lacked the edge, energy and intensity of these earlier recordings. Of the 30 songs included on this terrific collection all but two made the Billboard Hot 100. And of these a total of 14 were Top Ten tunes. Quite surprising to me was the fact that Aretha managed only one #1 pop hit during her career and that one--you guessed it--was her 1967 smash "Respect". The story was a bit different though on the Soul/R&B charts where Aretha had a total of 20 #1 singles during her phenomenol career. She was also a significant player on Billboard's Top Pop Album charts during this period. In all, more than 30 of Arethas albums would make the charts.

Atlantic has included everything you would expect to find on a collection of one of their most prolific and successful artists ever. I can think of no major omissions. And all are the original 45 rpm recordings you heard on the radio. Enjoy once again tunes like "Chain of Fools", "Think" and the rollicking "Since You've Been Gone". You will also hear the more mellow side of Aretha with tunes like "Day Dreaming" and her big one from 1973 "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)". Atlantic has provided an attractive booklet loaded with information and also presents the Billboard chart information on each and every tune. For collectors and fans of 1960's and 1970's popular music "Aretha Franklin: 30 greatest Hits" must be considered an essential. Very highly recommended.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
In this here today, gone today music industry of 2003, many people in their 20s and 30s probably look at Aretha Franklin as a singer who has been coasting the fame train on her hit Respect and not much more. Some probably even look at her as the Whitney, Mariah, Beyounce or Ashanti of her day. That would be wrong because Aretha is in a class by herself. During her artistic pinnacle in the 60s and 70s (an era of great rock/pop/soul music), few could top Franklin.
This CD is an excellent place to start for the greatness of Aretha. With the songs I'll Never Love A Man, Ain't No Way, Since You've Been Gone and others, Franklin's sullen phrasing evokes a woman in the throes of an anguished relationship. Although such themes are prevalent today, few singers wrench as much emotion out of their material. Aretha also takes material made famous by other artists and remakes them into her own. Of course in addition to Otis Redding's Respect, there is I Say A Little Prayer, Stevie Wonder's Until You Come Back to Me and Simon/Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. You will hit the repeat button for Don't Play That Song, a foot stomping, hand clapping remake of the old Ben E. King hit.
Although she is justifiably known for her singing and phrasing, Franklin was/is also an underrated piano player and songwriter. Check out Call Me, Spirit In The Dark and Day Dreaming. I wish today's young singers would look to Aretha's early material and take note. All the tracks on this double CD are winners.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I have owned this album (on tape) for the past 8 years. I have four daughters, the youngest two being almost four and two. When we get in the car they both insist that Aretha Franklin's 30 greates hits be played. Anything else is chopped liver.
Each of the cuts is a classic, but in particular the early hits from the 60's are unbelievable. Great arrangements, incredible singing, and the most wonderful playing by a diverse band of studio pros who are "above and beyond" in these performances. Something I hadn't initially realized about these performances is that the soulful and rich piano parts are played by....ARETHA!
Each of these cuts is marvelous, and the CD promises to be even better. There is nothing better in recorded music than the first ten songs on this CD, and though some of the later arrangements are not as powerful, they belong on the CD as part of the history of Aretha's development as an artist.
I have grown to appreciate the later works more--but of course, I listen to this album over and over. In fact, this week the tape wore out, which brought me here to buy another. If there were one CD you could listen to--and you couldn't listen to any other--I can tell you from experience that this is the ONE!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2002
This is an amazing collection of Aretha's artistry, unfortunatly the sound quality is quite awfull. I dont know if the problem was the original sources or the mastering onto CD but most of the songs sound muffled and weak. Aretha's voice is badly equalized, lost under the instruments and the chorus. The sound is fuzzy, not sharp, sort of what you get when you put a piece of cardboard over your speakers. As I said its a great collection, but due to the poor sound I rarely listen to it. This is a disc that merits a remastering procedure.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
You can't have too many Aretha Franklin LPs. The organic sound of her early records, combined with the greatest voice in Soul and Pop music, made for a string of records almost uniformly great.
30 GREATEST HITS sweeps through those years, and pulls up short before the embarrassing "Highway Of Love" years. Songs like "Call Me," "You're All I Need," and "Oh Me Oh My" are perfect gems that you may not have heard before, and "Until You Come Back To Me" is one of the all time great forgotten singles.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2000
You are stranded, either on an island, a hotel, or an airplane. You sure do want this by your side.
One of the greatest voices ever. Brought up in the Churchhouse, she then decided to bring her power to secular R & B. We sure ought to be glad she did.
Even now going on thrity years later, I recall the first time hearing "I Never Loved A Man" WOW! What powerful stuff. Ditto for "Natural Woman". This collection has them all.
How one could criticize her for recording the work of others in beyond me; because say what you will, The Queen has a style all her own. Whether doing her own signature pieces like "Spirit in the Dark" (which this album sagely has included twice: her studio version and the live version with Ray Charles from the "Live at the Filmore" album) or covering the songs of others "Bridge", "You're All I Need to Get By", she can turn out the house.
Buy this. As she says in "Respect", you'll give her her propers when you get home.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
In just under 100 minutes, this anthology collects nearly every Top 40 hit from Aretha's stint at Atlantic records from 1967 through 1979. Here's the rundown on what you get, including year of release and chart position:

1. "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (1967), Pop #1, R&B #1
2. "Respect" (1967), Pop #1, R&B #1
3. "Do Right Woman, DO Right Man" (B-side of No. 1 above), R&B #37
4. "Dr. Feelgood" (B-side of No. 2 above)
5. "Save Me" (not released as a single)
6. "Baby I Love You" (1967), Pop #4, R&B #1
7. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (1967), Pop #9, R&B #2
8. "Chain of Fools" (1967), Pop #2, R&B #1
9. "Since You've Been Gone" (1968), Pop #5, R&B # 1
10. "Ain't No Way" (B-side of No. 9 above), Pop #16, R&B #9
11. "Think" (1968), Pop #7, R&B #1
12. "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968), Pop #10, R&B # 3
13. "The House That Jack Built" (B-side of No. 12 above), Pop #10, R&B # 2
14. "See Saw" (1968), Pop #14, R&B # 9
15. "The Weight" (1969), Pop #19, R&B # 3
16. "Share Your Love with Me" (1969), Pop #13, Soul #1
17. "Eleanor Rigby" (1969), Pop #17, Soul # 5
18. "Call Me" (1970), Pop # 13, Soul #1
19. "Spirit in the Dark" (1970), Pop #23, Soul #3
20. "Don't Play That Song" (1970) Pop #11, Soul #1
21. "You're All I Need To Get By" (1971), Pop 19, Soul #3
22. Bridge over Troubled Water" (1971), Pop #6, Soul #1
23. "Spanish Harlem" (1971), Pop #2, Soul #1
24. "Rock Steady" (1971) Pop #9, Soul #2
25. "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)" (B-side of No. 24 above), Pop #73, Soul #2
26. "Day Dreaming" (1972), Pop #5, Soul #1
27. "Wholly Holly" (1972), Pop #81, Soul #49
28. "Angel" (1973), Pop #20, Soul # 1
29. "Until You Come Back to Me" (1973), Pop #3, Soul #1
30. "I'm in Love" (1974), Pop #19, Soul #1

While Aretha would be at Arista for five more years, she only had one other pop hit for the label--1976's "Something He Can Feel," which went Pop #28, Soul #1. Why it got left off this collection is puzzling, especially taking into account that this anthology was originally released in 1986.

I bought this on vinyl when it first came out and it's still a spectacular collection of her seminal work at Atlantic. Short of tracking down a copy of 1992's out-of-print QUEEN OF SOUL box set, this collection is a no-brainer. Every song is a gem and belongs in any serious music fan's collection. ESSENTIAL
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2000
If you are looking for the essential Aretha (and if you don't already have it, you certainly should be looking!), stop here. OK, boiling her Atlantic years down to 30 tracks definitely shorts this amazing woman, but the sound is great, the selection is great, and unless you want to shell out for the box set (on which all the '67-'68 classics are in mono, not stereo!), this is your choice.
Don't let the scarity of tracks scare you off. You won't be able to keep this out of your CD player. This woman deserves her crown. In terms of female soul singing, only Etta James can touch her. You should buy her collection (Essential) next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2000
I have been a fan of Aretha Franklin it seems all my life , but truth is I am only 5 years younger than Aretha. As I was reading the biography of Aretha I came to understand why this Queen of Song is so talented and special and why we as her fans love her so much. Why we don't get to see her in too many concerts because of her fear of flying. How she was brought up in the church and started her career at the tender age of 14. I have just about every alblum Aretha Franklin has made and I give each one of them a five star. Keep up the beautiful work Miss Queen of Soul I'll always be your fan and will continue to play your music and let it soothe my soul forever!
your fan, Kathy Ford
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you need validation of Aretha Franklin's legacy, look no further than this definitive collection of her best work recorded for Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1974. I have owned this two-disc set for over twenty years since its release in 1985, and I never tire of it. In fact, I return to it often and would have to conclude it to be one of my desert island selections. Teamed up with the equally legendary production team of Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin, she sparked magic on an amazingly consistent basis during this period. Before signing with Atlantic, Franklin recorded for Columbia but was erroneously being marketed as a jazz chanteuse. After Wexler's departure from Atlantic in 1974, her work, I feel, declined artistically, and Franklin's subsequent recordings with Arista, although more commercial, were not nearly as memorable.

Disc One opens appropriately with her first breakout hit, the heart-ripping "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You)". Then the onslaught of classics - her signature cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" which completely eclipses his version; the loping doo-wop of "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man"; the roof-raising take on Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"; the had-it-up-to-here anthem, "Chain of Fools". Her soulful covers of the Band's "The Weight" and the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" reflect her personal style without compromising the memory of the original performances. Franklin takes Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "I Say a Little Prayer" quite literally and converts it into a uniquely gospel-tinged love song of longing and regret. Her soaring vocals on potentially inane confections such as "See Saw" and "The House That Jack Built" elevate their substance significantly.

Disc Two continues the hits with particular standouts being a near-inspirational version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's classic, "You're All I Need to Get By"; an almost hymnal version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and the cruising "Spanish Harlem". My personal favorites are her dramatic cover of Lulu's 1969 hit, "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)"; the appropriately named "Day Dreaming"; and her last big Atlantic hit, Stevie Wonder's "Until You Come Back to Me" with a playfully sauntering melody an intriguing contrast to its obsession-oriented lyrics. But honestly, there is not a single disappointment among the thirty tracks here and some, especially the religion-fueled numbers like "Wholly Holy" and "Spirit in the Dark", are simply transcendent. This set is the one to own.
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