Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Compilations: Top 100 All-Time

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First posted 3/30/2018. Updated 6/19/2019.

“Greatest hits” packages are maligned entities in the world of music criticism, targeted by haters as cheap, record-contract-fulfilling-repackagings of works better heard in their original presentations. Naysayers argue that gathering up an act’s most commercial product hardly justifies calling a collection “the best of.”

However, compilations serve an important role in music. They are often a casual fan’s entry point to an artist. In some cases, the distillation of an act’s discography into a single collection weeds out the fluff and truly does present the act at its best.

In any event, here is Dave’s Music Database’s collection of the greatest compilations of all-time. DMDB lists are determined by aggregating best-of lists alongside chart data, sales figures, awards, and album ratings. Note: this list is confined to 1 or 2-disc collections. Box sets (3 or more discs) are summed up in a separate DMDB list. When an act has released multiple compilations, only the highest-rated has been listed, unless other compilations cover completely different material. The years covered by the compilation are noted in parentheses followed by the year the collection was released (noted by an r.).


Top 100 Compilations of All-Time

1. Bob Marley & the Wailers: Legend (1973-83, r. 1984)
2. Eagles: Very Best of (includes all of 1976’s Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 and 1982’s Greatest Hits Volume 2) (compilation: 1971-2003, r. 2003)
3. The Beatles: 1 (1962-70, r. 2001)
4. Madonna: The Immaculate Collection (1983-90, r. 1990)
5. Elton John: Very Best of (includes all of 1974’s Greatest Hits (1970-90, r. 1990)
6. Abba: Gold: Greatest Hits (1973-82, r. 1992)
7. Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (1936-37, r. 1990)
8. Queen: Greatest Hits (aka “We Will Rock You”) (1973-81, r. 1981)
9. Elvis Presley: 30 #1 Hits (1956-77 + a 2002 remix, r. 2002)
10. Simon & Garfunkel: Greatest Hits (1964-70, r. 1972)

11. Michael Jackson: Number Ones (1978-2003, r. 2003)
12. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle: Their 20 Greatest Hits (1968-72, r. 1976)
13. The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks 1964-71 (1964-71, r. 1971)
14. Billy Joel: Greatest Hits Volume I & II (1973-85, r. 1985)
15. U2: Best of 1980-1990 (1980-89, r. 1998)
16. Hank Williams: 40 Greatest Hits (1947-53, r. 1978)
17. Howlin’ Wolf: Moanin’ in the Moonlight/Howlin’ Wolf (aka “The Rocking Chair Album”) (1951-62, r. 1962)
18. Garth Brooks: The Hits (1989-93, r. 1994)
19. Sly & the Family Stone: Anthology (includes all of Greatest Hits) (1967-73, r. 1981)
20. Patsy Cline: 12 Greatest Hits (1957-63, r. 1973)

21. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Greatest Hits (1976-93, r. 1993)
22. Chuck Berry: The Great Twenty-Eight (1955-64, r. 1982)
23. Kenny Rogers: Greatest Hits (1977-80, r. 1980)
24. Journey: Greatest Hits (1977-87, r. 1988)
25. New Order: Substance (1981-87, r. 1987)
26. Carpenters: The Singles 1969-1981 (includes all of The Singles 1969-1973 (1969-81, r. 2000)
27. Eminem: Curtain Call: The Hits (1999-2005, r. 2005)
28. Bessie Smith: The Essential (1923-33, r. 1997)
29. Paul Whiteman: Masterpieces (1920-27, r. 2015)
30. Bruce Springsteen: Greatest Hits (1975-95, r. 1995)

31. Bon Jovi: Cross Road (1982-94, r. 1994)
32. Billy Murray: Anthology: The Denver Nightingale (1903-40, r. 2018)
33. Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady (1977-79, r. 1979)
34. Guns N’ Roses: Greatest Hits (1987-94, r. 2004)
35. Glenn Miller: Glenn Miller & His Orchestra (1939-42, r. 1945)
36. Queen: Greatest Hits 2 (1981-91, r. 1991)
37. Celine Dion: All the Way…A Decade of Song (1991-99, r. 1999)
38. Mariah Carey: #1’s (1990-98, r. 1998)
39. Fleetwood Mac: Greatest Hits (1975-88, r. 1988)
40. Al Green: Greatest Hits (1971-73, r. 1975)

41. Sam Cooke: The Man and His Music (1951-65, r. 1986)
42. Eurythmics: Greatest Hits (1982-89, r. 1991)
43. Lionel Richie: Back to Front (1977-92, r. 1992)
44. The Police: Every Breath You Take – The Singles (1978-86, r. 1986)
45. The Who: Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (1964-70, r. 1971)
46. Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits (1962-66, r. 1967)
47. Eric Clapton: The Cream of Clapton (1966-81, r. 1995)
48. David Bowie: Best of Bowie (European version, 1969-2002, r. 2002)
49. R.E.M.: In Time: The Best of R.E.M. (1988-2003, r. 2003)
50. Steve Miller Band: Greatest Hits 1974-1978 (1973-1978, r. 1978)

51. The Temptations: Anthology (1964-72, r. 1973)
52. Arthur Collins: The King of the Ragtime Singers (1902-16, r. 2014)
53. Phil Collins: Hits (1981-98, r. 1998)
54. Bing Crosby: The Definitive Collection (1931-57, r. 2006)
55. Barbra Streisand: Memories (aka “Love Songs”) (1974-81, r. 1981)
56. Bryan Adams: So Far So Good (1983-93, r. 1993)
57. Johnny Mathis: Johnny’s Greatest Hits (1956-58, r. 1958)
58. Buddy Holly: 20 Golden Greats (1956-58, r. 1978)
59. John Denver: Greatest Hits (1969-72, r. 1973)
b 60. Roy Orbison: For the Lonely - 18 Greatest Hits (1956-65, r. 1989)

61. Aerosmith: Greatest Hits (1973-79, r. 1980)
62. Guy Lombardo: The Band Played On: 25 Number One Hits! (1927-50, r. 2002)
63. The Byrds: Greatest Hits (1965-67, r. 1967)
64. The Doors: Best of the Doors (1966-71, r. 1987)
65. George Michael: Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of (1984-98, r. 1998)
66. Robbie Williams: Greatest Hits (1997-2004, r. 2004)
67. Ray Charles: Anthology (1955-68, r. 1988)
68. Johnny Cash: The Legend of… (1955-2003, r. 2005)
69. The Supremes: Anthology (1962-76, r. 1986)
70. Rod Stewart: Greatest Hits (1971-78, r. 1979)

71. James Taylor: Greatest Hits (1969-76, r. 1976)
72. Charlie Patton: Founder of the Delta Blues (1929-34, r. 1995)
73. Blondie: Best of (1976-80, r. 1981)
74. Muddy Waters: His Best 1947-55 (includes all of Best of, compilation: 1947-55, r. 1997) 75. Van Morrison: Best of (1965-89, r. 1990)
76. Neil Young: Decade (1966-76, r. 1977)
77. Henry Burr: Anthology: The Original King of Pop (1903-28, r. 2005)
78. Willie Dixon/various artists: The Chess Box (1951-69, r. 1988)
79. Nirvana: Nirvana (1988-94, r. 2002)
80. Madonna: GHV2 (1991-2000, r. 2001)

81. Sting: Fields of Gold – The Best of (1985-94, r. 1994)
82. Pink Floyd: Echoes: The Best of (1967-94, r. 2001)
83. Whitney Houston: The Greatest Hits (1984-2000, r. 2000)
84. Pet Shop Boys: Discography – The Complete Singles Collection (1985-91, r. 1991)
85. Shania Twain: Greatest Hits (1994-2004, r. 2004)
86. Bob Seger: Greatest Hits (1972-94, r. 1994)
87. John Lennon: The Collection (1969-80 r. 1982)
88. James Brown: 20 All Time Greatest Hits! (1956-76, r. 1991)
89. Janis Joplin: Greatest Hits (1967-71, r. 1973)
90. Led Zeppelin: Remasters (1969-79, r. 1992)

91. The Doobie Brothers: Best of the Doobies (1972-76, r. 1976)
92. Paul McCartney: All the Best! (1970-87, r. 1987)
93. The Beach Boys: Endless Summer (1962-65, r. 1974)
94. Janet Jackson: Design of a Decade 1986/1996 (1986-95, r. 1995)
95. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Greatest Hits (1989-2003, r. 2003)
96. Sade: Best of (1984-93, r. 1994)
97. Dire Straits: Money for Nothing (1978-85, r. 1988)
98. Prince: Very Best of (1979-92, r. 2001)
99. Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Experience (1966-70, r. 1992)
100. Tina Turner: Simply the Best (1973-91, r. 1991)

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