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289 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly The Ultimate
Yes Michael Jackson has had a few too many 'Greatest Hits' packages, but this one truly is the Ultimate collection of his musical work. Four CDs jam packed with hits and rarities spanning his entire 34 year recording career (J5, The Jacksons and solo), a DVD of his Dangerous concert that aired on HBO (available here for the first time) and an original 60 page book...
Published on November 30, 2004 by Bruce Aguilar

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57 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Isn't Definitive, But It Does Cover The Bits And Pieces
Well, it started in 1995, when Michael released HIStory: Past, Present, & Future-Book 1. It was a double album which consisted one disc with 15 hits and the other disc being a new album. The problem with that compilation was that the new album was overbloated with ego, anger, childhood issues, and depression. It was a disappointment to both critics and fans. Not only...
Published on March 5, 2005 by Brandon Ousley


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289 of 293 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly The Ultimate, November 30, 2004
By 
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
Yes Michael Jackson has had a few too many 'Greatest Hits' packages, but this one truly is the Ultimate collection of his musical work. Four CDs jam packed with hits and rarities spanning his entire 34 year recording career (J5, The Jacksons and solo), a DVD of his Dangerous concert that aired on HBO (available here for the first time) and an original 60 page book detailing his entire career. There's precious little more you could ask for from a box set.

Now Michael has only released 6 full albums of new material in the past 25 years so chances are that most already have the hits in one form or another so why buy this set? Consider the following list of all the rare and previously unreleased songs in this collection.

Enjoy Yourself - The Jacksons first hit from their first album with Epic

Ease On Down The Road / You Can't Win - both from The Wiz Soundtrack

Shake A Body - previously unreleased demo of what became "Shake Your Body Down To The Ground"

Sunset Driver - previously unreleased demo

P.Y.T. - previously unreleased demo

Someone In The Dark - track from the rarely heard E.T. Storybook

State Of Shock - duet with Mick Jagger (!) from The Jacksons last album Victory

Scared of the Moon - previously unreleased demo

We Are The World - previously unreleased demo

We Are Here To Change The World - from Captain EO (previously unreleased)

Cheater - previously unreleased demo

Dangerous - previously unreleased alternate version

Monkey Business - previously unreleased

Who Is It (IHS Mix) - rare remix

Someone Put Your Hand Out - rare promotional song (first time on CD)

On The Line - from the "Get On The Bus" soundtrack

Fall Again - previously unreleased demo

In The Back - previously unreleased

Beautiful Girl - previously unreleased demo

The Way You Love Me - previously unreleased

We've Had Enough - previously unreleased

That's 14 completely brand new tracks never heard before and 8 that were previously very hard to come by. These 22 tracks alone (a full album of material) make this set worth the purchase for any MJ fan. It's surprising that these demos and completed songs never saw the light of day until now considering the high caliber of the work. If this is any indication of the songs MJ has in the vault, I'd love to hear more - lots more.

No matter if you only have one or two MJ CDs, are a rabid fan or are just interested in finding out what al the fuss is about, this is the set for you. Sony did an amazing job with this set and Michael (a real perfectionist) should be commended for his bravery in releasing demos. I look forward to hearing many more of these previously unheard recordings. Thanks Mike.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Hits and Unreleased Songs!!!, November 19, 2004
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
I bought this the day it came out as I counldn't wait to hear the unreleased tracks. I was dying to hear Sunset Driver and the P.Y.T. demo. I was NOT dissapointed at all. Sunset Driver is an excellent song. I think it was meant to be put on Off The Wall but the booklet says it was recorded for Thriller. Anyways, I dont know why the song was never put on an album, maybe Michael was just being too picky. Other notable songs on disc one are "You Can't Win". I was glad to hear they had the long version with "Can't Get Outta The Rain" on it. The "Shake Your Body" demo is very similar to the final cut version. Disc two has the demo of "P.Y.T". I was looking forward to hear. It is mid-tempo, I guess Quincy Jones wanted something faster for the album. I really like this demo a lot. It is very catchy for a demo. As far as the rest of the boxed set, all the hits are there. My only complaints are that "Human Nature" wasn't put on. And as for unreleased tracks, where is "Hot Street"? Put Hot Street and Sunset Driver on the cd and you got two excellent unreleased dance tracks. "Carousel" is also another track from thriller that is very good but was unreleased. Wish that was on there as well. The dvd concert is good but I would rather see a concert from the "Victory Tour" in 1984 or even the "Bad Tour". The unreleased material on disc's 3 and 4 are O-kay. I just feel that MJ's best music was from Off The Wall and the Thriller era so I just wanted to hear as much from that era than anything else. This boxed set is definitely worth the money.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional collection but a little short on rarities, November 23, 2004
By 
worstfilms "worstfilms" (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
A good box set with nice packaging and reasonable song choices, but the target audience for this monster of a set is not casual fans. They will buy the greatest hits compilations "HIStory" or "Number 1's" and be content. This box set should have been for the loyal fans who have stuck by Michael -- the ones who already own all the hits and regular albums. For that reason, "The Ultimate Collection" box set is a little short on rarities.

The most obvious omission is the Thriller era b-side "Can't Get Outta The Rain." Also, the set would have been worth the price alone had they included his one-time performance of "You Were There" from the Sammy Davis Jr. Anniversary TV Special. It has never been released anywhere.

The good news is that fans who buy this collection will get a few cool songs and demos from the MJJ vaults. One song in particular, "On The Line" (written by Babyface) and found only as a bonus track on a European CD single, is so good it is surprising it was never issued as a single in the U.S. back in the 90's. It would have been a number one for sure.

For those bemoaning the fact that we have yet another greatest hits package from Michael to contend with, don't blame him. He has absolutely nothing to do with it. This is all Sony Music's fault. It is part of their contract with him. They can compile his music any way they see fit. He has no approval on anything. It is not a cash grab for MJJ to cover mounting legal expenses as some have guessed. It is a last ditch effort by his former record company to make some money on his supposedly fading star. So knowing that, this collection could have been a lot worse (like the mishmash "Number 1's"). But whomever put it together just skimmed the surface of the hits, tossed in a few rare songs and called it a box set. Not a lot of thought went into this "ultimate" collection. It doesn't even include all the blockbuster hits.

Missing are the J5 favorites The Love You Save, Never Can Say Goodbye and a few Jacksons hits are also not included.

The collection is light on true rarities, b-sides, live songs, alternate takes and demos. We all already have the hits (there are so many Jackson hits collections I have actually lost count), this should have been something more special.

The DVD is the 1992 HBO special which every fan already has. This should have been a live compilation. Maybe the 1987 Japan-only concert special or something as rare. Sony really missed an opportunity here. What Michael Jackson needs is a solid live album. Maybe once they are through skimming the top of the MJJ "hits" catalog, Sony executives will give true fans a rarities collection worth buying. I'd be happy to advise them on the song list.

The bottom line is that "The Ultimate Collection" will be a nice addition to any diehard MJJ fan's CD collection, but it will leave them skipping past the songs they already own several times over and "ultimately" leave them wanting more.

But maybe that was Sony's greedy plan all along.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great release for the Holidays, Mike last album with SONY!, November 25, 2004
By 
Music Fan (New York N.Y.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
I was surprised when I heard that Michael was going to be releasing a BOX SET this year. I hoped it would have all the hits that I've enjoyed thru out my life. Well I was surprise to tell you that I got more than what I expected. I got Unreleased tracks, Rare demo and of all things, that rare live concert from HBO. I remember that concert breaking HBO's record for the most people tuning to watch their station of all things, I was set for the Holidays!

...I did have to go on a hefty search to get "The Ultimate Collection" which started on 11.16.04 and ended 11.17.04...here goes...I was told by Circuit City that they would have MJ's Box set on sale on 11.16.04, so as a music fan who appreciates great...let me correct that...Quality music, i got off work and took a taxi to get to Circuit City before closing time to pick up the Box Set but to my discuss, they tell me that the album is on BACKORDER!...which is good for sales but I'm left with no BOX SET man!...I took the loss as a trooper and tried again the next day 11.17.04....

Second try...I come from work to take the train to Best Buy because they state that they have the album there. As you can tell my hopes are up again. I get off the train run into Best Buy down the stairs to the music/cd section (I actually bumped into 3 customers who were all polite to my surprise) and I see no box set, no Biggie...I ask a sales person there and to my surprise he tells me..."Ohh, that new Box Set by Mike?..It's sold out man, sorry"...I was thinking to myself I should have just ordered online and save myself the trouble but the sales man gave me an alternative. He said "If you really want to get mike new album, you can try the VIRGIN MEGA STORE in Times Square"...I was walking away from the sales person and thanked him when an guy who was with his girlfriend stopped me and asked "Mike got a new album out?"...I told him "yeah" (..thinking to myself again, bad promotion from SONY but it's MJ's last album from them so whatever)...we actually spoke about Mike for a good min or two about how he's still the MAN and all that good stuff...The guy actually gave me a pound (ghetto hand shake) and thanked me for "supporting legends on the music industry"...I was ampped after the whole conversation and made it clear that i was going to get this BOX SET that day.

Third and final try...I take the F train to Times square walk about 1-2 long blocks and rush in to the entrance and to me delight, Michael Jackson-The Ultimate Collection is staring me in the face sitting there on the "new Release" stand shrink wrapper with the Logo and art work in Gold and ready to come home!...Man As soon As i picked up my copy, I felt how HEAVY this Box SET felt and I've never been so happy to buy Michael's last album...

`Til this day, I don't leave the house with out listening to MJ's The Ultimate Collection, I have my system set to max when I listen to mike after a hard days work. This The Ultimate Collection was made for my Surround System, even my neighbors don't complain about the walls vibrating! What a great way to end my story...thank god for Mike, he to me is definitely the "King Of Pop" and I'm at a loss of words when I'm just sitting back listening to this mans voice...I truly own an actual Ultimate Collection of music.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really the Ultimate!, December 5, 2004
By 
Alain Desrosiers (Montreal, QC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
If you've ever considered picking up an MJ release for your collection, this boxset is the one to buy! If you're already an MJ fan, then you have no excuse to walk away from this!

First -- you get all the biggest hits. ABC, I Want You Back, Ben, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Black or White, Remember The Time, You Are Not Alone, Blood On The Dancefloor, You Rock My World... All the classics are on here.

Second -- you get most of the fan favorites! Some songs that are excellent, but that weren't hugely successful as singles... Songs like Wanna Be Startin' Something, Dirty Diana, Jam, Who Is It, Unbreakable, Butterflies... It's missing a few great songs, however, like Scream, Leave Me Alone, and Workin' Day And Night, to name a couple.

Third -- you get all new songs and demos. We've Had Enough, MJ's newest song, is excellent! Powerful and complex; the genius we've come to expect from MJ! In The Back, a groovy song with a sort of intricate simplicity. Fall Again, a beautiful ballad showing off Mike's vocal range. Sunset Driver, the funkiest track I've ever heard, all the way from the early 1980s! Beautiful Girl, On The Line, Someone Put Your Hand Out, all good ballads. We Are Here To Change The World, the theme song from the Disney 3D movie, Captain EO! It's upbeat and great to listen to! Cheater, Monkey Business, and even more! It's all amazing to hear!

Fourth -- The live concert DVD! One of the most energetic and mind-blowing concerts ever performed! My personal favorite out of all his tours! From the big bang of an opening with Jam, to the amazing Smooth Criminal, to the electric Workin' Day and Night, to the final, heart-stopping performance of Man In The Mirror, this is one concert not to be missed! You see some of Mike's best dancing and singing ever!

Fifth -- A beautifully designed booklet, featuring high quality pictures (some never-before-seen), a great text, and a complete chronicle of Mike's history up to this point!

So if you're thinking about picking this one up, I suggest to just go for it. Sure, it costs a bit more than a regular album, but you're not getting just one album... You're getting four, plus a DVD! And there's no better collection of Mike's material available than this boxset right here. Pick it up -- you won't be disappointed!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG! Best Album Out There., November 20, 2004
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
All the songs that you could imagine are on this! This man is a living legend, and has inspired many, as well as going on to be the biggest selling solo artist of all time, with over 380 million records sold to his name.

The best tracks are "We've Had Enough" and "The Way You Love Me"...which is obviously some of the new recorded songs on this. Others include songs from the Wiz Soundtrack, and unreleased songs: "Sunset Driver, Scared of the Moon, Cheater, Someone Put Your Hand Out, FAll Again, In The Back, Beautiful Girl, His Own Version of "We Are The World", Who Is IHS Remix."

The ultimate greatest hit is "Stranger In Moscow", which itself is enough to buy! Buy this. You won't regret it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Jackson fan 4 LIFE!!, November 29, 2004
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
I'm a fan of the "King's" music as well as his amazing dancing moves. Is there another artist with such legendary style and coolness? The man is just BAD and I'll forever be in his corner despite all the haters that like to judge him and don't even know him. They don't wanna be startin' somethin'! I already have HIStory book 1 which I've treasured for years that has a lot of his greatest hits (30 tracks/2 discs) 13 of which aren't included in this set, but I'm also buying this boxed set because it offers such a complete collection including personal favorites I didnt yet have: dirty diana, smooth criminal, Jam, Blood on the dance floor, & you rock my world...even songs back from the Jacksons era. I just wish this was released in the superior SACD format instead. This is actually the first boxed set I've bought from any artist, fitting it's from the greatest. Keep your head up Mike, we still love you! woooo !
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time capsule music; illuminating though erratic DVD concert., November 16, 2004
By 
D. Mok (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
The market's been flooded with Michael Jackson product in the last year -- I don't even have any idea what that "The One" DVD was all about. I'll let the general public make up its own theories as to why.

Its bizarre timing aside, this boxed set was long overdue. It's been 10 years since HIStory came out (pretty amazing fact, isn't it?), and while Jackson's output since then has only consisted of one inferior album, HIStory itself was scanty to the point of being ridiculous anyway.

The music is a fascinating study in pop stardom. Jackson's music was so dominant in its own time that it now sounds somewhat dated. There's a reason why The Eagles's Greatest Hits record surpassed Thriller's sales in the U.S.: We are so familiar with Jackson's music that we now rarely shell out the bucks to buy it. That, however, is not to be counted as a negative towards the music itself. It doesn't pretend to be ambitious high art; it's immaculate, immensely enjoyable, catchy and commercial pop/R&B/dance music. And with the exception of the songs from the weak Invincible album (the first Jackson record not to score a number-one single), you're still guaranteed to pack a dance floor whenever you put these songs on. This boxed set does right to the Jackson catalogue by including his Motown years, and while those have been covered amply in the many Jackson 5/Jacksons collections over the years, to have a "comprehensive" Michael Jackson boxed set without this material would have been sacrilegious.

That leaves the fifth disc, the DVD of a live concert in Bucharest. The concert disc is flawed -- I like neither the shooting nor the editing, and it contains far too many audience shots. If I never have to see a Michael Jackson fan cry or faint on camera again, it would be too soon. But the concert disc is an incredibly fascinating case study in the midst of that Ashlee Simpson lip-sync scandal. I've never been to a Jackson concert, so I was very surprised to find that he does sing live -- just not all the time. The fact is, as early as the Motown anniversary special that had made Jackson into a legend, Jackson always gave a better show when he doesn't have to sing. However, it's even more illuminating when Jackson does attempt to sing live. On "Beat It" and "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", Jackson is clearly out of breath and offkey...and remarkably human, letting us poke through that artificial, perfectionist showman exterior to see a fallible artist doing his best. I always wished Jackson would allow more of this side of himself to show -- to humanize his music and persona, and let the flaws be. On this DVD, which was filmed during the Dangerous tour, you get a chance to see Michael Jackson's more ragged edges, and that is simply invaluable. And to see the grossly underrated Siedah Garrett (she wrote "Man in the Mirror", after all, and matched Jackson note-for-note on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You") and ultra-talented, platinum-haired guitar goddess Jennifer Batten brings a flood of memories...Batten's laser-lit guitar solo in "Beat It" is so over the top, it's perfect, even though the shaky editing ate into its effect.

If you're a Jackson fan, you probably would have bought this already and will like it. If not, however, this is still a good chance to snap up a large number of Jackson classics in one go. The concert DVD is also great if you've never seen a Jackson "live" performance,though Jackson stage shows have been captured far better in previous video clips like "Dirty Diana" and, even more so, "Come Together". And given the low price tag on this five-disc box, from a value-for-money front, this boxed set really can't be topped.
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57 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Isn't Definitive, But It Does Cover The Bits And Pieces, March 5, 2005
By 
Brandon Ousley (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
Well, it started in 1995, when Michael released HIStory: Past, Present, & Future-Book 1. It was a double album which consisted one disc with 15 hits and the other disc being a new album. The problem with that compilation was that the new album was overbloated with ego, anger, childhood issues, and depression. It was a disappointment to both critics and fans. Not only that, the disc with the hits seemed shoddy. The collection, as a whole, was flooded with overindulgence and flaws. Then, in 2003, Michael released another compilation, Number Ones, which consisted 18 of his #1 hits. The problems with that collection was that most of the tracks were edited and it was still incomplete, missing some key tracks like the Paul McCartney duet, "Say, Say, Say" or even "She's Out Of My Life". Now, we finally get the box set we've been waiting for a long time to be released. The Ultimate Collection is a mammoth 4-CD and 1 DVD set with hits, rarities, and demos. I will begin by saying that this whole package is a little out of place. It begins at the Jackson Five period, with the hits, "I Want You Back", the bubblegum pop classic, "ABC", "I'll Be There" and "I Wanna Be Where You Are". The first disc then delves into the period where his maturity evolves with songs like "Dancing Machine", "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground), and "Enjoy Yourself". Then it goes to the Off The Wall period, which was his breakthrough project with the hits, "Rock With You", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", and "She's Out Of My Life". The disc also includes unheard demos like the funky, "Sunset Driver". The first disc seems to be the only disc in this collection that is not really flawed. This set starts to go downhill with the second disc which covers the Thriller period, which was, and still is a milestone in popular music. The album is the best-selling record of all-time, but the tracks that were on that album, included on the second disc, seems pretty spotty because there are only six tracks from the album. The disc has tracks like the thundering, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", the funky, "Thriller", the rocking, "Beat It", and the career-defining jam, "Billie Jean". The disc also includes P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing), which is included here as a demo version and it sounds pretty different from the original version off of the Thriller album. The thing that really makes this disc spotty are the rarities like "Someone In The Dark" from the E.T Storybook and "Scared Of The Moon". On the third disc, the Bad period is covered along with the uneven, yet ambitious Dangerous album. On the fourth disc, the HIStory and Invincible projects are covered. On the last two discs, there are so many rarities, demos, and hard-to-find material, that eclipse some of the missing key tracks those albums featured. On the fourth disc, there are two new recordings that sound like the material from Invincible which are "The Way You Love Me" and "We've Had Enough". I found it very strange that Mike included a DVD containing the 1992 Dangerous concert that was shot in Bucharest. The DVD is an utterly waste and he could've used the fifth disc as a collection of rarities, demos, and hard-to-find material.

Overall, The Ultimate Collection is a package that could've been better, but it's a good effort. Most of the rarities seem interesting, but some of them make the discs very puzzling to finish and listen to. The DVD that consists the Dangerous concert is disappointing. The booklet is skimpy, offering a very brief and incomplete essay on his career, a poorly detailed timeline, and many rare pictures. The Ultimate Collection does a great job covering periods of his career, but don't think of it as a "definitive" compilation becuase it just isn't; and casual fans shouldn't come near it. C+
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Forever!, November 19, 2004
This review is from: Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection (4 CD's + 1 DVD) (Audio CD)
It doesn't matter what anybody says about this man, he is the epitome of a pop superstar, legend, performer, entertainer, songwritter & vocalist. His presence alone makes people cry & pass out, it's as if they're going through an exorcism. What other human being in this world has that kind of effect on people? You don't have to be a fanatic to see the phenomenal talent that this man has. All these popstars out there today: Justin, Usher, britney, beyonce, etc. are doing things MJ did 20 years ago yet people worship them & bash MJ. These people wouldn't even be here had it not been for him. This boxset is great, "Fall Again" & "We've had enough" show why Michael is the great music maker he is today. The 1992 concert? Truly amazing & Michael at his best. When doesn't he do a show stopping performance? From the time he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show to Thriller to History & beyond, he has changed the world & revolutionized popular music & this box set traces that journey. Michael Jackson is the definition of an icon & I find it so unfair that people choose to pick him apart the way they do all because he's extremely rich & extremely influential & they're just too damn jealous to handle it! Michael broke? HA! That man has income coming in from a thousand & one different places. All he has to do is give one concert & that'll generate 10-15 million bucks right there & if he went on tour... well, I think you already know. Michael is the king of Pop & there will never be another like him. That man commands respect when he shows up at award shows & he knows that no matter what happens, his fans got his back!
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