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Greatest Hits
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369 of 379 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
One thing is for certain about Earth Wind and Fire - There is no shortage of compilations of their greatest hits out there. From an initial scan of looking at their discography, I was able to come up 8 main ones - and I'm sure there are others in terms of imports and obsolete collections. Some of these greatest hits are specialized collections while others are dated. This CD, "Earth Wind and Fire Greatest Hits" is one of these 8. I'll discuss how this particular set stands out, but first I think it's appropriate to go through some of the other Earth Wind and Fire collections to make you aware of what is out there.

1."Earth Wind and Fire Greatest Hits Volume 1": This was a very popular set from 1978s. It features the debut of the classic song "September" and the release of Earth Wind and Fire's cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life"

2."Earth Wind and Fire Greatest Hits Volume 2": This does feature songs from EWF that were released after Volume 1 as well as other songs not included on Volume 1. It also features the song "Fantasy" that was found on Volume 1.

3."Super Hits": A limited set 10 track set that isn't entirely devoted to the big time EWF hits.

4."The Essential Earth Wind and Fire": Notice how greatest hits albums are now being called "Essential". This is actually a pretty comprhensive 2 disc set. The first disc contains 20 studio tracks and the second disc contains 13 remixes.

5."Let's Groove": The Best of Earth Wind and Fire: A 17 track Collection that focuses on EWF's dance songs.

6."Elements of Love: The Ballads": A 14 track collection focusing on the softer, ballad songs of EWF.

7."The Eternal Dance": A Comprhensive 3 disc boxed set that contains also contains some unreleased and live tracks.

"Earth Wind and Fire: Greatest Hits" is one of the better compilations that has been released. It isn't as comprehensive as "The Essential" or "The Eternal Dance". However it is important to note that even those comprehensive collections are not all-inclusive of the material that is found on "Greatest Hits". The song "Gratitude" that is on "Greatest Hits" is not found on "The Essential" or "The Eternal Dance". "Serpentine Fire", "Kalimba Story", and "Can't Hide Love" (original studio version) are all found on "Greatest Hits" but not found on "The Essential". The dated "Volume 1" collection contains a song "Love Music" not found on "Greatest Hits". Therefore, it is safe to say that one collection isn't going to encompass everything.

However, although "Greatest Hits" doesn't include everything - it isn't a bad place to start. If a casual fan is looking to get started with Earth Wind and Fire - they are going to get 17 very good tracks that cover Earth Wind and Fire's peak period from the mid 70s through 1981. This collection doesn't contain any new studio cuts or remix variants, so what you are going to get are a nice selection of some of EWF's best works. One thing that does disappoint is the arrangement of the songs on the CD. I usually prefer my greatest hits CD to be in chronological order. In the case of "Greatest Hits", it doesn't go in chronological order and as a result this is a disappointment.

This collection does contain some older works by EWF - including the funkish "Kalimba Story" and the horn-based "Mighty Mighty". These songs are from the 1974's "Open Our Eyes" release. Also included are songs casual fan may not be as familar with: "Can't Hide Love"; "Gratitude"; "Serpentine Fire"; "Reasons"; and "Saturday Night". "Saturday Night" features some of the classic Philip Bailey vocals singing "London Bridge is Falling Down". These songs are also a part of this collection.

You will also hear some of the true EWF classics such as "Shining Star", "That's the Way Of the World", "September", "Fantasy", and "After the Love is Gone". Also included is the classic cover of the Beatles "Got to Get You Into My Life". EWF and this song were a part of the 1978 film "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and you will hear why many people consider this even better than the Fab Four's original. You will also hear some of the dance classics such as "Let's Groove", "Boogie Wonderland", and "Getaway".

Although this isn't a boxed set, the liner notes in this collection provide a wealth of information to learn all about Earth Wind and Fire". For starters, there is a four panel writeup (the liner notes fold out as opposed to be stapled) entitled "The Eternal Groove" by Mark Coleman. This tells the story of how Maurice White built the band - including why he brought Philip Bailey into the band. The writeup covers up until 1981. In addition to this writeup, there is an "Earth Wind and Fire Family Tree". This lists all of the permutations of Earth Wind and Fire - including the early days of Maurice's original band "The Salty Peppers". Kevin Goins and Leo Sacks provide annotations explaining all of the band changes. Also included is a list of all of the band credits - including many of the background studio and orchestral musicians. Finally, there is a terrific discography that lists all of the songs. Each song includes the album it came from, the year it was released, songwriting credits, arrangement credits, and how it charted.

In terms of selecting which compilation is the best one for you - look carefully at the content. While sets like "The Essential" and "The Eternal Dance" are deep, these are probably going to do a better job at satisfying the seasoned EWF fan. Seasoned fans may also look to "Let's Groove" and "Elements of Love" for more specialized compilations. In terms of a fan looking to start with EWF for the first time, "Greatest Hits" is a perfect place to start.
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Mid-1970s black music seemed dominated either by fun, mindless party jams like "Jungle Boogie" and "Skin Tight," or dour warnings like "Future Shock" and "Living For The City." Stevie Wonder sang his share of life-affirming music but Earth, Wind & Fire, here with a definitive one-disc greatest hits, made such positive strength the heart of their musical identity.
Some of the era's most needed, heeded messages ran deep and sweet atop Verdine White's bass grooves (front and center on "Getaway"), brother and leader Maurice's drum and percussion tracks honed over years with Chess Records' rhythm section ("Saturday Nite," "Kalimba Story," 1977's dazzling "Serpentine Fire"), Louis Satterfield's horn section scrambling through jazz-rock mazes every track (becoming a 80s rock stalwart backing Phil Collins), and Phillip Bailey's high, clear falsetto on "After The Love Has Gone," the prom dance standard "Reasons," the soaring chorus of "September," and the elegant "Fantasy" which, with "Serpentine Fire," gave R&B one of its best 1-2 LP opening tracks. (It's restored to album length here, with Larry Dunn's superb keyboard intros, after being edited on two previous best-ofs).
Messages like "You're a shining star...shining bright to see what you can truly be," "If you sing a song today, you will make a better way," "Try to resist all the hurt that's all around ya..." moved feet and hearts, misinterpreted by spiritual seekers and hedonists alike in the "Me" decade's last discofied days. The Whites understood disco's falsity: "Morning deals a bad hand to a woman who has made too many bets," Maurice sings on 1979's galloping disco smash "Boogie Wonderland," adding, "You dance and shake the hurt." But by early 1982, needing a hit after a slow-selling double-LP the year before, EWF gave in to the dance grooves and party-down lyrics of "Let's Groove," their last Top 5 hit.
Despite a generous 18 tracks (and an excellent geneology of the group by Kevin Goins), longtime fans will miss "In The Stone," "Fall In Love With Me," "Head To The Sky," "Let Me Talk," and others. These are found on 1995's "Eternal Dance" box, the "Elements of Love" ballads collection, or two previous best-ofs. This "Greatest Hits" packs their best-known pop songs into an exceptionally sounding disc (thanks to Mark Wilder's remastering), providing an essential introduction to one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's most surprising, satisfying member groups.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
. . ."Shining Star" came out the spring I graduated from high school. During choir tours in college, someone always brought along EWF tapes to play on those long bus rides. I have fond memories of singing right along with "Sing a Song." By the time I was in my early 20s, "Boogie Wonderland," "Getaway" and "Let's Groove" were popular in the discos. And I'd forgotten about their superb remake of "Got to Get You Into My Life" which was originally recorded by four guys who answered to the names of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Twenty-five years after I first heard these great songs, I finally got this collection. Do these songs still sound like funky fun and make me feel 20 all over again? Absolutely. Are they worth keeping for the next generation? You better believe it. One of my colleagues and I are using "Shining Star" as background music for our students to write about their dreams in our college class for undecided students. And my five-year-old daughter asks me to play it as soon as we get in the car to go anywhere. Did I even mention that a cappella meisters Take 6 and contemporary Christian music's Point of Grace included covers of "Sing A Song" on some of their 1990s albums? A positive, healthy message NEVER goes out of style--especially when it's wrapped around some of the most awesome riffs ever dreamed up. The only thing more fun than listening to these guys is catching them on a cable-TV special or better yet, in person. Put the top down, slide this one into your stereo, and enjoy. . .
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
With the possible exceptions of Rufus and Sly and the Family Stone, there is virtually no other band to so successfully marry elements of funk, R&B, and pop as Earth Wind & Fire. Their heavy horns, infectious rhythms, and disco overtones are nothing short of an all-out party, and the digital remastering some of their best-loved tracks are granted here make the aural results all the more delicious.
Funk workouts like "Shining Star," "Let's Groove," "Boogie Wonderland" and the classic "September" are solid, irresistible works that age like fine wine, and silky ballads like "That's the Way of the World" and "Reasons" proved that they could be twice as smooth even when the tempo was half as fast. The band even offers up one of the strongest Beatles covers ever recorded, an irresistibly bright reading of "Got to Get You Into My Life." But their hands-down masterpiece will always be "After the Love is Gone," a simply-perfect cut that boasts flawless vocals, lush horns, and a striking chord progression.
Of the songs that weren't crossover smashes, some are revelations ("Mighty Mighty," "Saturday Night") while others simply aren't up to snuff ("Serpentine Fire," "Kalimba Song"). Regardless, for a single-disc collection of a supergroup of Earth Wind & Fire's magnitude, you really couldn't do much better.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although there are several greatest hits packages available for Earth Wind & Fire, most notably the Best of EWF Volumes 1 & 2, their Greatest Hits compliation which was released by Columbia Records in 1998 is easily the best one available. Containing most of the band's hits as well as lesser known tracks that are just as strong, Greatest Hits is the perfect introduction to this talented band's music.

Simply put, every track here is top notch with most of them hitting the Top Ten on both the pop singles and black singles charts. The tracks "Mighty Mighty", "Saturday Nite", and their only #1 pop single "Shining Star" are excellent funk songs punctuated by their trademark snappy horn lines. The tracks "September", "Serpentine Fire", and "Sing A Song" are near perfect pop songs with soaring harmonies and melodies that stay in your head immediately upon first listen. Their late-70's hits "Let's Groove" and "Boogie Wonderland" are very strong disco tracks with the former track aging wonderfully compared to most of the music from that genre. While the harmonies are strong on all of their material, harmonizing doesn't get much better than on "Getaway", arguably the finest song they've ever recorded. The ballads here are all fantastic with "After The Love Has Gone", "That's The Way Of The World", and "Reasons" being not only among the best recorded in the '70s, but of any era. Other great tracks here include their cover of the Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Fantasy", and "Kalimba's Story." This is a phenomenal greatest hits album that should be part of every music fan's collection. Highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is the best one-disc compilation of EW&F that is out there and the remastered sound means they've never sounded better. All the tracks are worthy selections and 17 songs means you get great value for your money. If you are new to EW&F and want to get a good representation of the band without having to get all the albums, then this one is the one for you; tracks that stand the test of time. Highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is the best single disc collection of EWF...everybody knows that. Sound quality is impeccable...I can see that a lot of effort went into the remastering. What I was also impressed with was the sequencing of the song selections. This makes listening to the CD that much more enjoyable. Maurice White, you truly were in a class all by yourself and this collection is indeed your gift to us. I like pretty much all the songs here but if I had to put out a 17-song EWF collection, I would have left out "Can't Hide Love", "Gratitude", "Mighty Mighty", and "Getaway." In their places, I would have included "Love's Holliday", "System of Survival", "Sunday Morning", and "Spend The Night." Anyone disagree? But clearly this is such a minor quibble on my part. The disc really is a gem.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 1999
Format: Audio CD
My wife knew I wanted this CD for Christmas 1999 and as soon as I received it Christmas morning, it went into the CD player. I was not disappointed as Earth Wind and Fire's smooth distictive sound filled the room. Each and every song brings great memories, and is a reminder that this group was unique for it's time and for today. Seventeen hits all on one CD. I was very happy with this gift!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The incomparable Earth, Wind & Fire have been going strong for almost 30 years. The recent Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees released this concise overview of their greatest hits in 1998, and it is a 70-minute funkfest! From "Shining Star" (a #1 hit in 1975) to "After the Love Has Gone," all of their classics are here, even if they aren't presented in chronological order. EWF have consistently maintained a sound characterized by a big horn and brass section, incorporating African and Latin rhythms. Their music continues to be played on AM and FM stations because it has a timeless, universal appeal. So go buy this CD, and let the party begin!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I love their Greatest it covers everything they did and more! THey have such talent specially in their prime in the 70's they were it back then and I love their stuff. With the sweet trumpet, Key boards, and vocals. Earth Wind & Fire have some R&B and Funk Mixed together so perfectly!
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