Greatest hits album

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A greatest hits album, sometimes called a "best of" album or a catalog album, is a compilation of songs by a particular artist or band. Most often the track list contains previously released recordings with a high degree of notability. However, to increase the appeal, especially to people who already own the original release, it is common to include remixes or alternate takes of popular songs; sometimes even new material (previously unreleased) will function as bonus tracks. At times, a greatest hits compilation is the original album release for songs that have been released as singles and charted successfully.

A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for release together as a single work, but may be collected together as a greatest hits album or box set. If from several performers, there may be a theme, topic, time period, or genre which links the tracks, or they may have been intended for release as a single work—such as a tribute album. When the tracks are by the same recording artist, the album may be referred to as a retrospective album or an anthology.

Song composition for voice(s)

A song is a musical composition intended to be sung by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition of sections. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals.

Musical ensemble group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name

A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.

Contents

Many of these albums surface despite the unwillingness of original artists to support them, the songwriters being embroiled in fighting record company decisions. Despite The Rolling Stones' conflicts over the control of their tracks, the band-opposed Hot Rocks 1964–1971 surfaced in December 1971, and the contentious legal issues failed to clip the wings of the record's commercial success. [1] Nonetheless, many other of these albums actually receive detailed co-operation from the musicians involved, which can mean trying to present a specific 'goal' or 'sound' in the work (roughly akin to that in concept albums).

The Rolling Stones English rock band

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of bandleader Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band's primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group's manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar in tandem with Richards. Since Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as touring bassist. The Stones have not had an official keyboardist since 1963, but have employed several musicians in that role, including Jack Nitzsche (1965–1971), Nicky Hopkins (1967–1982), Billy Preston (1971–1981), Ian McLagan (1978–1981), and Chuck Leavell (1982–present).

<i>Hot Rocks 1964–1971</i> 1971 greatest hits album by The Rolling Stones

Hot Rocks 1964–1971 is a compilation album by the Rolling Stones released by London Records in December 1971. It became the Rolling Stones' best-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective. While the album carries most of the band's biggest hits during their first decade, it does drop a few of them to include standout album tracks such as "Play With Fire", "Under My Thumb" and "Gimme Shelter" giving listeners a more well-rounded impression of the Rolling Stones' music in this era.

Notable compilations

Madonna's The Immaculate Collection (1990) is the best selling greatest hits compilation by a solo artist; all of the songs on it are presented in different versions than the original hit versions. [2] The Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) (1976) is the best selling greatest hits compilation by a group and also one of the ten best selling albums in history. Greatest hits albums are typically produced after an artist has had enough successful songs to fill out an album release. Some artists, such as Selena, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, Aerosmith, Kiss, TLC, Dolly Parton, Journey, Los Tigres del Norte, Queen, Take That, Kylie Minogue and Billy Joel, have released multiple greatest hits albums through their long careers. Some greatest hits albums are released only at the end of the artist or group's career. For example, My Chemical Romance released a greatest hits album May Death Never Stop You: The Greatest Hits 2001–2013 in 2014 after they disbanded. Other artists have released hits albums in the middle of their careers. Carrie Underwood released her greatest hits album, Decade #1, in 2014 after ten years of recording music since winning American Idol, which proceeded her RIAA-certified platinum album Storyteller in 2015, and her 2018 album Cry Pretty.

Madonna (entertainer) American singer-songwriter and actress

Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and for the imagery she uses onstage and in music videos. She has frequently reinvented her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Although having sparked controversy, her works have been praised by music critics. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.

<i>The Immaculate Collection</i> 1990 greatest hits album by Madonna

The Immaculate Collection is a greatest hits album by American recording artist Madonna, released on November 9, 1990 by Sire Records. It contains new remixes of fifteen of her hit singles from 1983 to 1990, as well as the new tracks "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me". Its title is a loose pun on the Immaculate Conception, the conception of the Virgin Mary without the stain of original sin. The extended play The Holiday Collection was issued in Europe to accompany the compilation and the re-release of the single "Holiday". It is the first album ever to use the audio technology QSound.

Eagles (band) American country rock band

The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971. The founding members were Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six number-one albums, six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. Their albums Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California rank first and third, respectively, among the best-selling albums in the United States, with 38 million and 26 million album units in sales. The Eagles are one of the world's best-selling bands, having sold more than 100 million albums. They were ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Some bands refuse to release a greatest hits album, notably AC/DC, Tool and Metallica (AC/DC, however, has released two compilation albums in the past: in 1986 Who Made Who and in 2010 Iron Man 2, which are both movie soundtracks). Manic Street Preachers initially refused to do a greatest hits, but in the end Forever Delayed was released in 2002. A later release, National Treasures - The Complete Singles (2011), was selected and endorsed by the band. Radiohead also refused to do such a compilation, but upon their departure from Parlophone Records, Radiohead: The Best Of was released in 2008 without their cooperation. [3] This was initially to be the case with Oasis, but realizing that the release was inevitable, the band took direct involvement with the album, titled Stop the Clocks (2006) and selected the track listing, track order, artwork and title. Oasis later endorsed a second collection, Time Flies... 1994–2009 (2010) although, as a singles collection, they had less control over its contents.. The country music star Garth Brooks long opposed the release of a greatest hits collection, but agreed to it in 1994 [4] but only for a limited time [5] (his release, The Hits was quickly deleted, but not until selling well over ten million copies). Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, known for her eclectic interest in different musical styles, also resisted releasing a greatest hits album for many years, reportedly fearing that the availability of a greatest hits compilation would lead her record label to take her actual studio albums out of print. She agreed to release Hits in 1996 along with a second album titled Misses , which came out that same year, and the latter compiled non-hit songs that Mitchell personally selected as being representative of her work. Mitchell's assumptions proved correct as both releases earned mixed to positive critical reviews.

AC/DC Australian hard rock band formed in Sydney in 1973

AC/DC are an Australian rock band formed in Sydney in 1973 by Scottish-born brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. Their music has been variously described as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal; however, the band themselves describe their music as simply "rock and roll".

Tool (band) American alternative metal band

Tool is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group's line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist since 1995, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

Metallica American heavy metal band

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California, by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.

One of the most notorious examples of a greatest hits compilation released against the artists' intentions is U.K. rock group The Rolling Stones' compilation Hot Rocks 1964–1971 (1971). The music magazine Rolling Stone remarked that the album served as a "beautifully packaged... purely mercenary item put together by the Stones' former record company to cash in on the Christmas season and wring some more bucks out in the name of the Mod Princes they once owned." [1] After their manager tricked the band into signing over the copyrights to their 1963-1970 song catalog, the band did succeed in changing management and record labels. However, they could neither prevent the release of Hot Rocks nor its successor, which was titled More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (1972). A testament to the selling power of greatest hits albums, Hot Rocks remains the best selling album of the Rolling Stones' career. Note that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards continue to collect significant songwriting royalties from the Hot Rocks sales, but not the ownership royalties.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

<i>More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)</i> 1972 compilation album by The Rolling Stones

More Hot Rocks is a compilation album by the Rolling Stones released in December 1972 on London Records. The album was a follow-up to the hugely successful Hot Rocks 1964–1971.

Mick Jagger British songwriter, singer of The Rolling Stones

Sir Michael Philip Jagger is an English singer, songwriter, actor, and film producer who gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones. Jagger's career has spanned over five decades, and he has been described as "one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll". His distinctive voice and energetic live performances, along with Keith Richards' guitar style have been the trademark of the Rolling Stones throughout the band's career. Jagger gained press notoriety for his admitted drug use and romantic involvements, and was often portrayed as a countercultural figure.

Greatest hits collections can also boost a falling music career. The Beautiful South's first greatest hits album, Carry On up the Charts (1994), was originally strongly opposed by the band. However, upon release it became one of the fastest selling albums in chart history. [6]

The Beautiful South English pop group formed at the end of the 1980s

The Beautiful South were an English pop rock group formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, two former members of the Hull group the Housemartins, both of whom performed lead and backing vocals. Other members throughout the band's existence were former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch (bass), Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar). The band's original material was written by the team of Heaton and Rotheray.

<i>Carry On up the Charts</i> 1994 greatest hits album by The Beautiful South

Carry on up the Charts: The Best of The Beautiful South is an album by English Alternative rock band The Beautiful South. It is the group's fifth album and their first greatest hits collection. It was a major commercial success, reaching number one in the UK Albums Chart and going on to become the second biggest selling album of 1994.

Often, a greatest hits VHS or DVD collection was released, which featured the music videos to the hits (long before streaming websites like YouTube existed). These were often released concurrently with a greatest hits album (a more recent example being the Oasis release Time Flies... 1994–2009 ). However, sometimes, a greatest hits VHS or DVD can be released as a solo release without a companion album (a good example being the Guns N' Roses VHS/DVD Welcome to the Videos , released in 1998. Guns N' Roses would eventually release a greatest hits album in 2004). Another example of a video greatest hits without a companion audio album would be Positive Mental Octopus by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, released in 1990. However, in 1992, the band released a video called What Hits!? , which contained all the videos from Positive Mental Octopus (1990) and also had an accompanying album. Occasionally, a DVD release will feature music videos for singles that were not included on the greatest hits album. Whilst the greatest hits album might only contain a small number of singles, a DVD release will often contain all the band's music videos up until that point. Two examples of this are Blur's The Best of DVD (2000) and Jamiroquai's High Times: Singles 1992–2006 (2006). Queen have released Greatest Video Hits 1 (2002) and Greatest Video Hits 2 (2003).

Several bands that have experienced highly varied chart success (such as being labeled 'one hit wonders' or 'two hit wonders') have released albums using comedic titles (including things such as puns) in reference to that fact in their "best of" albums. Two examples are Men Without Hats, a Canadian new wave group, who released Greatest Hats (1996) as well as the Michael Stanley Band, a U.S. rock n roll group, who released Greatest Hints (1979). Notably, the U.S. progressive rock band Dream Theater directly poked fun at itself with the release Greatest Hit (...And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) (2008), which came out on Rhino Records on April 1, 2008; the album referred openly to how their single "Pull Me Under" has such outsize knowledge compared to the rest of the band's discography. [7]

Some radio stations are emerging that only play greatest hits albums as their source material. [8]

Criticism and popularity

One criticism has been including one or two new songs with a package of hits. This trend started in the early 1980s, and made it necessary for collectors to purchase the "greatest hits" album if they wished to have the complete catalog of an artist's songs, even if those collectors owned all the albums containing the pre-existing hits. By contract, another solution to acquire only the songs, via an online music store, may also be restricted to purchase of the album only, even online. For example, in 2002, The Paperboys released Tenure, which out of its eighteen tracks, contains six new songs.

The quality of a greatest hits package released early in an artist's career depends upon the artist. Elvis Presley released Elvis' Golden Records in 1958, which only covered 1956–1958, although this album still sells today, remaining in print on Compact Disc, despite the many Presley hits collections issued since. The Bee Gees released Best of Bee Gees in 1969, only two years after their international debut, yet nine of the twelve tracks were hit singles in America. Sly and the Family Stone released their Greatest Hits album in 1970, after only three years. Ringo Starr's Blast from Your Past and John Lennon's Shaved Fish came out in 1975, after five-year solo careers (both had been in The Beatles, though none of that material was featured on either album). ZZ Top's The Best of ZZ Top was released in 1978, as a contractual obligation with no new tracks, but since its CD release has been popular because of its use of the original mixes of songs (the CD releases of their parent albums have overdubs made in the 1980s). All of these compilations were well received and continue to garner critical kudos. [9] [10] [11] [12] Bob Marley's Legend (1984) remains his best selling album despite having many more posthumous hits since, and more thorough compilations being released later on.

Gaming and television

A recent trend is for television shows to release compilation DVDs of their most well-regarded and highest-rated episodes to drive new viewers to watch a program. Two examples of this are Family Guy 's Freakin' Sweet Collection and South Park: The Hits. Several video game companies have game re-releases after they have sold a certain number; Sony's PlayStation has a Greatest Hits banner; Nintendo has the Nintendo Selects label (formerly Player's Choice); and Microsoft has the Xbox Platinum Hits label. The European title (and original North American title) for Guitar Hero Smash Hits was Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Eurythmics were a British music duo consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart. Stewart and Lennox were both previously in the band The Tourists, who split up in 1980; Eurythmics were formed that year in Wagga Wagga. The duo released their first album, In the Garden, in 1981 to little fanfare, but went on to achieve global success with their second album Sweet Dreams , released in 1983. The title track was a worldwide hit, topping the charts in various countries including the US. The duo went on to release a string of hit singles and albums before they split up in 1990. By this time Stewart was a sought-after record producer, while Lennox began a solo recording career in 1992 with her debut album Diva. After almost a decade apart, Eurythmics reunited to record their ninth album, Peace, released in late 1999. They reunited again in 2005 to release the single "I've Got a Life", as part of a new Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection.

Jumpin Jack Flash 1968 single by The Rolling Stones

"Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a song by English rock band the Rolling Stones, released as a single in 1968. Called "supernatural Delta blues by way of Swinging London" by Rolling Stone magazine, the song was perceived by some as the band's return to their blues roots after the baroque pop and psychedelia heard on their preceding albums, Aftermath (1966), Between the Buttons (1967) and especially Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967). One of the group's most popular and recognisable songs, it has featured in films and been covered by numerous performers, notably Thelma Houston, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Peter Frampton, Johnny Winter and Leon Russell. To date, it is the band's most-performed song: the band has played it over 1,100 times in concert.

<i>Thank You</i> (Stone Temple Pilots album) 2003 greatest hits album by Stone Temple Pilots

Thank You is a greatest hits collection released by the American alternative rock band Stone Temple Pilots on November 11, 2003 on Atlantic Records. The album has sold over 500,000 copies.

A Little Less Conversation 1968 single by Elvis Presley

"A Little Less Conversation" is a 1968 song recorded by Elvis Presley written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange and published by Gladys Music, Inc., originally performed in the 1968 film Live a Little, Love a Little. The song became a minor hit in the United States when released as a single with "Almost in Love" as the A-side. A 2002 remix by Junkie XL of a later re-recording of the song by Presley became a worldwide hit, topping the singles charts in nine countries and was awarded certifications in ten countries by 2003.

Jailhouse Rock (song) 1957 US rock song

"Jailhouse Rock" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that first became a hit for Elvis Presley. RCA Victor released the song on a 45 rpm single on September 24, 1957, the song had a film release of Presley's motion picture under the same name, Jailhouse Rock.

Suspicious Minds 1969 single by Mark James

"Suspicious Minds" is a 1969 song by Elvis Presley written and first recorded by American songwriter Mark James. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley with producer Chips Moman after James' recording failed commercially, becoming a number one song in 1969, and one of the most notable hits of Presley's career.

<i>100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Cant Be Wrong</i> 2004 box set by Bon Jovi

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<i>What Hits!?</i> 1992 compilation album by Red Hot Chili Peppers

What Hits!? is a "best-of" compilation album by Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on September 29, 1992 by EMI. The album contains tracks from the band's first four albums as well as "Under the Bridge" from their fifth album, 1991's hit Blood Sugar Sex Magik and the Pretty Woman soundtrack contribution/single B-side "Show Me Your Soul." "Behind the Sun" was released as a single and music video to accompany the release of this compilation. The song originally appeared on the band's 1987 album The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. The compilation is the only full-length release of the band to feature "Show Me Your Soul".

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<i>50,000,000 Elvis Fans Cant Be Wrong: Elvis Gold Records, Volume 2</i> 1959 greatest hits album by Elvis Presley

50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong: Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 2 is a compilation album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley, issued by RCA Victor in November 1959. It is a compilation of hit singles released in 1958 and 1959 by Presley, from recording sessions going back as far as February 1957.

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Blue Christmas (song) original song written and composed by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson

"Blue Christmas" is a Christmas song written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson and most famously performed by Elvis Presley. It is a tale of unrequited love during the holidays and is a longstanding staple of Christmas music, especially in the country genre.

Dandelion (song) song by The Rolling Stones

"Dandelion" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and first released as a B-side to "We Love You" in August 1967. With lyrical references to British counting or nursery rhymes, it reached number eight on the UK Singles Chart and number 14 on the US Billboard 100 singles chart.

"Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" is a song written by songwriter Fred Rose. Originally performed by Roy Acuff, the song has been covered by many artists, including Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Russell, and Charley Pride. Most notably, the song was recorded by Willie Nelson as part of his 1975 album Red Headed Stranger. Both the song and album would become iconic in country music history, and jump start Nelson's success as a singer and recording artist.

Steamroller Blues 1970 song performed by James Taylor

"Steamroller Blues", is a blues parody written by James Taylor, that appeared on his 1970 album Sweet Baby James. It was intended to "mock" the inauthentic blues bands of the day. The song later appeared on two of Taylor's compilation albums and has been recorded by a variety of other artists.

(Maries the Name) His Latest Flame song

"(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" is a song recorded in a hit version by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music in 1961. It was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and first recorded by Del Shannon on the album Runaway With Del Shannon, which was released in June 1961.

Fields of Fire (song) single

"Fields of Fire" is one of the biggest hits by the Scottish rock band Big Country. It was first released in the United Kingdom in 1983 as the second single from the band's debut album The Crossing.

References

  1. 1 2 The Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks, 1964-1971 (1972) album review at RollingStone.com
  2. Madonna - The Immaculate Collection (1990) at AllMusic
  3. Radiohead - Best Of (2008) album review at Pitchfork.com
  4. Google Music. Garth Brooks - The Hits (1994). Accessed 31 December 2007.
  5. Patterson, Jim (17 February 1995). "Garth Brooks knows how to take 'The Hits'". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2009. I hate the idea of the greatest hits being out there," Brooks says. EMI won him over with a solution that made sense to his adman side. EMI agreed to sell "The Hits" for only four to six months, meaning that fans better pick it up by this summer or they're out of luck.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) (Archived by WebCite at )
  6. The Beautiful South: Full Biography Retrieved on 2007-06-17
  7. "Dream Theater - Greatest Hit (& 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net . 11 January 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  8. StudioHits.com About Page Retrieved on 2011-06-11
  9. Elvis Presley - Elvis' Golden Records (1958)
  10. Sly and the Family Stone - Greatest Hits (1970) album review at RollingStone.com
  11. Ringo Starr - Blast from Your Past (1970) at AllMusic
  12. John Lennon - Shaved Fish (1975) at AllMusic