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The Band Greatest Hits Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, September 26, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Ex-Band members Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson supervised this release, which does an impressive job of boiling down some of the greatest rock albums ever into one 18-track collection. Four tracks each from Music from Big Pink (The Weight; Tears of Rage; Chest Fever; I Shall Be Released ) and The Band (Up on Cripple Creek; The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down; Rag Mama Rag; King Harvest ) join 10 more from their other classic LPs. Essential.

It seems odd that the Band emerged in 1968, defying the counterculture's extravagant rejections of U.S. culture with literary, often Southern-tinged musical and lyrical vehicles. Hearing this 18-song anthology, with its heavy weighting toward the Canadian quintet's first three albums--Music from Big Pink (four tunes), The Band (five tunes), and Stage Fright (three tunes)--what still stands out is the Band's command of yearning vocal harmonies, their sense of plainly laid melodies that reveal acoustic depth, and a nostalgia for an imagined American culture. With all their quirkiness and the advance of Robbie Robertson as their centerpiece, the Band lost their celebrated place in the rock pantheon within a decade. This set, which opens so magnificently with "The Weight," "Tears of Rage" (cowritten with Dylan), and the big organ-vamping "Chest Fever," declines rather steeply on the final tracks, "Acadian Driftwood" and "The Saga of Pepote Rouge." Up till then, however, this set is fantastic. --Andrew Bartlett

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 26, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: September 26, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B00004YL5D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Bud Sturguess on November 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The Band's "Greatest Hits" is one of the very few compilation albums that those interested in the group would be fortunate to buy before actually buying the original albums themselves. The reason for that is solely because this Greatest Hits package is from the Band Remaster series of 2000; each track here represents the amazingly sharp and high quality job the sound engineers did in restoring The Band's original catalog of work. Each track here will prove to new fans that, if they're interested in dipping into the career of this remarkable group, they should definitely choose the CD's from the 2000 editions. This is most notable on the tracks from "Stage Fright"--'The Shape I'm In' and that album's title track far outweigh the relatively flat sound heard on earlier remastering attempts. To be specific, Garth Hudson's wildly immaculate keyboards, the effects on Rick Danko's vocals, and Robbie Robertson's unusual guitar work are finally heard the way they were meant to be.
But other than that, it has to be said that the track selection is classic--but predictable. The sequencing is a bit uneven as other words, Richard Manuel's glorious, hymn-like vocal and piano on 'I Shall Be Released' somehow doesn't fit placed between the wonderfully bizarre 'Chest Fever' and the "drunkard's dream" 'Up On Cripple Creek' (which was ironically The Band's only Top 30 hit in the US). Also, the relatively mediocre 'Time To Kill' was obviously only included because it was a minor hit for "Stage Fright." Perhaps it could have been better replaced by 'The Rumor.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By John Stodder on April 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Band is one of pop music's most glorious accidents. This was a group of road musicians that lived from nightclub to nightclub, and had little likelihood of rising much above that scene, until Bob Dylan rather whimsically decided to make them his onstage backup band to perform his newfangled "rock" songs in the mid-60s. Then, because they were neighbors in upstate NY, they played on the demos that became "The Basement Tapes." Anyone who spent that much time with Bob Dylan might well decide, "hey, I should be a songwriter," and that's what some members, chiefly Robbie Robertson, did. When it came time to record their first album, what blossomed was their road-hardened musicianship, combined with the Dylan-bred desire to make of each recording a new thing unlike anything else that has existed before. Thus, amazing tracks like "Tears of Rage" and "The Weight" came into being. Along with covers of yet-unreleased Dylan songs like "This Wheel's On Fire" and "I Shall Be Released," the "Music from Big Pink" album essentially changed the course of American pop for a few years. If Jimi Hendrix was the most influential US musician in 1967, by 1969 it was the Band, and that's a radical shift.

It turned out they didn't have a bottomless well of great songs in them, but the quality at the beginning is astonishing. Robertson (with some help from Richard Manuel) was able to fill the Band's first two albums and most of the third with nonstop classic songs. They stumbled badly with their fourth album, made a great album of covers and a great live album, both taking advantage of their superb musical skills, had a partial creative comeback with their seventh album, and then ran aground for good--Robertson essentially admitting he was out of ideas by planning the grandiose "Last Waltz.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "soulman324" on December 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This album is good start for those who have not heard much of The Band's work before (also the Brown Album is a good start too). But this collection will not satisfy fans like myself; let me list just a few songs missing: "This Wheel's on Fire", "We Can Talk", "Unfaithful Servant", and "Don't Do It". It would have been much better if this collection would have been expanded to two discs.
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95 of 120 people found the following review helpful By T. Schmidt on April 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
First of all, The Band only had two bonafide hits. One of those (their magnificant live cover of Marvin Gaye's "Don't Do It") isn't even included in this collection! With that out of the way, let's get down to bidness...
As far as single-disc collections go, this is not bad. Yes, everybody out there could probably think of a song that should have been included, but, with five strong studio albums, one has to pick and choose when making selections. My personal gripes are the afore-mentioned absence of "Don't Do It" and the presence of the weak cover of "Ain't Go No Home" in the place of the great "Mystery Train" from Moondog Matinee.
This collection works for two groups of people. It's ideal for those who own nothing by The Band and have no idea where to begin. There have been many comments about the heavy leaning of the set towards the first three albums. This is justified in that The Band recorded their strongest material on those three albums. After all, who would want a Dylan compilation with equal numbers of tracks from Blonde on Blonde and Under the Red Sky? All of their "hits" are here in one handy little package.
The second group (I'm included in this category) consists of those people who want a quick road trip CD. This really is a great, concise CD to play when you're on a trip with people who have (gasp!) never really heard The Band.
It's almost guaranteed that most who hear this collection will want to delve deeper into The Band's catalog. After all, every one of their studio albums has something to offer. So, instead of overly criticizing this collection, we should be encouraging people to give this a spin. Who knows where it could lead from there...
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