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When is Greatest Hits enough?


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Showing 1-25 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 9, 2012 10:58:32 AM PST
R. Schroeder says:
When is having just a greatest hits set enough?

Generally speaking, if you just asked me what I thought about greatest hits/best of albums, I would probably say that I don't like them. They can be good for an introduction, but if you really like the band then the compilation will be come obsoleted. However, the more I think about it, the more I think there are a plethora of artists out there for whom a greatest hits package is sufficient for most purposes.

What are some artists that you think their greatest hits would be sufficient, and which artists do you think defy the greatest hits pacakge and really require full albums to appreciate?

Greatest Hits is enough:
1. The Eagles (they practically invented it...the latest two disc compilation could be definitive. I like the albums, but wouldnt' miss most of the tracks not on that set if I didn't have them).
2. The Monkees
3. AC/DC (I know they don't actaully have one, but I have a hard time listening to their albums all the way through. I would by a good best of package in a heartbeat)
4.

Defy Greatest Hits:
1. The Beatles
2. Bob Dylan
3. Led Zeppelin
4. Radiohead

On the Fence:
1. The Rolling Stones - Their great late 60's trilogy (Beggar's Banquet, Let It Bleed, Exile On Main Street) is essential listening...Forty Licks adeqately covers the rest IMHO.
2. The Beatch Boys - Pet Sounds + Greatest Hits Vol. 1 = Covered

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 12:00:21 PM PST
vivazappa says:
America
Three Dog Night

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 12:20:05 PM PST
Emery Would says:
God, I hate the Eagles. Forgot who called them the Monkees of country rock, but it's a brilliant observation.

As for Greatest Hits (or what some call Father's Day sets, ie., good to get your Dad on that day), some of it depends on when you discover a group. If you're late to the party, a hits package is a great entry way. As an example, I started enjoying System of a Down quite a bit earlier this year. One great album--Toxicity--and not hits package that I found. Had a wade through a mess of misses to find the hits.
Same with Disturbed.
Then, there's bands like the Cult. It has consistently placed two or three good songs on every album. A good Hits package could help more people discover them. Another great example, Offspring. Another band with albums full of more misses than hits. I liked them better as a result of their Hits thing. Gree Day's another.

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 2:20:44 PM PST
With someone like Wayne Newton, all you really need to know is the hits comp. A lot of pop '60s acts (not the guitar rock bands) were more adventurous on their singles releases, until they had a signature record and then cloned and cloned and cloned that style on subsequent 45s and the exploito Lps that followed. Oh, yeah, one Bobby Goldsboro hits comp and forget all his albums. If you can stand him, that is.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 3:31:58 PM PST
But what about Engelbert Humperdinck and Robert Goulet? :)

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 3:44:50 PM PST
D. Mok says:
It doesn't work that way.

Greatest-hits packages are enough for the introductory listener, or casual fans who like the hits, the well known songs.
Fans who even hear the more obscure album tracks won't need greatest-hits packages, because they already bought the albums.

The distinction isn't with which artist or band can be served by a greatest-hits package. It's with which listener can be served. A single-disc Beatles greatest-hits package would be more than enough for me, and in fact already has tracks I'd rather not pay for. I love Led Zeppelin, but the first 1990 boxed set really serves up most of the songs I like, and Boxed Set 2 takes care of the rest.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 5:37:05 PM PST
R. Schroeder says:
Box set 1 and box set 2 have everything on them....all the songs from the original releases, just in different order.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 7:26:06 PM PST
D. Mok, that's a valid distinction, but in another sense, there are the compilations that serve the band (and the record companies). If you visit chain stores of the likes of Best Buy, you'll find not much of an artist's catalog is stocked -- what you find is mostly new releases and greatest hits compilations. Some stores even have a special rack containing only greatest hits compilations from many artists. In some cases, it's all from one label with a bland common design theme for the cover art and a silly series name (e.g. 20th Century Masters - Millennium Collection).

I take it you were being facetious about the Zeppelin boxes.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2012 6:22:27 AM PST
Har, har, har. Me like youse.

I remember the '70s when albums dominated, meaning you had to listen to the whole project and a spun-off hit single was just a tease to get you into the album; once you listened to the album, the "single" felt incomplete thereafter if heard in isolation. Seems like the '80s+ went back to albums being a slapped together series of stand-alone unrelated tracks and you could pick and choose which 3-3:30 minute song you liked most. As much as I think that Styx's KILROY WAS HERE is a laughable pretentious teenager's idea of a great artistic statement, it does stand together as a whole performance. Much as I love the Bangles, Go Gos, Sheena Easton (slutty stuff), and other '80s releases, they don't seem to hold together as albums so much as a series of discreet performances.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 7:03:42 AM PST
For me, most of my Greatest Hits CD's are by artists who make really good singles but not so much good albums. They ave already been mentioned but The Eagles are a perfect example for me. Love most of the singles. Can't find a single album that I can say I really liked. Chicago is another group that I liked the singles but never cared for their albums. The Beatles are an obvious choice for no hits collections. I thought The Beatles ONE was a waste. I think most of my Greatest Hits collectios are in the early rock and roll period since singles were the main thing and albums were not yet looked upon as complete artistic statements although you did have the ocassionaly really good one. But my Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Fats, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard are mostly hits and/or compilations. Prog rock is not too conducive to Greatest Hits as the albums are more appreciated as a whole. The biggest rip off I always thought was Steve Millers Greatest Hits. It was half of Book Of Dreams and half of Fly Like An Eagle plus The Joker. I mean seriously, a Greatest Hits album pulled from his previous 2 plus The Joker? Why bother? I'd rather just have those albums and skip the hits. Another hits shambles was The Best Of George Harrison. ONE side of solo George and the other Beatles songs. Most people who would have liked The Best Of George Harrison probably already had The Beatles tracks anyway. Would rather had a nicer comp of Harrison solo. Just a few thoughts on the matter.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 8:23:14 AM PST
Geezerguy says:
vivazappa says:
America
Three Dog Night

Dang! I have almost every album by both those bands and love 'em. Just goes to show ya. Anyway, for me a Steppenwolf hits disc plus Live would be enough.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2012 9:13:15 AM PST
Galley says:
Were you aware that The Monkees invented Country Rock in 1966?

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 10:46:12 AM PST
Barry Smith says:
Elton John is a good choice for his later 70s and 80s material. All of his LPs up to "Captain Fantastic" are essential but then his albums started to become lackluster. However his hits still kept coming and are worth picking up on greatest hits albums.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 4:05:12 PM PST
D. Mok says:
> I take it you were being facetious about the Zeppelin boxes.

No, I wasn't. The two Led Zeppelin boxed sets collect every track from every album, plus an extra.

Just because I love a band doesn't mean I have to collect every scrap it's ever recorded. I love Neil Young, but his endless live albums and outtakes bore me, and in fact take away from my enjoyment of even the official studio versions. I really don't feel like playing "Down by the River", ever. There are maybe 50 albums I own, out of a few thousand (more if you count MP3s), where every track is good.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 5:12:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012 5:14:09 PM PST
Dr. Mikey says:
The reason to buy the individual albums is when the songs together comprise something really artistic that would be missed by picking and choosing songs, or when there are hidden gems that are unlikely to be found in greatest hits collections. An example of the former would be the Who's (no, not Tommy or Quadrophenia; well, maybe them, too) "The Who Sell Out," since the format is that of a pirate radio station and all the songs are killer to boot.

Now that I am retired, older and trying to spend my money before it goes to the medical-pharmaceutical-longterm care complex, I am going back to seek out some individual albums. One place I've had great luck with is amazon.co.uk. They carry something called the Original Album Series for many performers (some are recently remastered but it's best to check). The two most recent packs I got were Emmylou Harris and Little Feat. Each has the first five studio albums, and the price is unbelievably low, even including shipping. I've recently added the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in hopes that my wife will, as usual, choose my Christmas presents from my cart (or "basket" as they call it in the UK). They also email you when your order has been "dispatched." Now I'm trying to decide if I like ELO or Dr. John good enough to spring for the same OAS set.

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 5:51:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2012 5:53:25 PM PST
Speaking of ELO, to me they are a hits band. I own the now OOP

Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

on CD and never have a desire to hear the albums.

I also agree about the older rock and roll artists and even some 60s bands. Some collections of hits I love are Frankie Valli and the Four Season's, Little Richard, The Rascals, The Grass Roots and some others.

And this is also one of the best collections of hits assembled:

Earth Wind & Fire: Greatest Hits

Many of the 80's synth pop bands hits collections are ear candy, culled from very inconsistent albums.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 2:47:19 AM PST
D. Mok says:
> The reason to buy the individual albums is when the songs together comprise something really artistic that would be missed by picking and choosing songs

You're "picking and choosing songs" even when you make a single studio album.
Greatest-hits collections allow a wide-angle view on an artist's career. It's not much different from an album's running order casting a specific view on a specific period of an artist's career. Jimmy Page said he loved the running order on the first Led Zeppelin boxed set. Both Neil Young's Decade and Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits picked quite a few non-single album tracks, and in the case of Young, some had never been released prior to Decade.

There is as much creative personality and drive in excluding something as in including something. Young decided not to release Times Square, Homegrown and Chrome Dreams. That said tons about what he considered suitable or representative at certain times in his career. Even if it means jettisoning some songs. Fans who think "hearing everything" is the only legitimate option are missing the fact that the artist doesn't always *want* you to hear everything.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 1:15:36 PM PST
Chazzzbo says:
Regarding ELO - the albums Eldorado, New World Record, and Out Of The Blue are probably the best...hits packages easily cover the best of the rest. I would recommend The Essential Electric Light Orchestra

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 6:42:54 AM PST
Hip O Critic says:
The Rolling Stones are by far the band that a greatest hits album is a must for all the wrong reasons. They made a lot of money, but ethically it was pretty poor form by not including the songs that made them popular on many early albums.
UK albums did not have hit songs such as "Satisfaction, Get Off Of My Cloud, Time Is On My Side, Paint It Black, Little Red Rooster, Ruby Tuesday etc.
US albums missed out on songs such as "Carol", "Route 66", Out of Time" etc.
Both UK and USA albums omitted "Honky Tonk Women", We Love You etc.
"Rolled Gold" (vinyl) from an Australian point of view (because we copped the UK rather than the US releases) was the best compilation and included 4 sides of essential songs.

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 8:19:24 AM PST
GarionOrb says:
The worst Greatest Hits album ever made is the one by Radiohead. The band had zero involvement in it, and was essentially put out by their old record label. The songs on it are not really "hits", and sound disjointed and out of place outside the context of their respective albums.

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 11:10:20 AM PST
patc71s says:
I love 70s & 80s rock, but I also love 70s and 80s pop. Depends on the artist, although usually the more singles oriented acts are the ones I prefer greatest hits discs. Here are some acts where greatest hits CD's are more than enough for me:
Air Supply, Paul Anka, The Association, Bay City Rollers, The Beach Boys, Berlin, Blondie, Bon Jovi, Captain & Tennille, Cher, Cinderella, CCR, Neil Diamond, Dr. Hook, Duran Duran, Earth, Wind & Fire, 5th Dimension, Andy Gibb, Gary Glitter, Geordie, The Grass Roots, The Guess Who, Hall & Oates, George Harrison, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jacksons (entire family) Jefferson Starship, Tom Jones, KC & the Sunshine Band, The Kinks, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Lenny Kravitz, John Lennon, Loverboy, Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Barry Manilow, John Mellencamp, Men at Work, Mud, Olivia Newton-John, Nirvana, Aldo Nova, Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Osmonds (entire family), Buck Owens, Poison, Tom Petty, Elvis Presley, Ratt, Helen Reddy, Linda Ronstadt, Boz Scaggs, Neil Sedaka, Bob Seger, Bobby Sherman, Simon & Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, The Smithereens, Rick Springfield, Squeeze, Ringo Starr, Donna Summer, Survivor, 38 Special, Three Dog Night, Traffic, Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Wild Cherry, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Frank Zappa

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 12:06:19 PM PST
In terms of old(er) stuff, the worst label for "hits" was Dot, though the pre-rock easy listening artists. Dot released "Greatest Hits" albums by guys like Don Cornell, Eddie Fisher, Jimmie R. Rodgers, Andrews Sisters, Vaughn Monroe, and all of the tracks were re-recordings, not the original hits. Pat Boone's Dot 1956-59 album hits were 1959 retreads. Georgia Gibbs' GREATEST HITS 1963 Epic Lp is all retreads of her Mercury hit singles. Ugh!

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 12:51:23 PM PST
Dr. Mikey says:
@patc71s: You have quite the list. Are there any 70s or 80s performers for whom you feel the need to get multiple original albums or get into deeper tracks?

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 9:51:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 9:56:00 AM PST
patc71s says:
Hi Dr. Mikey,
Sure, there are tons! And even as I peruse my original list, I see some acts that I might want to take off. I was going through my CD collection and listed those acts that I only had greatest hits/best of CD's.
Here are some acts that I think you need more than greatest hits, mostly hard rock
Accept, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Angel, April Wine, Asia, Bad Company, the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Dio, Dokken, The Doors, Eagles, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Fleetwood Mac, Foghat, Lita Ford, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Girlschool, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Maiden, James Gang, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Billy Joel, Journey, Judas Priest, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Monkees, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, Suzi Quatro, Queen, Quiet Riot, Rainbow, REO SPeedwagon, Riot, Rolling Stones, The Runaways, Rush, Santana, Saxon, Michael Schenker Group, Scorpions, Styx, Sweet, Thin Lizzy, Robin Trower, UFO, Van Halen, The Who and Yes.

Looking at my original list of greatest hits is enough, I'll retract Neil Young, Nirvana, CCR & Three Dog Night. I only have greatest hits packages from them but those discs are missing some good cuts so a best of is not enough.

Also a lot of the groups i mentioned I have double disc greatest hits packages, so we're talking to 30 or 40 or more songs by such artists as Neil Young, The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, 5th Dimension, Bread, Carpenters, The kinks, HAll & Oates, Olivia Newton-John, Badfinger, Tom Petty, Bob Seger & Stevie Ray Vaughan.

A standard 15 track best of is not enough for these acts, but I think a 40 track best of by these artists is all I feel I need, even though there are probably still additional songs missing I would like to have.

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 10:04:56 AM PST
patc71s says:
I realize I went overboard with my lists on this topic so I'll just say that for me, an act like Duran Duran is one where a greatest hits package is all I need. I wouldn't feel the need to get Rio or Seven and the Ragged Tiger or any of their regular studio albums as long as a decent greatest hits package exists.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  36
Initial post:  Nov 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 16, 2013

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