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20 Great Greatest Hits

greatest hits

Got a sophisticated music fan in your life but don’t know which album to buy?

Wanna turn that music fan on to a band or artist you loved as a youngster?

Always wanted to discover an artist with an expansive collection but don’t know where to start?

You would probably settle on a greatest hits album or a box set. Sometimes it turns out to be a bad idea. Many of the box sets feature a lot of music for a lot of money. Unfortunately a lot of it is unlistenable. Outtakes, live crap or just nonsense.

OK…relax…Stevie is here to help you out. I have selected 20 superb greatest hits albums that cover various genres of music.

In no particular order:

Let’s start with the BIG guys:

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The Beatles – 1 – if you know somebody who never heard of The Beatles. smack them first, then buy this compilation. It’s all the #1 hits. I know it seems cheesy, but it’s a perfect mix of the fab four at their best and it’s interesting to see how much the boys evolved in their short career.

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The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks – At this point the Stones probably have more greatest hits albums than they have hits. This is one of the first ones that came out and to this day, their best. A great introduction to the greatest rock n roll band on the planet.

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Bob Dylan – No Direction Home Bootleg Series Vol. 7 – So much Dylan to absorb. These bootleg series albums have been coming out. Most of them are live and hard to listen to. Tell Tale Signs Vol 8 was good. This one is a little better. It’s from the Martin Socrcese documentary about Dylan which everyone should see. Some excellent work here from the man.

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The Who – The Kids Are Alright soundtrack – I know it’s a movie soundtrack and should be disqualified, but it’s not because it’s an amazing look at an amazing band.


The Kinks – Kink Kronikles – Good luck finding it (Amazon?) – one of the best compilation albums ever made. I am saying that because I am a fan, and because its true. The best part is there is no sign of You Really Got Me or All Day And All Of The Night. Just wonderful Kinks Klassics

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The Beach Boys – Warmth of the Sun – not your typical surfing music Beach Boys. This one contains a lot of those brilliant gems that Brian Wilson churned out while laying in bed eating cheeseburgers.

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The Eagles – Greatest Hits – love them or hate them, this is the best selling greatest hits album of all time, and for a reason. Pleasant country rock songs that you know. You will sing along even if you’ve heard these songs a million times.


The Ramones – Anthology – A double CD of the Ramones at their finest. 1-2-3-4. Get your punk on and go.

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Talking Heads – The Name of this Band is Talking Heads or Sand In The Vaseline – you can’t go wrong with either one of these. The first one is a live album, but you would never know it. They are that tight. The second is just a flawless compilation of everything that makes Talking Heads one of the greatest American Bands ever.


Elvis Costello – The Very Best Of – It really is. I can’t think of much that they missed. Sure, I can say there could have been some of the interesting B-sides, but this is pretty much everything you need to know about Elvis Costello at his best.


Sex Pistols  – Never Mind The Bollocks – Do not, I repeat do not buy anything by the Sex Pistols except for this album. It was their first and only album. Just get it. It’s perfect.

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Abba – Gold – leave it to me to follow the Sex Pistols with Abba. Abba was a greatest hits band. Everything else they did paled in comparison. This is the one to get. It has it all. Mamma Mia you will be in pop heaven. Don’t be afraid to sing along.


Neil Young – Decade – Neil Young craps out an album every week. Way too many to choose from. This one is a great history of Neil up to the point where he still mattered. After this he became a little too much of a babbler.


The Clash – The Essential Clash – I usually hate anything called “The Essential”, but this one is an exception. It’s The Clash at their best.


Devo – Pioneers Who Got Scalped – for the weird kid on your Christmas list, it doesn’t get any weirder than Devo at their weirdest.

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Mr. Blue Sky ELO – Interesting choice because this is a remix of all the ELO hits by Jeff Lynne, just produced last year. Jeff was the brains behind this outfit and you will see why. He does an amazing job of reinventing the classics.


Songs of Leonard Cohen – Brooding, mellow, sad and deep. This is the best Leonard has ever done. It’s not his greatest hits album, but it is, if you now what I mean. Light up a joint and get some wine and just dig his moods.


Black Sabbath  -We Sold Our Soul For Rock n Roll  – OZZY and the boys at their absolute best. The Early years.


Tom Waits – Used Songs – Tough guy to get into, but you can’t call yourself a sophisticated listener without at least one Tom Waits album in your collection. This is the one to get

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Patti Smith – Land – Patti was legendary in the early years. This just about covers everything she ever did that mattered.

Now get on-line and start shopping.

You’re welcome


About Stevie GB

60 year old stand up comedian from Long Island. My approach to comedy is telling the truth about being married, middle aged and living in the suburbs. I enjoy making people laugh without making them feel uncomfortable. My act is clean and clever. Featured in Newsday and on News12. Winner of the Huntington Arts Council Laff-off, 2006. 3rd place winner of LI Press Best of LI 2011, A regular on The Long Island Comedy Festival for 9 consecutive years. Opened for Dennis Miller, Louie Anderson, Kevin Pollak, Bobby Collins, Bob Nelson, Uncle Floyd, Kevin Meaney, and many more.

4 responses to “20 Great Greatest Hits

  1. Gerard ⋅

    Allright, i complete your list to 25:

    The Stranglers with their fantastic live-album All Live And All Of The Night from 1988. Only great songs they made throughout the years.. I am still very annoyed Hugh Cornwell left in 1990

    Thin Lizzy – Life Live from 1983 was also great, former and current members were playing on it.

    Any of the two Traveling Wilburys albums would do to get people interested in the music of their different members as well.

    Golden Earring, Dutch pride, founded in 1961 and still going strong (gonna see them tomorrow live), Collected contains 40 of the 50 years. Any live album will do as well

    With Alice Cooper I have a problem.. Billion Dollar Babies and Killer are great from the early years, but also Hey Stoopid and Trash of the later years… I saw him perform last year and I think a DVD of last year’s tour would be the ideal start to introduce people into him.

  2. This is a great Christmas guide for people to get just a sample of these bands. Kink Kronikles saved my life! And Pioneers who Got Scalped is probably the most career expansive collection on this list. It doesn’t ignore the later albums and songs that many would deem as unimportant, but those albums are impossible to find so at least there’s remnants on this compilation.

  3. Nipo ⋅

    Stevie, Nip here… I do have to agree about most box sets but here are a few must haves!!!
    1. Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968
    2. Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the 80s Underground
    3. The Heartbreakers LAMF box set (4 cd’s with all the mud taken out and tons of unreleased demos with and without Richard Hell)
    4. For collectors and true fans only… Sex Pistols Never mind the Bollocks Box Set… Remaster album outtakes including a demo of Belsen Was a Gas with johnny on vocals, Original SPUNK CD, DVD, posters , a wonderful book plus a reissued copy of the God Save the Queen 45 on A&M records. The price is the down side of this reissue expect to lay out about $150.00 for this puppy!

    • Stevie GB

      Thanks Nip…NUGGETS — haha…of course. love that one.
      I have seen Left of the dial. lots of great songs on there. Also there is one called No Thanks that is pretty good.
      LAMF – gotta love those Heartbreakers
      Pistols – i am jaded since i have heard so many bad repackages of them, but that one sounds good. YOU WOULD KNOW.

      thanks for reading

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