Friday, March 30, 2018

Compilations: Top 100 All-Time

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“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 such a collection a “best of.”

However, compilations serve an important role in music. They are often a casual fans 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. Also, the years covered by the compilation are noted in parentheses.

One last commentary: ironically, many of the collections below are not representative of an act’s entire career. Elton John, for example, has released multiple best-of collections, but the one which rates highest is his first Greatest Hits, which only covers five years.


Top 100 Compilations of All-Time

1. The Beatles…1 (1962-1970)
2. Bob Marley & the Wailers…Legend (1973-1983)
3. Madonna…The Immaculate Collection (1983-1990)
4. Elvis Presley…30 #1 Hits (1956-2002)
5. Elton John…Greatest Hits (1970-1974)
6. Eagles…Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (1971-1975)
7. Abba…Gold: Greatest Hits (1973-1982)
8. Queen…Greatest Hits (aka “We Will Rock You”) (1973-1981)
9. Simon & Garfunkel…Greatest Hits (1964-1970)
10. Michael Jackson…Number Ones (1978-2003)

11. Creedence Clearwater Revival…Chronicle: Their 20 Greatest Hits (1968-1972)
12. U2…Best of 1980-1990 (1980-1989)
13. The Rolling Stones…Hot Rocks 1964-71 (1964-1971)
14. Billy Joel…Greatest Hits Volume I & II (1973-1985)
15. Hank Williams…40 Gretaest Hits (1947-1953)
16. Bruce Springsteen…Greatest Hits (1975-1995)
17. Garth Brooks…The Hits (1989-1993)
18. Robert Johnson…The Complete Recordings (1936-1937)
19. Mariah Carey…#1’s (1990-1998)
20. David Bowie…Best of Bowie (1969-2002)

21. Chuck Berry…The Great Twenty Eight (1955-1964)
22. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers…Greatest Hits (1976-1993)
23. New Order…Substance (1981-1987)
24. Bon Jovi…Cross Road (1982-1994)
25. Kenny Rogers…Greatest Hits (1977-1980)
26. Fleetwood Mac…Greatest Hits (1975-1988)
27. Patsy Cline…12 Greatest Hits (1957-1963)
28. Journey…Greatest Hits (1977-1987)
29. Queen…Greatest Hits 2 (1981-1991)
30. Eminem…Curtain Call: The Hits (1999-2005)

31. Buzzcocks…Singles Going Steady (1977-1979)
32. Guns N’ Roses…Greatest Hits (1987-1994)
33. Bob Dylan…Greatest Hits (1962-1966)
34. Lionel Richie…Back to Front (1977-1992)
35. Carpenters…The Singles 1969-1973 (1969-1973)
36. The Police…Every Breath You Take: The Singles (1978-1986)
37. Celine Dion…All the Way…A Decade of Song (1991-1999)
38. Sly & the Family Stone…Greatest Hits (1967-1970)
39. Eric Clapton…The Cream of Clapton (1966-1981)
40. Al Green…Greatest Hits (1971-1973)

41. Eurythmics…Greatest Hits (1982-1989)
42. Sam Cooke…The Man and His Music (1951-1965)
43. Bryan Adams…So Far So Good (1983-1993)
44. The Who…Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1964-1970)
45. R.E.M.…In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (1988-2003)
46. Aerosmith…Greatest Hits (1973-1979)
47. Phil Collins…Hits (1981-1998)
48. Steve Miller Band…Greatest Hits 1974-1978 (1973-1978)
49. The Byrds…Greatest Hits (1965-1967)
50. Barbra Streisand…Memories (aka “Love Songs”) (1974-1981)

51. George Michael…Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of (1984-1998)
52. The Doors…Best of the Doors (1966-1971)
53. James Taylor…Greatest Hits (1969-1976)
54. Whitney Houston…The Greatest Hits (1984-2000)
55. The Beach Boys…The Very Best of (1962-1988)
56. Pink Floyd…Echoes: The Best of (1967-1994)
57. John Denver…Greatest Hits (1969-1972)
58. Van Morrison…Best of (1965-1989)
59. Robbie Williams…Greatest Hits (1997-2004)
60. Neil Young…Decade (1969-1976)

61. Nirvana…Nirvana (1988-1994)
62. Shania Twain…Greatest Hits (1994-2004)
63. Led Zeppelin…Remasters (1969-1979)
64. Janet Jackson…Design of a Decade 1986/1996 (1986-1995)
65. Johnny Mathis…Johnny’s Greatest Hits (1956-1958)
66. Prince…Very Best of (1979-1992)
67. Pet Shop Boys…Discography: The Complete Singles Collection (1985-1991)
68. The Rolling Stones…Jump Back: 1971-1993 (1971-1989)
69. Janis Joplin…Greatest Hits (1967-1971)
70. Madonna…GHV2 (Greatest Hits Volume 2) (1991-2000)

71. Dire Straits…Money for Nothing (1978-1985)
72. Sting…Fields of Gold: The Best of 1984-1994 (1985-1994)
73. Sade…Best of (1984-1993)
74. Jimi Hendrix…The Ultimate Experience (1966-1970)
75. U2…Best of 1990-2000 (1991-2000)
76. Bob Seger…Greatest Hits (1972-1994)
77. Rod Stewart…Greatest Hits (1971-1978)
78. Red Hot Chili Peppers…Greatest Hits (1989-2003)
79. Bee Gees…Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits (1966-1987)
80. Stevie Wonder…The Definitive Collection (1962-1998)

81. The Doobie Brothers…Best of the Doobies (1972-1976)
82. Pink…Greatest Hits…So Far!!! (2000-2010)
83. Duran Duran…Greatest (1980-1997)
84. Howlin’ Wolf…Moanin’ in the Moonlight (1951-1959)
85. Frank Sinatra…Reprise: The Very Good Years (1960-1980)
86. The Cars…Greatest Hits (1978-1985)
87. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young…So Far (1969-1970)
88. The Cure…Standing on a Beach: The Singles (1978-1985)
89. Bessie Smith…The Essential (1923-1933) (1923-1933)
90. The Temptations…Anthology (1964-1972)

91. Britney Spears…M Prerogative: Greatest Hits (1997-2004)
92. Foreigner…Records (1976-1981)
93. Tupac (2pac) Shakur…Greatest Hits (1991-1996)
94. Tears for Fears…Tears Roll Down: 1982-1992 (1982-1992)
95. Olivia Newton-John…Magic: The Best of (1973-1990)
96. Daryl Hall & John Oates…Rock ‘N’ Soul Part I (1973-1983)
97. Muddy Waters…Best of (1948-1954)
98. Roy Orbison…For the Lonely: A Roy Orbison Anthology 1956-1965 (1956-1965)
99. Chicago…Chicago IX: Greatest Hits (1969-1973)
100. Charley Patton…Founder of the Delta Blues: 1929-1934 (1929-1934)

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