My brother just purchased "Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd"
December 4, 2001 5:12 PM   Subscribe

My brother just purchased "Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd" and it's isn't. Neither is the best of Jethro Tull, or Add it up - "The Best of the Violent Femmes." Is there any band from the 70's or 80's that has actually put out a"best of" album that isn't at least 30% poop? What's the worst "best of" album you've bought?
posted by Samsonov14 (92 comments total)
The Smiths, "Singles."

posted by NoMoreLSAT at 5:16 PM on December 4, 2001

The Police.
posted by Danelope at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2001

Anthrax, "Return of the Killer B's A's"

An awesome disc that hits all the great songs from their respective eras. (Since they've gone through 2 other lead singers.) 'Thrax rules.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:23 PM on December 4, 2001

j.edwards, are you saying the Depeche Mode one is the worst "best of" album you've bought, or are you saying it is a really good collection? I like it a lot myself, though I'm no DM expert.
posted by edlundart at 5:26 PM on December 4, 2001

though new order does have a "best of" that isn't, their earlier compilation "substance" kicks ass. see also the "best of" joy division, also named "substance", which really is the best of.
posted by moz at 5:27 PM on December 4, 2001

DM singles is a great best-of album, for a few reasons -- admittedly, they miss a bit off of Music for the Masses and Violator, but they sort of cull the good stuff off of Ultra and Songs of Faith and Devotion. Also they toured for it, which must have been great fun.
posted by j.edwards at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2001

Hey Samsonov, way to post an ambiguous front page message! What I was asking for was the worst "best of" album you've ever been suckered into buying. My bad.
posted by Samsonov14 at 5:32 PM on December 4, 2001

Err, wait. I read the original question incorrectly. The Police best-of is one of the best I've purchased. Sorry for the misread.
posted by Danelope at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2001

i have the best of tom jones and absolutely the best eric burdon. they're both pretty bad.
posted by kliuless at 5:36 PM on December 4, 2001

I was given the one CD compilation "We Sold Our Souls For Rock'n'Roll" (Black Sabbath.) Some good songs, but not the ones I woul have liked. Why is Paranoid not on that album?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 5:37 PM on December 4, 2001

i liked rykodisc's best of elvis costello, which they put out in the mid-1990s with the reissues of his full albums. it covered more than just his much-loved first three lps and left off much of the dross (punch the clock and goodbye cruel world).

david bowie's sound and vision is also good.

and of course there's the terrible truth about burma, which aside from being a good representation of a legendary yet commercially underrated band is also the longest commercially available record, clocking in at 80:08.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:38 PM on December 4, 2001

The best -- The excellent GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS compilation by Elvis Costello.

The worst -- so embarrassing that I even own this, but Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits, which I bought just to have a copy of "Sara" which is otherwise available on "Tusk" which I have no interest in owning. There are only a couple of songs I can bear to listen to.

But buying Pink Floyd's greatest hits -- you're just asking for it. Remember the term "album-oriented rock"? It used to be a type of radio station, AOR, the kind of radio station that played all of "Dark Side of the Moon" at midnight....
posted by edamame at 5:43 PM on December 4, 2001

No no no! I take it back! I'm not sure what I said, but we're looking at bad "best of" albums here, not good ones. Oh. Hey do I get a Do-over? Lemme revise the wording of that post. Please.

Maybe someone could make me feel better by asking about the best "best of" albums on the front page. I'll be sure to chime in with Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd.
posted by Samsonov14 at 5:44 PM on December 4, 2001

My favs are Xen Cuts: 10 years of Ninja Tune (3 cds) and Massive Attack : Singles 90-98 (11 cds)
posted by ewwgene at 5:45 PM on December 4, 2001

argh. crap. screw up.

um..... the worst 'best of album'? I dont own any.
posted by ewwgene at 5:47 PM on December 4, 2001

Classic Yes
posted by gazingus at 5:50 PM on December 4, 2001

Best Best of Album - Death to the Pixies 87-91. Although I guess the Pixies disc is a given, because it's hard to make a bad compilation with a band who never wrote a bad song.

The Story of The Clash Volume 1 isn't bad either. Of course, it's also The Clash.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:53 PM on December 4, 2001

ew -- "Classic Yes" -- I own that, I'm sorry to say. Definitely one of the worst best-of albums.

I've got you all beat, though. BEST OF THE BEATLES. Not even a Beatles album. Put out by Pete Best, ex-drummer, round about 1964 at the height of his erstwhile band's popularity. It's all him, though, shamelessly covering Beatles tunes. Yes, people were suckered. Cute title, though.
posted by drinkcoffee at 5:58 PM on December 4, 2001

Geez, edamame, I bought that Fleetwood Mac album too, but I bought it for "Tusk" for the same reason. But any Mac album without "Green Manalishi" and "Oh Well" on it isn't worthy of best-of status.

I also bought (wait for it) Abba Gold or whatever it's called. At least I bought it online, so I wouldn't have to be seen with it in a store. What I didn't reckon with was that it was too cringeworthy to even play.

Best compilation ever? Kinks Kronikles, hands down.
posted by rodii at 6:01 PM on December 4, 2001

I didn't think that Echoes was all that bad of a collection. I mean, the 'best' of Pink Floyd is pretty much the Piper At The Gates Of Dawn album in its entirety - but I suppose to make people happy they'd have to throw some of the later stuff on there.

I definately find it more representative of all of the bands incarnations than the previous compilations, live ablums and that Shine On boxed set. (Piper not being in the boxed set was kind of bizzare.. but I think I said something about that last time someone talked about that album on here).

The Robyn Hitchcock Best Of on A&M is pretty incorrectly titled. It does have the singles/popular songs from the A&M years, but I can't fathom 'Legalized Murder' being a Greatest Hit.
posted by QrysDonnell at 6:05 PM on December 4, 2001

The Beatles Past Masters isn't so bad...but it feels sorta icky not just buying the originals. I had an imported Randy Newman "best of" CD that kept me happy til his Box Set came out. There's a pretty great Simon & Garfunkel Best Of that has almost all the ones from their box set. I bought a Velvet Underground "Best Of" that isn't so great... Cyndi Lauper's "12 Deadly Cyns" was pretty Cynister. But I'm mostly jealous of my friend Alex who shamelessly bought the Best of Phil Collins. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
posted by adrober at 6:21 PM on December 4, 2001

HUMAN NATURE, Gary Clail. Also, the Cure Singles disc
posted by ParisParamus at 6:21 PM on December 4, 2001

Los Lobos: Just Another Band from East L.A.
posted by raysmj at 6:46 PM on December 4, 2001

Thinking of best 'best of album'
Pet Shop Boys Discography is good.
The Cure Staring at the Sea is also easy on the ears.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark The best of OMD

As for worst best of ...easily Depeche Mode The Singles 86>98. I like Depeche Mode, I just don't like how inferior these CDs are in comparison to the 101 live CDs.

And I know it's not a 'best of album' per se, but Guns-n-Roses Appetite For Descruction is still amazing 14 years later. So I'm stuck in the 80s - big deal - I going to go watch The Goonies and listen to some tunes.
posted by patrickje at 6:55 PM on December 4, 2001

posted by y2karl at 7:00 PM on December 4, 2001

Substance isn't the best of New Order... It just isn't-- I can't stand the cheezy dance manglings of their original recordings on that album. New Order had a special time for about their first three albums, when there was still something bittersweet about the band. Substance betrayed that. If you are an early fan of the band, it makes you want to take a machete to the living members and exhume Ian Curtis instead.

Favorite compilation album purchased lately...? I really like The Best of the House of Love... they're a band that wasn't always solid enough on their albums, but sound great on a compilation. Also quite fond of Red House Painters Retrospective although I have to agree - Death to the Pixies is supersweet.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:02 PM on December 4, 2001

posted by y2karl at 7:05 PM on December 4, 2001

Some of these albums mentioned weren't really supposed to be 'best of's.

The Beatles Past Masters series is the songs that didn't make it on the officially released CDs (single only songs, bsides, whatnot).

New Order Substance is pretty much a 12 inch single compilation (although they rerecorded a few songs for it more or less)
posted by QrysDonnell at 7:16 PM on December 4, 2001

but seriously...

posted by y2karl at 7:17 PM on December 4, 2001

Once while toodling through the british countryside my wife and I staggered into one of those roadside rest-mall type things where they have Happy Eaters and stuff (sure sign of trouble: restaurant logo is a guy sticking his finger down his throat). We needed some tunes, as our rental car had a tape player and we was totally tapeless, dig?

We picked up some ludicrously overpriced cassettes, including The Best of Flock of Seagulls. Oh how we laughed! We'd get to here all those goofy Flock of Seagulls hits like Wishing and I Ran. Joy!

Sadly, none of their good or even popular songs were included on the tape. I took it into my head to fling the offending tape from the ruins of Tintagel into the sea. Sadly we never made it that far and I still have the tape.

I think it was the result of a switch in labels, where the new label didn't have access to the older stuff, as was the case with Essential Pogues, which waqs Island and didn't have license to include stuff that was on Stiff, like Red Roses For Me and Rum Sodomy and The Lash material.

"Oh Kitty, my darling, rememberrrrrrrrr"
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:18 PM on December 4, 2001

Oh and one of those Buy The Best of Because There's Only Two Good Songs On Each Album:

45s and Under - Squeeze.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:19 PM on December 4, 2001

Oh, thank you, Kafkaesque.
posted by raysmj at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2001

the Best of Randy Newman

it came out two months ago.
posted by tsarfan at 7:23 PM on December 4, 2001

You're very welcome, of course raysmj.

Now tell me what I did and this little transaction will be complete, Karmically speaking.
posted by Kafkaesque at 7:26 PM on December 4, 2001

Oh! The mention of the Squeeze best-of, which I've repurchased four times, after having it stolen and ruined. It's a keeper, if you can keep it. Glad someone mentioned it.
posted by raysmj at 7:28 PM on December 4, 2001

I did actually buy "Contraband: the Best of Men at Work." It has Land Down Under and Who Can it Be Now along with 14 other tracks which I don't think I've listened to all of....
posted by andrewraff at 8:00 PM on December 4, 2001

Ha! I have had that one stolen or never returned numerous times also. Along with the aforementioned Pogues collection.

Someone somewhere has our stuff, Ray! Let's get 'em!

Since you're all so interested in what I think of the Pogues cover of Maggie May: It is fan dag tastic!
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:06 PM on December 4, 2001

The Best of EMF: Epsom Mad Funkers 2 cd set! Of a one-hit wonder band! And only two remixes of 'Unbelievable', if it was fifteen remixes I could understand how it got to 2 cd's.
posted by bobo123 at 8:06 PM on December 4, 2001

Janet Jackson's "Design of a Decade" best-of was lousy. Not because the songs on it were bad, but because a label switch limited all of the song choices to pre-Janet-album tracks, save the token inclusion of "That's the Way Love Goes".

Damn record labels.

Someday, a box set with good mixes and all those b-sides. I figure Rhino will put it out when I'm 70 years old.
posted by anildash at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2001

Worst Best:
The Cars Greatest Hits
The Best of Kansas
The Best of the Motels
Air Supply's Greatest Hits

Three or four good cuts and the rest is fluff. I rarely ever listen to them any more, and even when I did purchase them, I listened to them a couple times and then had my fill. The music just isn't long-lasting, and the chosen cuts don't seem to mirror what I personally would call their best work. The first three were impulse buys. The last one, I don't know what I was thinking. I think it came with one of those Columbia House things and I was just trying to fill out the thirteen freebies. I plead insanity.

Best Best:
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project
The Best of the Art of Noise
The Best of Al Stewart

For me this stuff just never gets old. I have to be in a certain mood for Al Stewart, of course. He's an aquired taste and has about 3/4 of George Harrison's spirituality coupled with 1/4 of Stevie Wonder's talent, but these albums stand out as indicative of what made them enjoyable for me. With Alan Parsons, I would have included other tracks, but would be hard pressed to decide which ones to take out as replacements.

Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volumes I-III - He should have stopped with the first one. I love the guy but there's such a thing as overkill.

And talk about over kill - there's the problem with Oingo Boingo. No discussion of best and worst albums could be complete without dissecting these bozos. One of my favorite bands of all time, but towards the end of their time together they seemed more interested in finishing some quota of albums they had to release in order to get out of some contract, and were no longer interested in developing new material. So their career resembles prime time on major networks after they've exhausted the season's new material and go into rerun hell.

Not counting their lo-tech EP which sounded garbled at times, their first albums were nearly immaculate. Only A Lad, Nothing To Fear, Good For Your Soul and Dead Man's Party - these are the bulk of Boingo's greatness. Their later works, with the possible exception of Dark At The End Of The Tunnel, were failed attempts at mainstream success and are unmemorable.

Their compilation works are mildly enjoyable for the most part to diehard fans, but there were too many of them, and they each suffered in different ways.

Boingo Alive Released September 26, 1988
A two disc set of Boingo performing their best stuff from their first four albums on a soundstage, and sounds wonderfully like capturing them live, only without the obnoxious audience in the background. Very crisp and clear and in many cases wonderful improvements on their original albums. It does include a couple tracks that until then couldn't be found anywhere else, including Cinderella Undercover, and an amusing country version of Sweat. Also new versions of songs from their original EP, which sound much better than the muddy recordings of their past. Unfortunately it misses the great works from their later albums, like "Skin" and their only Beatles cover "I Am The Walrus." Still, this captures Boingo at the height of their ability and energy. If you're going to buy one Bongo album, this is the one to get.

They should have stopped here. Unfortunately, they didn't.

Skeletons In The Closet: the Best of Oingo Boingo Released on January 17, 1989
A one disc set - 12 cuts from their early days. It sounds like someone took copies of the original albums, edited portions to squeeze it all in, and then regurgitated them onto the populous like a drunk woman who'd had one too many frozen margaritas. However it does avoid the obvious choices like "Dead Man's Party" and "Weird Science" which while chart-hitters they weren't necessarily the band's best work. Absolutely no new tracks. Nothing new at all, really. This one sounded like something a high school kid could have minced together toiling over a dual tape deck. Ultimately unforgivable for professional release.

Best O Boingo Released on September 17, 1991
17 tracks. It tries to encompass all of Boingo's career. It combines album cuts with cuts from 88's Boingo Alive. Sort of the best of the best of, and included "Gratitude" from Danny Elfman's first solo LP, which was actually yet another Oingo Boingo LP in disguise. Absolutely no new material. Why even the most diehard fan would buy this without feeling ripped off, I don't know, and newcomers to the band would have been scared off by the album cover.

Farewell: Live from the Universal Amphitheater Released on April 16, 1996
was a two disc set which combined many of their most popular songs along with some rare treats, and captured to a degree the energy of their stage performances. It's noisy with a lot of background clutter, and ultimately not as fun. It was their farewell concert. It's more of a final gift to their fans than anything, with a couple injokes and a little new material, but mostly just hammering out the anti-hits and leaving proof as to why they were giving up - they'd had enough.

Anthology Released November 2, 1999
By this time, even I didn't bother.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:10 PM on December 4, 2001

Aerosmith Big Ones. Hands down the worst best of ever. So bad that SNL did a skit about it. Compare to Aerosmith's Greatest Hits, which is one of the great best of albums. Incredible a group could change so much that it could produce both of those.
posted by louie at 8:26 PM on December 4, 2001

the word poop makes me giggle.
posted by o2b at 8:36 PM on December 4, 2001

How about the best of the Sugarcubes?

posted by panopticon at 8:37 PM on December 4, 2001

ZachsMind, what was up with all that Boingo re-hash? Talk about killing your credibility. I guess all those 'other' members need money to buy new pajamas or something.

My ex-girlfriend took my SugarCubes CDs, and my Bjork.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2001

I said "ouch, this really hurts."
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 8:44 PM on December 4, 2001

Zachsmind: Skeletons In The Closet was put out by Boingo's old label after they left. They didn't have any say in the release.

I used to love Oingo Boingo-I saw them live at least a half-dozen times, and I'm not generally a conecrt-going kind of guy- but boy, that music hasn't aged well...

...and if you like the Sugarcubes, you have to hear the original Icelandic version of "birthday." Mmmmmm, those growls...

I met Bjork once. I had food poisoning (thanks, bad backstage chocolate milk) and I was walking from the Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre to the parking lot, so I could drive home and die in peace. There were some booths set up outside, and Bjork was walking around looking at them. I decided, even sick, I had to at least say hello. I walked over- six foot one, feverish, sweaty, and slurring- and blurted out "OH, HI!" She looked at me like I said "May I eat your liver?", turned and walked away.
posted by dogwelder at 9:27 PM on December 4, 2001

All the best of the Art of Noise CDs pale in comparison with their regular CDs.

Best best: Ballyhoo - Echo and the Bunnymen (they stoped collecting tracks for the CD when the band turned sour).

Worst best: that last They Might Be Giants best of CD. I saw the tour, they have lost their spirit, I sold the best of CD and I have never bought their CDs again.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:28 PM on December 4, 2001

Three major beefs about inadequate "best of" collections:

1. When live, extended, remixed, or new versions of the biggest hits are used instead of the original songs!
2. When minor artists with only a few hits in the arsenal omit the hits!
3. When major artists selectively leave out songs they personally don't like, even if the song was a hit. (see McCartney/Wings collections.)

And hold on with the Al Stewart accolades. The guy had 5 main U.S. hits. And I finally found a CD in Italy last year that contained all five in their original versions.

There is no proper Gerry Rafferty collection, and the same goes for Paul Davis. Artists who were on multiple labels sometimes suffer when it comes to a single "all the hits" collection. Gladys Knight & the Pips come to mind.
posted by CosmicSlop at 9:48 PM on December 4, 2001

I hesitate about vouching for Aerosmith's 1980 Greatest Hits. They didn't really want to produce was a requirement that they had oblidge in their record contract. I know they're not the only band who was required to do a Greatest Hits albumn, but when they didn't even want to do it or like it...Personally, i love Van Halen's greatest hits. Good stuff. Another interesting Greatest Hits is Brice Spingsteen's greatest hits (i'll throw GH, 18 tracks, and all that other stuff into one pile whre they usually differ be a few "bonus tracks") with stuff like Badlands, The River, Glory Days, and Born in the USA (i could list the everything here, but i'll stop). Thing is, the REALLY good Boss music that he lives to right was left off the GH/18 tracks b/c they're not as "rock" as his other, more personal and meaningful music. If you want music for the ears, go for his GH or 18tracks. Music for soul, go for individual albumns like The River.
posted by jmd82 at 9:53 PM on December 4, 2001

There is no proper...collection

Does anyone here remember the cheesy albums of cover versions of songs sold on television? K-Tel, etc?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:54 PM on December 4, 2001

Can't forget about the sell-out Eagles and their two volume greatest hit collection. Disc one with 'some' of their hits minus hotel california, disc two with hotel california plus some b-sides. What a scam.
posted by sdinan at 9:57 PM on December 4, 2001

There's a real lack of "best of" albums in my collection amongst a few thousand records, cds and tapes. I was able to count three. One of them is the Best of Roy Orbison. The second is the Best of Otis Redding.

The third, I'm not certain I can call a "best of," but I love it and I hate it. Its the Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle from the Sex Pistols, and I was really happy to read a review which did a great job of capturing what bothers me about it, and what I like.

ParisParamus - I remember peaking at the records charts outside of the US and seeing KTel records showing up in top ten lists. It looks like these days anyone can make their own KTel record - see the music premiums section.
posted by bragadocchio at 10:04 PM on December 4, 2001

Good best ofs:
Def Leppard - Vault
Bon Jovi - Crossroads
INXS - Greatest Hits

Worst best ofs:
Barenaked Ladies - Disc One
Bryan Adams - Best of me (So Far So Good was good, but it was followed by 2 other albums, and one MTV's unplugged. That doesn't warrant another best of)
posted by riffola at 10:57 PM on December 4, 2001

I always liked Aphex Twin's "Collected Ambient Works Volume 2". The album title suggests that they contain tracks from previous albums, and only ambient ones. But the albums only had new songs.
posted by panopticon at 12:20 AM on December 5, 2001

Thing is, though, if you like Nick Drake or The Smiths or The Pixies as much as the people who do, do, you can't really go wrong, as long as you include a bunch of key tracks, it doesn't matter that much what the other tracks are.

By the same token, Yes are so much a by-word for something or other ungood that any collection of tracks will be considered "The Worst" by someone who doesn't like them. I really do like Yes, always have, and although there are tracks on "Classic Yes" I could do without (Soon, the Trevor Rabin demo, Rhythm of Love), it's telling that they're all bunched together on Disk Two. Disk One is pure unalloyed joy to someone like me who likes that sort of thing, and it was really nice to have that stuff on CD.

The original Polydor Jimi Hendrix Greatest Hits from 196-something doesn't really meet the description, even by pre-Ladyland standards.
posted by Grangousier at 1:08 AM on December 5, 2001

I just have to chime in here with a vote in the "good" column for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits... everybody seems to have a copy, and damn near every song is actually a "hit", which you can still hear on the radio. Even "Last Dance With Mary Jane", became a hit after being thrown on the Greatest Hits album.

Too bad Petty didn't wait for Wildflowers, Soundtrack from "She's the One", and Echo to be released before releasing a greatest hits album... or we might have got a nice 2-cd set out of it.

Sadly, I'll have to admit to owning a copy of "Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Greatest Hits", which could more accurately be titled: Greatest Hit w/ other insignificant songs which once got played on a college station in Nebraska. The only thing worth listening to on the album is "Blinded by the Light", and "The Mighty Quinn". Side note: Bruce Springsteen wrote and originally did "Blinded by the Light", and there are much better covers of "The Mighty Quinn" out there.
posted by canoeguide at 1:18 AM on December 5, 2001

I'm shocked to see ZachsMind rated Kansas's one of the worst best-ofs, and the Alan Parsons Project's one of the best. I actually like basically every track on the Kansas album. On the other hand, I can't stand listening to the Project one, because many of the songs are edited from the original album versions. Now, there's an Alan Parsons compilation that has all their best instrumentals -- that one's great.
posted by kindall at 1:56 AM on December 5, 2001

I just have to chime in here with a vote in the "good" column for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits... everybody seems to have a copy

It's funny you should mention that- it's definitely one of my favorite best-of's, and I randomly saw someone with it earlier tonight. I also really liked Lenny Kravitz's greatest hits. The guy can rock.

Classic Yes? You know, it's odd, because I *love* everything of theirs up until Tales from Topographic Oceans, but can hardly stomach anything later... it's like they got switched off in '73. Hell if that Steve Howe doesn't play the meanest guitar ever, though.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 3:13 AM on December 5, 2001

The Go-Betweens - 1978-1990

Anybody got any ideas for better descriptions than ''Best Of'' and ''Greatest Hits'' anyway? I like how Galaxie 500 handled it, calling their compilation ''The Portable Galaxie 500'' - which borrows from the literary world.
posted by jedro at 3:34 AM on December 5, 2001

The worst... absolute worst is "Best of" Tangerine Dream... what a waste of materials.
posted by drgonzo at 4:45 AM on December 5, 2001

The worst "best of" comp is any one that includes live material (or a remix) instead of the orginal "hit" version. For example, "Barracuda" on Heart's or "Stop" on James Gang's.
posted by mischief at 5:37 AM on December 5, 2001

> Does anyone here remember the cheesy albums of
> cover versions of songs sold on television? K-Tel, etc?

I know about five seconds of many terrible songs that were on the television commercials for K-Tel collections. Who was Andy Kim? Who was Lookinglass? After millions of years, I still remember their names and would probably recognize little five-second stretches of their hits.
posted by pracowity at 5:56 AM on December 5, 2001

Andy Kim was a bubblegum popstar. He covered the Ronettes "Baby I Love You" (abysmally), and I think a couple other Spector-style songs. He figured significantly in my preteen pop world, for about ten minutes.
posted by rodii at 6:07 AM on December 5, 2001

Who was Andy Kim? How about who IS Andy Kim? Only a singer...songerwriter.... hitmaker...timeless. (Those four word comprise the complete textual content of his website)

"Rock me gently, rock me slowly"
posted by luser at 6:09 AM on December 5, 2001

worst best-of I've bought: Adam Ant's Super Hits. It has three or four good songs, about the same as you'd expect on a regular album. "Antmusic," though, is still one of my favourite songs from that era.
posted by jmcnally at 6:23 AM on December 5, 2001

I must put in my vote for Classic Yes. It totally sucks. The whole reason I brought the thing was for Roundabout. And the version of Roundabout (at the time their biggest hit) is some crappy live version that pales in comparison to studio version.

A good greatest hits compilation I haven't seen mentioned yet is Duran Duran Greatest.
posted by internal at 6:32 AM on December 5, 2001

The thing about buying a compilation of Yes is that like a lot of prog rock of that genus, the band was devoted to nearly album-side-length cuts. It just doesn't seem suited to greatest-hits-ifying.

I would argue for a useful distinction between singles compilations and GH records. There are any number of bands -- not so much in the 70's but certainly in the 80's -- who were singles-oriented; Squeeze being a good example cited above. Singles bands collect well on one- or two-disc comps; or, rather, those compilations are likely to be widely regarded as satisfying. But an artist or band who really focuses on what used to be called the LP is going to seem arbitrarily chopped up by a "greatest hits."

Of course, you still have to have enough singles to make it work...
posted by BT at 6:52 AM on December 5, 2001

Van Halen Greatest Hits Vol. 1 -- well over half of it is crap, including the new DLR songs which are unlistenable. Why? Van Halen certainly had way more than enough good songs to warrant a decent Greatest Hits compilation fer cryin' out loud! For this they kicked Sammy out? Oh the humanity....
posted by spilon at 6:57 AM on December 5, 2001

Whoa, luser, thanks for that Andy Kim site. Though...what a terrible site! But now I know (as I always suspected) that Andy was the voice of Archie on "Sugar, Sugar."

My stomach hurts.
posted by rodii at 7:09 AM on December 5, 2001

Seems like every time I participate in a music thread I have to bring up the king of all things ridiculous....

The Best of Pat Boone...enough said.
posted by Benway at 7:31 AM on December 5, 2001

How about the musicians who have SEVERAL different best-of collections? I could swear that there have been at least a dozen different Blondie compilations. Elvis Costello and the Moody Blues fall into this side category also.
posted by Ben Grimm at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2001

Can't forget about the sell-out Eagles and their two volume greatest hit collection. Disc one with 'some' of their hits minus hotel california, disc two with hotel california plus some b-sides. What a scam.

Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 obviously was released before Hotel California even existed. As a side note, this is officially the best selling album of all time, surpassing Thriller a couple years ago.
posted by Ben Grimm at 7:40 AM on December 5, 2001

Two words: Steely Dan.
posted by brand-gnu at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2001

Worst greatest hits album? Any greatest hits album consisting of two or more discs.

Before I continue, let me make a distinction: I do not mean the sort of thing where someone puts out a greatest hits album, remains musically active, and several years later has enough hits for another and so puts out "Greatest Hits, vol. 2" or something like that. I have no problem with that.

It's the groups that come out with multi-disc Greatest Hits albums that I have a problem with. These always seem to have a lot of filler. There's no less than four I've purchased in the past year which come to mind: from Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond, ABBA, and The Smashing Pumpkins.

If you don't have enough real hits for two CDs (and very, very few artists or groups do), please limit your "Greatest Hits" to a single disc.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:05 AM on December 5, 2001

This thread is one big troll.

If you are conversant enough about a band that you can pick apart their grestest hits album(s) and compare it to the band's preceding (and in many cases receding) career, then you already have the majority of the band's (worthwhile) albums and you have no business getting the compilation except if you are obsessively in pursuit of some alternate takes not found elsewhere in the band's catalog.

Greatest hits compilations exist for one reason: to get all the quasi fans who liked the band more or less from airplay, but never were motivated enuf to go out and buy any albums. Its a marketing mop-up after the party's over.
posted by BentPenguin at 8:13 AM on December 5, 2001

As far as Echoes goes, I think a good music buying strrategy is NOT to buy anything that is advertised in 3 minute commericals on CNN. You won't catch me buyin Echoes or that ungodly 15 year old opera singer performing show tunes either.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:13 AM on December 5, 2001

Best: Blown to Smithereens! The Best of the Smithereens. After their first one, the albums were pretty spotty in places, but the collection is one of my favorite CDs. Honorable mention: Death to the Pixies, 45s and Under (Squeeze), Return to the Valley of the Go-Gos (2 CD set with early live and unreleased tracks, plus the hits), Message in a Box - The Police.
posted by sjarvis at 9:15 AM on December 5, 2001

Sorry, i need to mention this: "Steve Miller's Greatest Hits". I think this album is given out free to college freshmen, or something. How many kegs have been tapped to it's mellow, caucasian grooves?

Steve Miller has been touring behind this album for about 20 years. At this point he could probably do his taxes while performing it.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:32 AM on December 5, 2001

Right BentPenguin
Current bands that fit that category for me are: Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray. Good catchy singles - lousy albums. I'll what for their greatest hits. If they last that long.
posted by chainring at 10:42 AM on December 5, 2001

Steely Dan's earlier "greatest hits" collection, A Decade of Steely Dan, is pretty much essential listening. I believe it is (or at least was at the time) the only place you could find the song "FM (No Static at All)," which is one of their best, IMHO. The new one seems to have some more songs on it, but I'm not sure they qualify as "hits."
posted by kindall at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2001

Anybody got any ideas for better descriptions than ''Best Of'' and ''Greatest Hits'' anyway? I like how Galaxie 500 handled it, calling their compilation ''The Portable Galaxie 500'' - which borrows from the literary world.

I always did like the title "The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson." They also had "The Compact King Crimson," "The Abbreviated King Crimson," "The Essential King Crimson," and "The Concise King Crimson," so if you bought all those, you would no longer have a King Crimson person that was compact, abbreviated, or concise, nor would you still be a young person after listening to all of it...
posted by kindall at 11:40 AM on December 5, 2001

I second the vote for Duran Duran Greatest Hits.

As for bands who've had more greatest hits & compilations than studio albums, we'll I think Deep Purple tops the list.
posted by riffola at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2001

lol @ kindall...
posted by canoeguide at 12:34 PM on December 5, 2001

How bout the Stones for most Greatest Hits albums?

My favorite of theirs is the London Years singles collection. Johnny Cash has a hell of a lot of Greatest Hits too.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:38 PM on December 5, 2001

Tom Petty. Without question.

Other than that, greatest hits are for housewives and little girls.
posted by dansays at 1:26 PM on December 5, 2001

I hope I am not alone in this, but if you buy a "greatest hits" cd aren't you already admitting you don't like the band enough to have the CDs the songs were pulled from?

If you ask me (I know you didn't) this is yet another good argument for a good system for buying individual tracks so one can make their own greatest hits CDs.
posted by terrapin at 1:44 PM on December 5, 2001

If I could buy individual tracks, I'd buy every track on Creedence Clearwater Revival's Chronicle, Vol. 1. Each of the 20 songs charted, and each one stands as strong today as they must have 30 years ago. Sure, I'm missing some of the album tracks, but even though I own all the albums and play through them every year or so, I listen to Chronicle much more frequently. (I still feel guilty about buying the album, cassette, & CD, since John Fogerty, the leader of CCR has had such a long and bitter legal history with Saul Zaentz, the owner of Fantasy Records -- CCR's first label.)
posted by eptitude at 3:47 PM on December 5, 2001

Let me officially "third" the votes for Duran Duran's Greatest, though from me that should go without saying. The whole "New Moon on Monday" controversy still cracks me up, though. I also have good things to say about the 2-disc set Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael if only because it includes every hit he ever had, and neatly divides them into dance tracks and ballads, on discs entitled "For the Heart" and "For the Feet." Clever. And while most would not consider it to be "technically" a greatest hits compilation, it certainly is -- INXS: Live Baby Live - the only way to experience the band "live" now that Hutch is gone. The mix isn't the best, but it's still worth hearing. And if you like her style, you should own Clear Horizon - The Best of Basia - no questions.

I hope I am not alone in this, but if you buy a "greatest hits" cd aren't you already admitting you don't like the band enough to have the CDs the songs were pulled from?

I have several greatest hits compilations for artists for whom I not only own every US release, but every foreign or special release I can get my hands on. (The aforementioned Duran Duran and Sting all fall into that category for me.) With the recent move toward including live tracks or previously unavailable remixes on the discs, sometimes it's worth having even if it does duplicate other items in your collection, especially if you're the completist type.
posted by Dreama at 4:16 PM on December 5, 2001

Dreama, what's the new moon on monday controversy?

For the most part, I agree with BentPenguin, et al, about the need for best of albums. Just for comparison, in Japan artists who are still wildly popular and releasing regularly will release "best of" albums (Mangled to "best albums," such that if you ask a Japanese person what Duran Duran's best album is, they'll answer "best of... and maybe Decade," not "While many people like Rio, I am partial to Seven and the Ragged Tiger") as their fourth album. Sometimes these albums are referred to as "memorial albums," despite the fact that nobody involved in the artist's career is dead.
posted by chiheisen at 5:39 PM on December 5, 2001

Terrapin: Not when you buy it for extras (i.e. the new smashing pumpkins best of has a whole cd of outtakes and stuff).
posted by davidgentle at 11:42 PM on December 5, 2001

Dreama, what's the new moon on monday controversy?

In a nutshell: the band now hates it and would prefer to disavow all knowledge or connection to it, however, it is one of their best known songs and did chart in the top ten 'round the world. Hence, there was some discussion (read: nasty arguing w/the record company) as to whether or not it would be included on Greatest. Practically won out over band preference, and the song is on the disc.
posted by Dreama at 12:42 AM on December 6, 2001

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