How Greatest Hits Go Wrong, Part 3: Dramatic Change in Personnel

Buying Van Halen’s greatest hits probably seems like a pretty solid choice, right? Especially the collection called “Volume I” that would seem, by virtue of its title, to focus on Van Halen’s first two decades of hard rockin’ David Lee Roth tunes. But nine out of 17 songs are Van Hagar. They never put out a Volume II, so that must be reserved for all their hits with Gary Cherone. Also, they have another hits collection called “Best of Both Worlds,” which perversely alternates between Roth and Hagar songs.

I also think that fans of “Dark Side of the Moon” era Pink Floyd must be confused to encounter the three Syd Barrett songs on Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd. As a Syd Barrett fan, I think they’re better off, but will concede that the morphine drip of “Learning to Fly” should probably never shuffle into the jittery ’60s freakouts of “Bike” or “See Emily Play.”

I don’t know their music that well, but I imagine that the Temptations’ three different lead singers must make their greatest hits album sound like three different records.

Also, there’s AC/DC, but both of their singers rock and all of their songs gloriously sound the same. The only problem with their greatest hits album is that it’s called The Soundtrack to Iron Man 2.

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