Eagles & Springsteen Collections…Are They Needed?

As our Classic Rock artists are ending their careers, we’re getting a lot of “Greatest Hits”, “Best Of”, and “Anthology” collections.  Are they needed?

A recent release is the Eagles’ 3-CD or 6-Record To The Limit: The Essential Collection.  Two-thirds of it is the Eagles’ studio recordings, and the rest is many of those same songs performed live.

The songs are in the chronological order of their albums.

The vinyl set has all the same songs spread over the six records.

If you’re an Eagles fan, you probably have most or all of these recordings.  The collection is definitely not essential for us.  Maybe it’s for young people who are new to the band.  The 3-CD set is reasonably priced at about $26, and the 6-Record set is about $140.

One of the impressive aspects of the Eagles is that they were always very good at performing their songs live.  The problem with the live set here is that they chose live versions that are almost identical to the studio recordings.  From time to time the Eagles rearranged their songs live…such as an acoustic version of “Hotel California”, or having Glenn Frey sing “Take It To The Limit” after Randy Meisner left the band.  Giving us some alternate versions like that would have made the live album more interesting and differentiated it from the studio recordings.  In addition, they could have included some of their solo songs that were often played at Eagles concerts.  Those would have been very welcome.

There are good recordings of the Eagles playing Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer”, “New York Minute”, “Sunset Grill” and “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”.  Joe Walsh could be much better represented with Eagles live recordings of “Funk 49”, “Walk Away”, “Rocky Mountain Way” and “All Night Long”.  Including some of these would have improved the collection.

Another new release is from Bruce Springsteen.

Both cover photos are from the Born To Run photo shoot.

The one on the left is the new collection, but it’s not an improvement over his Greatest Hits as you can see below.

Bruce Springsteen is an iconic artist, but if we’re being honest, his best songs were on the albums leading up to his Greatest Hits (as you can see above).  In addition, even though his extremely popular album Born In The U.S.A. had seven Top 10 hits, only two are on the new collection.  Certainly the reason is because his label will be doing a special edition release of that album someday.

There are some artists (or their families) who have a good reason to release a new collection, such as Tom Petty’s Best of Everything that gathered all his best solo and group songs covering his entire career.  Also it’s great to have collections that include unreleased songs, alternate versions, demos, or remixes of poor stereo versions.  With so many artists having sold the rights to their music, we can depend on a steady flow of releases as those buyers want to make money on their investments.

Maybe we’re just in the “best of” times.

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