Best Rock Artist’s Greatest Hits Vinyl Albums

Best Rock Artist's Original Greatest Hits Vinyl Albums

Photo Amazon Link Rolling Stones Made In The Shade LP

Our 50 Best Rock Artist’s Original Greatest Hits Vinyl Albums list is just that, no CDs, no deluxe box sets or any sort of compilation packages that came out during the CD era. This one goes back to the old days of vinyl records, cassette tapes and 8 tracks. Even by limiting the list to the pre-CD era, just picking around 50 is an extremely difficult task. Greatest hits packages have always been extremely successful from a marketing standpoint and have often become the biggest selling album of many artists catalogs.

In the 1960s and 70s there were two types of music fans. There were those who would often buy every album released by their favorite artists and those who just brought the greatest hits albums. Usually, the loyal music fan would buy everything but the greatest hits album because they already owned all the music. Eventually, record labels got a little hip to that fact and began releasing greatest hits albums with an unreleased track or two. That concept would greatly take hold in the CD era. However, in the vinyl era space was limited on the records. So, record companies were faced with the decision to place an unreleased track at the expense of a popular song or just keep it to all the hits. Depending on the band, most record companies just stuck to the hits because in the end  they knew it was the mass public buying the greatest hits albums instead of the die-hards.

Many rock artists greatest hits packages became legendary for various reasons. Album covers were a very important part of selling greatest hits vinyl records. Some were very artistic and sometimes confusing like The Rolling Stones Made In The Shade. There was no place on that album cover that defined it was a Rolling Stones greatest hits album. When I first purchased the album as a young kid in the 70s, I thought I was buying a new Rolling Stones album that had a very cool cover. However, most greatest hits albums would have the words Greatest Hits printed as clear as a New York City street no parking sign.

Rock Artist’s Greatest Hits albums were created for the fans that usually just brought the 45 singles. The fans that liked the band, but weren’t big record collectors. The fans who would say “why should I buy the album if I only like one song?”  Greatest Hits packages were also great gifts. Ever notice that the majority of Greatest Hits albums were, and still are usually released in the fall for the holiday season?

So why do a Best Rock Artist Greatest Hits albums article? What we haven’t mentioned is the fact that for many of us classic rock fans who grew up with these legendary artists, their greatest hits albums were the first records we purchased from these artists. Those albums are what turned us on to the artists in the first place. Of course not always, but I think any one of us could look back and find an artist that we became fans of because someone in our family had a greatest hits package of that artist already. And it was those greatest hits albums that we fell in love with that fueled our desire to go search out and purchase the original studio albums. In many cases became big fans and buy every single release that particular artist would ever put our again.

Greatest hits albums also had a certain flow to them led by the track lineup. We would get used to hearing an order of songs in a particular way from repeated listens to an artist’s greatest hits record. Remember, in the old days we listened to albums a side at a time usually straight though. After hearing a certain flow of songs from a greatest hits record, it could be odd sometimes to hear them being followed up by different songs on the original studio albums. In the end it all depended on what came first in your record collection, the greatest hits album or the studio album.

Our 50 Best Rock Artist’s Original Greatest Hits Vinyl Albums list was determined by multiple factors. We are using the word best in the title so we need to define why we think they are the best. First and foremost the impact the artist’s music ‘had on popular culture was the first deciding factor. The second was the song selections placed on the greatest hits package. The third was the albums popularity. Most of these albums are just starlight ahead greatest hits LPs with just a few tilted towards unreleased songs or small variations.  We could have done a top 500 list, but hey we have deadlines in this business.

# 52 – The Best of The Band – The Band

Released in 1975

# 51 – 13 – The Doors

Released in 1970

# 50 – Buddy Holly Lives – Buddy Holly

Released in 1978

# 49 – The Great Twenty-Eight – Chuck Berry

Released in 1982 (Double LP)

# 48 – The Best Of Rod Stewart – Rod Stewart

Released in 1975

# 47 – Greatest Hits – Cat Stevens

Released in 1975

# 46 – Greatest Hits – Sly & the Family Stone

Released in 1970

# 45 – The Monkees Greatest Hits – The Monkees

Released in 1976

# 44 – The Best Of Friends – Loggins & Messina

Released in 1974

# 43 – Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II  – Bob Dylan

Released in 1972

# 42 – More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) – Rolling Stones

Released in 1972

# 41 – Greatest Hits Paul Revere & The Raiders

Released in 1967

# 40 – Greatest Hits – Alice Cooper

Released in 1974

# 39 – Chicago IX: Chicago’s Greatest HitsChicago

Released in 1975

# 38 – Blast from Your PastRingo Starr

Released in 1975

# 37 – Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy – The Who

Released in 1971

# 36 – Golden Bisquits  – Three Dog Night

Released in 1971

# 35 – Best of The Doobies – The Doobie Brothers

Released in 1976

# 34 – Time Peace: The Rascals’ Greatest HitsThe Rascals

Released in 1968

# 33 – The Hollies Greatest Hits – The Hollies 

Released in 1973

# 32 – America’s Greatest Hits : History – America

Released in 1975

# 31 – Strange Brew- The Very Best of Cream – Cream

Released in 1983

# 30 -Elton John’s Greatest Hits – Volume II – Elton John

Released in 1975

# 29 – Made In The Shade – The Rolling Stones

Released in 1975

# 28 – The Kink KroniklesThe Kinks

Released in 1972

# 27 –Gold & PlatinumLynyrd Skynyrd

Released in 1979

# 26 – M.U. – The Best of Jethro TullJethro Tull

Released in 1976

# 25 – Who’s Greatest Hits – The Who

Released in 1983

# 24 – Classic Yes – Yes

Released in 1981

# 23 – Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits  – Simon & Garfunkel

Released in 1972

# 22 – Greatest Hits – Steely Dan

Released 1976  Included unreleased track “Here At The Western World”  (Double LP)

# 21 – Greatest HitsLinda Ronstadt

Released 1976

# 20 – Greatest Hits – Queen

Released 1981

# 19 –  Endless Summer – The Beach Boys

Released in 1974 – (Double LP) 

# 18 – The Best Of George Harrison – George Harrison

Released in 1976

# 17 – Greatest Hits! – The Kinks

Released in 1966

# 16 – Greatest Hits- Aerosmith

                Released in 1980

# 15 – Shaved Fish – John Lennon

Released in 1975

# 14 – All The Best Paul McCartney

Released in 1987 (Double LP)

# 13 – The Byrds’ Greatest Hits – The Byrds

Released in 1975

# 12 – Greatest HitsBlood, Sweat & Tears 

Released in 1972

# 11 – Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits – Bob Dylan

Released in 1967

# 10 – Smash Hits – Jimi Hendrix

Released in 1969

# 9 – Chronicle: The 20 Greatest HitsCreedence Clearwater Revival 

Released in 1975

# 8 – Legend – Bob Marley

Released in 1975

# 7 – So Far – Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Released in 1970

# 6 – Changesonebowie – David Bowie

Released in 1975

# 5 – Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)The Eagles

Released in 1975 (Biggest selling album of all time)

# 4 – Hot Rocks 1964–1971  – Rolling Stones

Released in 1971 – (Double LP) 

# 3 – Decade – Neil Young

Released in 1977 – (Triple LP) 

# 2 – Elton John’s Greatest Hits – Elton John

Released in 1974

# 1 – Red & Blue Albums – The Beatles

Released in 1973 (2 Double LP albums)

1962–1966 (The Red Album) 

1967–1970 (The Blue Album) 

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