Greatest Hits – Essential Hits – All The Best

I have never understood highlighting in books.

You pick up a great book in a used bookstore and look inside and someone has taken a highlighter to random passages throughout the pristine pages and you sigh and put it back. I don’t want to try and ignore what someone else decided were passages that they wanted to… to what?, remember, reference again, or thought were interesting while they read through it? I especially laugh when there are more passages highlighted than not.

Highlighting. Sheesh.

I feel the same way about Greatest Hits packages.

When I was first buying music, I did buy a few, but quickly learned that if I liked a band, I would end up getting all their albums and would make the Greatest Hits packages redundant. I tended more to pick up their live albums as a starter when checking out a band, which could probably be argued were LIKE a Greatest Hits package, but at least were unique versions of the songs.

I may have written about this before, but the reason that this came to my head again was after hitting the Public Library for copies of Neil Diamond and Linda Ronstadt CD’s. I realized that I only had them on vinyl and wanted digital too. The library as you may expect was replete with copies of both.

In the pile of CD’s that soon came I found my all time least favorite example of a Greatest Hits package: the slightly different Greatest Hits package.

I do allow for an artist with as long a career as Neil Diamond’s to have a Greatest Hits package. However, and not to pick on Neil, because I really love the man’s work, but there are a ridiculous amount of these collections.

The wiki page on compilations is extensive:

In the stack I got from the library was this one from 2010:

“Neil Diamond – Icon”

This is a great set of songs, no doubt about it. However, see the last 2 listed there? Cherry Cherry (Live) and Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon (Live)?


I also like to call these Collectors Only Greatest Hits packages. They take 90% of classics and actual greatest hits and then toss in a couple of tracks from live albums, singles (that probably were not really Greatest Hits) or remixed tracks, etc. presumably to make their Greatest Hits collection just ever so slightly different from another.

The 2 live tracks on “Neil Diamond – Icon” are from “Neil Diamond – Hot August Night” and though I have and love that album… why pull the live tracks? The studio tracks are better.

Sometimes the band releases a Greatest Hits package with a couple NEW tracks on it. Are these Greatest Hits!? Did the band not have enough Greatest Hits to fill an entire album? This is an awful gimmick. Shame.

I suppose there is a layer of detail that I don’t understand… record company rules and restrictions and song releases and royalties and copyright owners, but as a consumer of music adding tracks unattainable anywhere else is a tactic I am familiar with and despise.

It seems these days to be a general tactic of the box set, which I also have mixed feelings about. They know who they are going after and use their wiles freely. They know they aren’t going after someone saying “I have no problem spending money on a 6 to 10 CD set to see if I like this artists music.”

and us poor vinyl lovers pay even more ridiculous prices for said box sets.


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