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The Very Best of Prince

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,168 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 31, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is the "greatest hits" album we've been waiting for: all of Prince's biggest hits packed onto one disc. Arguably the most influential artist of the '80s, Prince is one of the very few musicians of this or any other era to find a massive and intensely loyal audience while still being praised by critics and musical contemporaries alike for his bold experimentalism and prodigious instrumental skills. His brash, high-NRG mix of pop, rock, funk, and psychedelia picked up where Sly Stone left off, and the result was music that was revolutionary in its sonic experimentation and provocative fashion. This collection brings together the absolute best of Prince's Warner Bros. recordings - perhaps the most important recordings since the '70s - on one hit-jammed disc.

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Taken literally, this album's title is sure to cause endless arguments. Nothing from Dirty Mind, not a trace of the early anthem "Controversy," no "Erotic City"--no non-LP cuts at all, save some edited single versions--and a cold shoulder to the criminally out-of-print Gold Experience. Damn. As a compendium of 17 key A-sides from 1979 to 1992, however, The Very Best of Prince is (ahem) a quick-'n'-dirty review of the days when the Artist was, in the estimation of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, one of the weirdest musicians in the Top 10. Blessed with both creative cunning and the wish to reach every listener possible, Prince revitalized rock and soul modes from the sex-crazed ("Little Red Corvette") to the cryptically spiritual ("Purple Rain"). Often he blurred lines between attitudes as surely as he did musical ones; the New Testament image of "Thieves in the Temple" became in his hands a complaint about a stolen girlfriend. Though a fine party artifact, this disc is still likely to prove too scanty even for many casual Prince fans. --Rickey Wright
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 31, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B00005M989
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. J Wiener on March 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
There seems to be some controversy regarding this one CD compilation. Some die hard Prince fans are offended that the record label released this one CD greatest hits when there were already two and three CD sets previously released on the market. Whereas I can understand these perspectives, I am choosing to evaluate the music on this compilation.
In spite of this CD not being all that comprehensive, I enjoy many of the songs on it. Little Red Corvette and 1999 are super classics as are the songs from Purple Rain. Well, I am not too crazy about I Would Die For U but the other tunes rule. Kiss is a funky soul number and Sign O The Times is kind of cool. Surprise gems are Cream and the hip hop Get Off. Alphabet Street and Thieves In The Temple are a bit to helter skelter for me.
Anyway, this compilation is for those who want a quick fix on Prince and aren't too interested in exploring him much further. Maybe that was the reason for this release in addition to the record company trying to bilk some more cash. Nonetheless, those fans seeking to explore this very creative artist should probably sample his originally released material or at least explore the other more comprehensive compilation sets out on the market.
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Format: Audio CD
The Hits/B Sides covered Prince's last years's on Warner Brothers, but this odd release focuses on 1979-1991 only. The idea is to cover his biggest crossover Pop Top 40 hits. No album cuts and if an album didn't have a Top 40 single (Like Controversy or Dirty Mind) it was skipped. So, while it's missing 4 Top 10's from this period: Batdance, Pop Life, I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man and Delirious, all 4 of those are the least played of Prince's Top 10's. As for the inclusion of the Top 30 Money Don't Matter Tonight, well it's a great song that the compilers must have thought deserved a second chance. But at 73 minutes Warner had time to squeeze in the under 3 minute "Delirious", especially considering that the versions of When Doves Cry and 1999 are the single edits. And that's the rub of this whole set. Using single edits (when they had time for the album length versions), no liner notes, no alternate takes and live cuts to entice the Prince collector and cutting off the whole affair in 1991, when The Hits/B Sides didn't, makes for a compilation that can only be recommended for those who are skeptical of Prince and need a reason to take a chance. Nice cover photos, though. For Prince Newbies Only.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a nice collection of hits, but there's a few things I didn't like about it. You see--Trust, Dirty Mind, Thunder, Pop Life, Sexy M.F., Nothing Compares 2 U, Batdance, If I Was Your Girlfriend, 7, P Control, Partyman, Controversy, Head, and a slew of others are missing. Now, if this is the very best of Prince, how come some real gems like these are out, while a song as lame as Money Don't Matter 2 Night makes the cut? I'm only a casual Prince fan myself, but even I recognize where a double CD would be needed to cover a twenty-plus year epic career.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a casual Prince fan so this suits me. Prince is a fantastic artist. One of the greats of the last few decades so I definitely understand the more hard-core Prince fans getting ticked off at obvious ommisions. This covers Prince's 80's hits pretty well including the "Purple Rain" singles "When Doves Cry," "I Would Die 4 U," and the title track. It also includes Prince standards such as "Raspberry Beret," and "1999." And who can forget the classic "Kiss?" I happen to be one of the people that find "Get Off" oddly amusing so I enjoy the track along with "Cream." But I'm happy to see my favorite Prince song of all time on this CD and that is the beautiful ballad "Diamonds and Pearls." Prince at his pop best. Even though I find this CD up to my own standards, I definitely think "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" should have been included along with maybe "Controversy." That would've gotten it 5 stars from me.
For people just discovering Prince, or who just like him for the pop hits, this will most likely satisfy. For the bigger fans, I recommend looking elsewhere. :)
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Format: Audio CD
The problem with this album isn't the selection per se, (although excluding Erotic City is a major faux paus) it's that all of the songs are butchered. It's as though someone had a stopwatch going and when they reached the limit, they faded out the song. The songs are not even the radio mix in many cases. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.
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Format: Audio CD
If this is what record companies think are Prince's "best" no wonder why artists are always holding press conferences, demanding more control of their work. No wonder why most music on the radio seems like it was created on an assembly line. Of course, these are all classic songs, but they're not the BEST. For Time-Warner, they have essentially confined Prince's best to what made them the most money and when he was still with the company. (For example, his independently released single "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" is missing, which was one of his biggest hits ever, a single which reached number 1 even in countries where he never had number 1's before, like Spain. It later appeared on an album released by this company called "The Gold Experience".) What they should have called this is "Some Of Prince's Hit Singles" and not the best of Prince. The best of Prince would probably encompass too many cds to be affordable since he has recorded and released more material than almost anyone. Besides, everyone knows that Prince's "best" is LIVE, where the studio recordings function as a rough blueprint for additional creating and where the songs really come alive and change form. But studio recordings is what this company owns, not live material. (They own the master recordings for all his output with Warner Bros.) This is not a release the artist in question approved of anyway. There have already been two "Hits" cds (sold seperately) released by Warner Bros. which Prince was involved with compiling, as well as a "Hits" 3 cd set which also contains most of his rare b-sides. They have great liner notes written by Alan Leeds, Prince's tour manager from way back, and features material this disc doesn't cover.Read more ›
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