The greatest of the greatest…

Anyone got any favourite compilation / best of / greatest hits records?

Some people regard these as the devils own but I’m all for a great compilation album. I’ve got into many bands through a good compilation and don’t see anything wrong with them, especially as with some bands, like the Who and The Stones, I find their albums albums are a bit hit and miss and there’s loads of them to trawl through.

(I’d include Neil Young in that too).

Sometimes best of’s have glaring omissions and you can’t understand why?

For example, Life On Mars never made it onto Changes One Bowie and The Only Living Boy In New York never appeared on Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.

But, in my opinion, you can’t beat a good compilation (or live album – which were never really live anyway).

Here are my top ten compilation albums which I would never be without. Have I missed anything? (yep, Standing On The Beach and 24 Carat Purple). Let me know in the comments:

  1. Decade – Neil Young
  2. The Beatles (Blue Album) 1967-1970
  3. Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine – The Doors
  4. Changes One Bowie – David Bowie
  5. Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy – The Who
  6. We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll – Black Sabbath
  7. REM – Eponymous
  8. Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
  9. Warren Zevon – A Quiet Normal Life
  10. Get Stoned – Rolling Stones


  1. I agree – Seconds Out was the first Genesis album I heard and it sent me on a musical adventure. Love the Bruford/Collins drumming on Cinema Show.

  2. Not sure if it counts since it is a compilation of bands but Burning Ambitions A History of Punk changed my life. And so did Motörhead’s No Sleep ’til Hammersmith.
    Otherwise I’d say Leonard Cohen Greatest Hits and Kate Bush The Whole Story

  3. the dexys midnight runners comp. “let’s make this precious” is essentially perfect, especially because it replaces a few tracks with far superior BBC session versions.

  4. Top 5

    Strictly Commercial – Frank Zappa
    Boy Child – Scott Walker
    David Bowie – The Platinum Collection (3CD)
    Prince – The Hits / The B Sides (3CD)
    Used Songs by Tom Waits – It misses Gun Street Girl, but so does the Beautiful Maladies comp

    1. I also find that Scott 4 by Scott Walker (an album that got him dropped!!) is such an amazing album that it almost feels like a ‘Best Of’ within itself.

  5. Those compilations are very ‘vinyl’ Chris! anyway, for what it’s worth…
    The Verve’s This Is Music, The Smiths “Singles”, The Stranglers The Hit Men & Led Zeppelin’s BBC Sessions all offer the essentials without any filler…
    As various artist compilations go, Virgin’s ‘The Front Line’ series offer a fantastic introduction to some classic reggae.

  6. A lot of vinyl fans are very snobby about compilations but I love em. I’ve always thought The Jam s Snap was their best album. And The Smiths Hatful Of Hollow is another.

  7. The Temptations – Psychedelic Soul. Covers 1968-1973ish, when the Temptations got weird and awesome (Ball of Confusion, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Cloud Nine, etc). It’s a fantastic collection.

      1. I am like that with The Cure and Bauhaus, but having said that both Swing the Heartache and Bauhaus 1979-1983 are two really good compilations.

  8. Two that come to mind. ‘Best of Big Star’ really switched me on to those guys, but is a strange one for a compilation as it is made up of tracks from their first two albums only and nothing from ‘Third / Sister Lovers’.
    Then, despite having all the studio albums before picking it up, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ’21 Singles’ is amazing and gets a lot of play in our house.

  9. Couple that come to mind, ‘Best of Big Star’ was a great gateway to them, although a weird compilation as it is made up of about half of each of their first two albums and nothing from ‘Third Sister /Lovers’ at all.
    And despite having all the studio albums, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ’21 Singles’ gets played a lot, because it’s amazing.

  10. Top selection Chris and you guys, I can certainly relate to some classics here though I don’t have any on vinyl, as yet! The sheer weight would crush this old house. I’ll raise you a Giorgio Moroder, the Moog has it. Contraband: The Best of Men at Work, Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits.. The Manics, Mogwai, Mungo Gerry.. somebody stop me! Aha

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