The collection is produced by the band, with all surviving members contributing to song selection. Ocasek also supervised digital remastering of all the audio with Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound. The collection features the band s big hits along with a rare, single mix for I m Not The One, as well as a live version of Everything You Say, and a new mix by producer Philippe Zdar of Sad Song, a track from the band s last album, 2011 s Move Like This.
Although ELO quickly became Jeff Lynne's baby, it was launched as a collaboration between Lynne and his bandmates in the Move, multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood, and drummer Bev Bevan. Indeed, the label on ELO's first album reads "Move Enterprises Ltd. presents the services of the Electric Light Orchestra," and most histories claim that the initial idea for the spin-off group combining rock and classical music was Wood's, not Lynne's. Wood and Lynne split the songwriting duties on Electric Light Orchestra, much as they did on late-period Move albums, but it seems like their visions of what ELO was were widely divergent. Wood's songs are clearly more classically influenced, with the string and horn sections driving the songs rather than merely coloring them, as they do on Lynne's tunes.
The tracks on The Best of the Chieftains are drawn from The Chieftains 7, The Chieftains 8, and Boil the Breakfast Early–three of the band's recordings from the late 1970s. This was the period when former Bothy Band and Planxty flautist Matt Molloy and vocalist/bodhran player Kevin Cunniffe joined up and finally fulfilled Paddy Maloney's vision of what the band should sound like. It also marks the last time the Chieftains recorded pure, unadulterated traditional Irish music.