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Thread: Why the Death of Greatest Hits Albums and Reissues Is Worth Mourning

  1. #26
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    Greatest Hits/Best Ofs were essential to me when starting to purchase music. There were artists you knew you admired, but there was no way you could just go out and buy their whole back catalogue, so this was your way in. Some of those I fondly remember:

    The Beatles: Red and Blue albums
    Stevie Wonder: Original Musiquarium
    David Bowie: Changesonebowie
    Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
    Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks
    Pink Floyd: Relics
    Soft Machine: Triple Echo
    The Carpenters: Gold
    Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits & Greatest Hits Vol II
    Madonna: Immaculate Collection
    Neil Young: Decade

    And many, many more. I loved all these albums - some because I wasn't really interested in having all the albums (Madonna, Carpenters, Bowie) but loved the singles they put out, and some because it was a way of having the artist in my collection without having to splurge on dozens of albums (Dylan and the like). So no "it must be the original album or nothing" snobbery for me!

  2. #27
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    The following are cool in my book, but can they seen as GH comps??

    Beatles Blue
    The Doors' Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine
    Tull's Living in the Past
    Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks, Made In The Shade, Sucking in the 70's
    Pink Floyd: Relics
    Soft Machine: Triple Echo
    Neil Young: Decade
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  3. #28
    I'm not sure, but doesn't Relics contain stuff that is not on any other album?

    I'm not that big on greatest hits either. I prefer live, to discover an artist. I love to have complete albums. Sometimes it is hard to get everything by an artist on CD so in that case I might buy a compilation, if it has enough stuff I can't get on CD.
    The greatest hits, or compilations I have I found mostly for free.

  4. #29
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    ^Relics had some of their non-album singles, but not all. Also 'Biding My Time' remains exclusive. Really there should have been a more comprehensive release than Relics by now, gathering up all those 60s stray tracks in one place. ('Embryo' is another, most widely available on that oddball US mish-mash Works.)

    A fair amount of Neil Young's Decade was previously unreleased or single-only.

    Living In The Past was the album debut for many of its tracks...they'd previously only been on singles/EPs. And there's that live side, although I never thought that was that great myself.

  5. #30
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    It looks like you can still get 'compilations' on Amazon under 'Free MP3 Downloads"

    I got something called 'InsideOut Music, Music in Progress Vol. 2" and maybe a Steve Wilson 'sampler' one there
    "Normal is just the average of extremes" - Gary Lessor

  6. #31
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I like the compilations I make myself. I have a lot of music on my office computers. In fact, I paid extra to get a bigger HDD and SSD for music and games storage. Anyway, I create playlists on Windows Media Player (which then the JRiver player picks up). There's a little of everything. Instrumental prog works well for demanding work - I have a killer playlist for it. Feeling like a binge of acoustic Tull songs to start the morning, there's a playlist. Need to annoy my wife, here's too many notes from Charlie Parker and Coltrane. Some are "best of" compilations of a single act, others are of a certain style or mood, some are based on genre, and so on. Computer > DAC > stereo - all done according to my taste and mood. And the only limitations is weather the songs I want are in my library.

    I've started to set up playlists on Amazon Music so when I'm in the kitchen I can summon up something and then not have to keep requesting songs from Alexa. Just say, "Alexa, playlist Who Primal" and while it sounds like a basic boombox, it's playing what I want it to play.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    ^Relics had some of their non-album singles, but not all. Also 'Biding My Time' remains exclusive. Really there should have been a more comprehensive release than Relics by now, gathering up all those 60s stray tracks in one place. ('Embryo' is another, most widely available on that oddball US mish-mash Works.)
    .
    Yeah, it took Pink Floyd a long time (a very long time) to do a proper overview of all their rare stuff. I can't believe they never put something out in the 80's or 90's that had all the early singles on it. I think there's only boxsets that have all of them. And then there's things like Moonhead, the Zabriskie Point outtakes, etc.

    Is the version of Embyro on Works the same one that was on the Picnic various artists comp? The Picnic version is on the Early Years set, I believe.

    As far as I'm concerned, Relics really should have had Apples And Oranges, It Would Be So Nice, and Point Me At The Sky on it.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
    David Bowie: Changesonebowie
    One of my favorite Venture Brothers gags:

    21: So The Sovereign recorded Station To Station?!
    24: AND ChangesOneBowie! GOD, I love that album!
    21: Could you be a bigger poseur? Changes is a best of!

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, it took Pink Floyd a long time (a very long time) to do a proper overview of all their rare stuff. I can't believe they never put something out in the 80's or 90's that had all the early singles on it. I think there's only boxsets that have all of them. And then there's things like Moonhead, the Zabriskie Point outtakes, etc.

    Is the version of Embyro on Works the same one that was on the Picnic various artists comp? The Picnic version is on the Early Years set, I believe.

    As far as I'm concerned, Relics really should have had Apples And Oranges, It Would Be So Nice, and Point Me At The Sky on it.
    'Candy And A Currant Bun' is another MIA track from Relics.

    'Embryo' was a demo, as I understand it, and they were apparently not happy it had been released in the first place on Picnic.

    That 2-cd Early Years sampler should have had all these non-album singles and- at least- 'Vegetable Man'. But it didn't. Somebody felt that three Obscured By Clouds remixes were more worthy of inclusion.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
    Stevie Wonder: Original Musiquarium
    Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
    Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits & Greatest Hits Vol II
    ...Musiquarium was a really great one; very well sequenced, and a quarter of it was new at the time. Arguably drew a line under his peak period.

    Singles Going Steady was mostly non-album material. It appears that a remaster added more songs to less effect.

    The Bob Dylan Greatest Hits sets were very well chosen, I'd say. There's also a third which came out in the 90s, which is also nice. The first two differed slightly in the UK...the US tracklists are superior IMHO.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dy...#Track_listing
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dy...#Track_listing

    That Best Of The Mono Recordings was a nice, budget-priced one by Dylan I listened to a lot when it was released. It actually incorporates all of the first Greatest Hits. There are some obvious differences in the mixes and I think it was the only place you could get the non-album 'Positively 4th Street' in its mono mix. I suppose it could also have included the other non-album A sides 'Mixed Up Confusion' and 'Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window', although the latter was only ever in mono until recently anyway.

  11. #36
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    I'm not sure, but doesn't Relics contain stuff that is not on any other album?
    i'm not big on Relics myself, because I never cared much for those early Syd-era singles (Layne was OK, the rest not really) and the only thing really worth it (IMHO) was the Eugene track... But I owned the Umma version, so I didn't need it. I'm still not totally OK (never owned it) with Relics, because of what it didn't include: Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Cymbalene (the latter two being different version of what's on the MORE OST)

    a total missed opportunity, if you aske me.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  12. #37
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    Yes, the studio versions of some of those late 60s songs like '...Eugene', 'Set The Controls...' and 'A Saucerful...' are like demos compared to where they would take the songs live. The live arrangements really stretched them out and explored the dynamics. Perhaps their most interesting period as a live band.

    Relics was originally only a budget release in the UK. I think its somewhat 'thrown together' nature ultimately reflects that. (Barclay James Harvest had one on the same label.) This was a European equivalent:

    https://www.discogs.com/The-Pink-Flo...d/master/44236

    Worth noting that this included all the Syd Barrett-era singles, and also 'It Would Be So Nice' which hasn't been on much else.

  13. #38
    Member dgtlman's Avatar
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    Back in the day I NEVER bought Greatest Hits packages because I was a purist

  14. #39
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    I've bought a few compilations in recent years at B&N because that's all I could find of the artists I was looking for. I'd rather have the proper albums but then I'd be buried in physical media and I'd have to buy them on the internet ( which I avoid).

  15. #40
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    I've bought a few compilations in recent years at B&N because that's all I could find of the artists I was looking for.
    It's pretty much all they sell. But they will try to sell you membership in their music buyers club, something that costs too much to ever pay for itself due to B&N's high prices and poor selection. I guess we're supposed to be happy the book store has a music section at all. But I'm old enough to remember lots of real record stores in daze gone by.
    Can this be the swan song? The final elbow?

  16. #41
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    This was a European equivalent:

    https://www.discogs.com/The-Pink-Flo...d/master/44236

    Worth noting that this included all the Syd Barrett-era singles, and also 'It Would Be So Nice' which hasn't been on much else.
    If only it had also included "Point Me at the Sky." I had the Masters of Rock version with the cover that used the inner spread photo from Meddle with Syd Barrett's face spliced in in place of Gilmour!

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    'Candy And A Currant Bun' is another MIA track from Relics.
    Yeah, I meant to address that, but it got lost in the editing process. I've probably somewhere along the way, but I don't remember it, so I didn't want to endorse that one. But given that I just got the Early Years set, I should be remedying that very soon.
    'Embryo' was a demo, as I understand it, and they were apparently not happy it had been released in the first place on Picnic.
    My understanding that it "wasn't finished" and hadn't intended for it to be released it that form. I find it curious that they played that song regularly from 69-71 and yet they never did anything with it, so far as including it on an official album. I think that's the one thing I don't like about Ummagumma, as I kinda wish they had waited until 1970 or 1971 to do a live album, and to make it a proper double LP. They could have included Embryo, the extended Fat Old Sun arrangement, the Grantchester Meadows/Astronomy Domine combo, the Green Is The Colour/Careful With That Axe, Eugene combo, the sans brass and choir arrangement of Atom Heart Mother, etc.


    That 2-cd Early Years sampler should have had all these non-album singles and- at least- 'Vegetable Man'. But it didn't. Somebody felt that three Obscured By Clouds remixes were more worthy of inclusion.
    And that brings me back to my point about best of releases, i.e. that the people who are putting such things together make what i feel are less than sound decisions. I mean, really, you need the Obscured By Clouds on there, but not Vegetable Man, Scream Thy Last Scream and the singles?!
    because of what it didn't include: Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Cymbalene (the latter two being different version of what's on the MORE OST)
    Which versions of Green Is The Colour and Cymbaline are you talking about? I think it's also unfortunate that Seabirds was never released. I gather the master tapes were wiped at some point, and the only way you can hear it is in More itself. I read, though, that there was a Pink Floyd songbook put out at some point, that had Seabirds in it, and some band learned it out of the songbook and recorded a cover.
    Yes, the studio versions of some of those late 60s songs like '...Eugene', 'Set The Controls...' and 'A Saucerful...' are like demos compared to where they would take the songs live. The live arrangements really stretched them out and explored the dynamics. Perhaps their most interesting period as a live band.
    Which is why I wish they had done a proper double (or triple?) LP live album. Sides one and two of Ummagumma really only scratch at the surface of what they were doing live.
    But I'm old enough to remember lots of real record stores in daze gone by.
    Record stores, sometimes even mall stores that had good music selection. Electronics places (e.g. Best Buy and Circuit City) that used to have really good music sections. Bookstores with good music selection (for a long time I bought everything from Borders). Man, I miss those days.

  18. #43
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgtlman View Post
    Back in the day I NEVER bought Greatest Hits packages because I was a purist
    Back in the day that's what I frequently bought because of limited funds.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    The following are cool in my book, but can they seen as GH comps??

    Beatles Blue
    The Doors' Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine
    Tull's Living in the Past
    Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks, Made In The Shade, Sucking in the 70's
    Pink Floyd: Relics
    Soft Machine: Triple Echo
    Neil Young: Decade
    Played the hell out of these back before the CD age.

  20. #45
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    Which is why I wish they had done a proper double (or triple?) LP live album. Sides one and two of Ummagumma really only scratch at the surface of what they were doing live
    For early live Floyd, I like the old BBC boots or Live at the KQED TV Studio.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  21. #46
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    My first proper album aged 12 was Elton John's Greatest Hits, still have it in pristine condition! Sad though that an era is passing into history and we cannot know the music we will never hear because of it.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    For early live Floyd, I like the old BBC boots or Live at the KQED TV Studio.
    The KQED video is awesome, I've had that on a bootleg VHS since the 90's. I'm looking forward to watching it on the Early Years box. I just wish that the people at KQED had found that clip of Astronomy Domine (apparently also performed, but left out of the broadcast, it was subsequently posted on Youtube) before the Early Years set was finalized, so it could be included.

    But my point is, one shouldn't have to go looking for a bootleg to get the definitive Pink Floyd live album. It should be right there in the record bins, available to anyone, anywhere at a nominal charge, for the last 49 years. We shouldn't have had to wait nearly 50 years for the two BBC concerts from 70 and 71 to be released. There should have been a double CD set of those two put out back in the early 90's, when everyone else's BBC recordings started appearing. There should have been a double CD of their 67-69 era BBC recordings too.

    Oh, and one con on the Early Years box: it's missing the blues jam from the 71 BBC concert. WTF?!

  23. #48
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    I like the compilations I make myself.
    I like the ones I make better

    Need to annoy my wife, here's too many notes from Charlie Parker and Coltrane
    Grounds for divorce in my house

    I can summon up something and then not have to keep requesting songs from Alexa. Just say, "Alexa, playlist Who Primal" and while it sounds like a basic boombox,
    I was at a little get-together at my brother and sister in-law's house and they were using Alexa. I got called away to work and on my way out I said (unbeknownst to anyone else), "Alexa, play Frank Zappa" and the next song was Bobby Brown Goes Down. I'm told it followed that up with Titties and Beer.
    Digital playback brought high fidelity to the masses and audiophiles will never forgive it for that

  24. #49
    Deep Purple - 24 Carat Purple. My intro to the band.

  25. #50
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I have Deep Purple CD called.....The Very Best of Deep Purple. It has all the usual hits, Smoke, Hush, Highway Star, Space Truckin.'

    I have a best of of ELP. It has the full epic Tarkus.

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