With their beautiful harmony vocals and gentle melodies, Peter, Paul & Mary were the most popular folk act of the 1960s. While Bob Dylan was unquestionably the genre's most influential and revered performer by the mid-1960s, it was Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers who helped him to reach a larger audience with their accessible '63 renditions of his "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." In addition to Dylan, the group also championed the work of Gordon Lightfoot and John Denver, most notably with the wanderlust tales "For Lovin' Me" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (a runaway hit in '69), respectively.
All of the aforementioned tunes are presented on THE VERY BEST OF PETER, PAUL & MARY, a 25-track set carefully compiled by the trio itself. This 2005 collection focuses almost exclusively on the '60s and '70s work of PP&M, with the exception of the deceptively breezy "El Salvador" (from '86) and 2003's "Don't Laugh at Me," which finds the threesome in fine voice more than 40 years after the group was founded in New York City's Greenwich Village. Also included are three early-'70s solo tracks–one apiece by Yarrow, Stookey, and Travers–rounding out this wonderfully selected disc, which is a must for any folk collection.
Peter, Paul & Mary: Noel "Paul" Stookey, Peter Yarrow (vocals, acoustic guitar); Mary Travers (vocals).
Recording information: 1962 - 2003.Dirty Linen (p.85) - "It's fun to see the group really lay its politics on the line in 'El Salvador,' and 'Weave Me the Sunshine' is as vibrant as anything Peter, Paul, and Mary ever recorded."
"Hard to believe, but Capitol's 2008 collection Idolize Yourself: The Very Best of Billy Idol is only the second Billy Idol hits album to be released in America, following the first – 2001's Greatest Hits – by just seven years. [~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
Twenty-five tracks round up an extremely haphazard but nevertheless intriguing "best of" Marc Bolan's last five years, drawing equally from the regular albums and familiar boogies, and the wealth of archival material excavated by the Unchained and Alternate series. Certainly not compiled with the hit hunter in mind (only "The Groover" and "Dreamy Lady" truly fall into that category), Very Best of, Vol. 2 is instead devoted to illustrating as many facets of Bolan's career as it could, from the pensive introspection of "Spaceball Ricochet," to the grinding self-aggrandizement of "The Groover," and onto the sharp autobiography of "Over the Flats" and "Funky London Childhood." As such, and especially when viewed in tandem with Very Best of, Vol. 1, it serves up a delightful portrait of Bolan's '70s, at a price that is difficult to squabble with.
Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits is the second greatest hits compilation by the British rock band Dire Straits, released on 19 October 1998 by Mercury Records internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. The album was originally released, featuring liner notes by Robert Sandall, as both a one-disc edition and two-disc edition. The second disc contains live performances. The release is named after the band's 1978 hit single of the same name. The compilation was re-released together with a DVD in 2002.
One of the unsung heroes of 1970s soul, Willie Hutch was never the big name he deserved to be. The smooth singer/composer had a few major and moderate hits, but commercially, he didn't make it to the level of Marvin Gaye, Ronald Isley, and Curtis Mayfield (all of whom he inspires comparisons to). Released in late 1998, The Very Best of Willie Hutch spans 1972-1982 and reminds us how engaging a singer he was in his heyday. Hutch could get funky when he wanted to, and he does so with splendid results on "Get Ready for the Get Down" (a number 24 R&B hit), "Brothers Gonna Work It Out," and the theme from the 1973 blaxploitation film Foxy Brown. But for the most part, Hutch made his mark as a romantic crooner. It is Hutch's smooth, romantic side that prevails on "Sunshine Lady," "I Choose You," "What You Gonna Do After the Party," and his inspired makeover of Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were." Appropriately, the CD opens with Hutch's biggest hit: the perky, feel-good anthem "Love Power," which went to number nine on the R&B singles charts. Full of gems that were recorded during Hutch's peak years, this CD is essential listening for lovers of 1970s soul.