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Greatest Hits Albums You Don’t Own But Probably Should...


I tend to be a completist and eschew repackaged albums, preferring instead to acquire a band's material first disc to last. However, sometimes one only wants a taste to sample the works of an artist, or a good set boiled-down for driving around with.

Follows are a few selections that one might wish to add to their music collections. I've tried to limit this to bands you might not otherwise have - groups big enough to have a Greatest Hits compilation (or several, in some cases), yet (I suspect) largely overlooked or totally unknown to most here.

  • Elvis Presley: “Elv1s 30 #1 Hits” is probably a good place to start any list of must-have compilations. “Greatest Jukebox Hits” is better. I grew up with a battered copy of “Elvis Golden Records” (his first Greatest Hits comp, released in 1958) which is still excellent but lacks, obviously, some of his later good ones.
  • Johnny Cash: "johnny cash greatest hits" yields 128 results on I expect they largely cover the same territory. You need one. Buy one that tickles your pickle.
  • The Beatles: A lot of people bought “1” when it came out a few years ago. For my money, you’re still better-off buying both “1962-1966” (AKA “the red one”) and “1967-1970” (“the blue one”).
  • The Rolling Stones: “Hot Rocks 1964-1971”. “More Hot Rocks: Big Hits & Fazed Cookies” is an excellent addition, but not as mandatory as its predecessor. Wisely ignore anything later.
  • ABBA: “Gold”. You Europeans probably have a copy of this lying around the house somewhere already. Americans, take heed! I vacuum to this at top-volume.
  • Bad Company: “The ‘Original’ Bad Company Anthology”. You know half the songs on here and don’t know you know them. This is from whence comes Guitar Of Air.
  • Blue Öyster Cult: “Workshop of the Telescopes”. A disc-and-a-half of perfection followed by a couple filler tracks. Still, no other BÖC comp is as complete. The math-rock of its day.
  • Cheap Trick: Any of several. I like “Essential” quite a bit.
  • The Clash: “The Story Of The Clash, Volume 1” & “The Story Of The Clash, Volume 2”. A deeper (and better) collection than “Essential”, “The Singles”, or “On Broadway”.
  • Gang Of Four: “A Brief History of the Twentieth Century”. Heavy doses of the earlier stuff with just enough of their later, more-dancable material. There are other GO4 comps, but this one always felt more complete to me.
  • Flipper: “Sex Bomb Baby!”. Enough Said.

Now, you go.