It’s been a long 16 years since Bon Jovi was last compiled, when Cross Road arrived for the holiday season of 1994, two years after Keep the Faith capped off a near-decade long run of dominance for the Jersey rockers. As it turned out, it was the first act of Bon Jovi’s career. A subdued second act followed in the ‘90s, with Jon Bon Jovi flirting with a solo career once again before returning to the fold late in the decade, with the band setting out for a decade of professionalism, sometimes cresting into the charts – usually with the assist of a canny country crossover – sometimes not. Greatest Hits condenses the highlights of this journey in a mere 16 songs, just two longer than Cross Road – its simultaneously released cousin, Ultimate Greatest Hits, adds a disc with 12 additional songs – and two of those are new tunes that are unlikely to show up on any subsequent best of.
James Brown may be "the hardest working man in show business," Aretha Franklin may be the Queen of Soul, but as Ultimate Hits Collection proves, the most apt nickname in all of music may belong to Ray Charles: the Genius. Forget for a moment that fitting all of Charles' hits on a mere two CDs is not remotely possible. Almost any Ray Charles greatest-hits compilation is going to be excellent, and this one is better than most, if only because it's two-discs long. Ultimate Hits Collection follows the path of Charles' work as it cruises through the genres he so richly influenced: R&B, pop, jazz, blues, and country. The standard favorites are here from Charles' repertoire, but what sets this compilation apart are the lesser-known tracks. "Mess Around" and "Hide 'Nor Hair" are certainly not as popular as "Hit the Road Jack," but they are no less enjoyable. The most welcome inclusion is Charles' version of the country classic "You Don't Know Me," which is often left off of other Charles retrospectives.
During the '80s, Thompson Twins arguably produced the finest synth-pop singles, and Greatest Hits recollects their industrious years with Arista in clear, digitally remastered sound. Numerous collections exist in the Twins' catalog and nearly equal their studio albums, but Greatest Hits prevails as the most essential as it offers a definitive chronology from 1982's infectious debut "In the Name of Love" through 1987's reflective "Long Goodbye." Featuring 16 tracks, this brimming retrospective recalls MTV's formative years ("Lies"), those unforgettable Dr. Pepper commercials ("Doctor! Doctor!"), the anti-Apartheid movement ("The Gap"), and countless other '80s pop culture memories.
Richard Marx's Greatest Hits performs a valuable service for his fans, collecting all of his hit singles – "Don't Mean Nothing," "Should've Known Better," "Endless Summer Nights," "Hold on to the Nights," "Satisfied," "Right Here Waiting," "Angela," "Children of the Night," "Keep Coming Back," "Hazard," "Take This Heart," "Now and Forever" – on one disc. For both the casual and the longtime fan, this is a blessing, since Marx's albums were usually uneven, featuring a few strong cuts surrounded by filler. Greatest Hits cuts away the chaff, leaving behind on the best cuts, resulting in an ideal career summary of this popular MOR pop/rocker.
The seventh in a series of two-fer reissues of the 1960s albums by the Four Seasons and their lead singer Frankie Valli on the British label Ace, this disc combines the group's ninth studio album, The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits by Burt Bacharach…Hal David…Bob Dylan (originally released in November 1965) and its eleventh, New Gold Hits (May 1967). (For good measure, Ace has tossed in two Four Seasons singles from 1966, "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)" and "I've Got You Under My Skin.") These may be the quartet's two most misunderstood albums; for one thing, despite the presence of the word "Hits" in both titles, neither was actually a compilation.
Cliff Richard scored his first Dutch hit in 1959, when "Living Doll," his sixth U.K. hit (and first number one) conquered the Netherlands as effortlessly as it swept across the rest of Europe. And, no less than in any other country on the continent, it set the stage for a career that would still be going strong half a century later. This collection of Richard's biggest Dutch hit singles is, of course, no different than any other gathering of his biggest successes.