Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eagles - 2003 "The Very Best Of"

The Very Best Of (released as The Complete Greatest Hits in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand) is a two-disc compilation album by the Eagles, released in 2003.
This album combines all tracks that appeared on the two previously released Eagles greatest hits albums (Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) & Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2), along with other singles not included on the first two compilations, album tracks and the new track "Hole in the World".
The Very Best Of was also released as a limited-edition three-disc set with the third disc being a bonus DVD containing the video for the new song "Hole in the World," as well as a making of the video featurette and "Backstage Pass to Farewell 1."
The album debuted on the Billboard 200 on November 8, 2003 at number 3, with 162,000 copies sold. It spent 62 weeks on the chart. The album was certified and awarded gold, platinum, and double platinum records by the RIAA on December 17, 2003, and on December 13, 2004, it achieved triple platinum status. As of December 2007, it has spent over 325 weeks in the Irish Album Charts, effectively not having left the chart since its release. In the UK the album (as The Complete Greatest Hits) entered the charts on November 1, 2003 at its initial number 27 peak position, the album did however re-enter the charts in June 2006 when it peaked at number 9 on the UK Albums Chart.

The problem with assembling an Eagles collection in 2003 is that there already is a perfect Eagles collection: 1976's Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975). Although it spanned a mere ten songs and summarized only the first five years and four albums of their career, it pulled off a nifty trick by making the albums it summarized -- and by extension, the band -- seem better than they actually were. By concentrating on big hits and substituting album track "Desperado" for "Outlaw Man," a single that didn't receive much chart action, the collection captured the band's peak, making a convincing case for the band's strengths while providing a compulsively enjoyable listen. Of course, the Eagles continued to have hits after the 1976 release of Their Greatest Hits, scoring the biggest proper album of their career that very year with Hotel California. After that, egos and infighting hampered the band, leading to just one more album in 1979's The Long Run before a disbandment in 1982, which was followed 12 years later by a reunion, charmingly dubbed Hell Freezes Over, since most pundits predicted that's when the band would reunite. This isn't much new ground to cover for a compilation, as the spotty 1982 The Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 illustrated, but even with a box set like 2000's Selected Works, there was room for a collection that contained all their big hits on one or two discs: hence the birth of Warner Strategic Marketing's 2003 double-disc Eagles collection, The Very Best Of.
There's little question that The Very Best Of does its job well, containing nearly all of the group's charting singles -- including the non-LP seasonal tune "Please Come Home for Christmas" and omitting the purposely ignored "Outlaw Man" along with a couple of reunion-era singles that didn't make much impact -- and filling out the margins with album rock staples such as "Doolin-Dalton," "Ol' 55," "Victim of Love," "In the City," and "Those Shoes." It's a good collection, eliminating the need to own actual Eagles albums by containing all the key songs from each effort, including the highlights from Hell Freezes Over. If there are quibbles, the biggest is that the first disc isn't nearly as compulsively listenable as Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which covers the same ground, with the second being that after Hotel California the collection runs out of steam a little bit, as the Eagles sound more like a collective of solo performers instead of a band -- but that's the run of their career, too. In any case, The Very Best Of is an excellent way to get all the Eagles' songs that matter on one collection. [The Very Best Of was also released as a limited-edition three-disc set with the third disc being a bonus DVD containing the video for the new song "Hole in the World," as well as a making of the video featurette and "Backstage Pass to Farewell 1."]

This packed double-disc is the slim option for fans who find the Eagles' vaunted greatest hits sets too little and the boxed set too hefty. Hit singles large and medium are here, often ("One of These Nights," "Hotel California") still sounding definitive and even tough. Large helpings of favorite album cuts are also included, along with a taster from a promised 2004 Eagles studio reunion. Unfortunately, "Hole in the World," Don Henley's response to September 11, feels just as empty and entitled as "Get Over It," the band's previous state-of-the-union message (from which the newer song represents a philosophical 180-degree turn). But for those seeking an overview of this Southern California juggernaut's successes, as well as telling comments from band members--mostly Henley and Frey--in a well-designed booklet, Very Best will more than do.

Track listing
Disc one
No.     Title     Writer(s)     Length
1.     "Take It Easy"       Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey     3:29
2.     "Witchy Woman"       Don Henley, Bernie Leadon     4:10
3.     "Peaceful Easy Feeling"       Jack Tempchin     4:16
4.     "Desperado"       Henley, Frey     3:33
5.     "Tequila Sunrise"       Henley, Frey     2:52
6.     "Doolin-Dalton"       Browne, Frey, Henley, J.D. Souther     3:26
7.     "Already Gone"       Tempchin, Robb Strandlund     4:13
8.     "Best of My Love"       Henley, Frey, Souther     4:35
9.     "James Dean"       Browne, Frey, Souther, Henley     3:36
10.     "Ol' '55"       Tom Waits     4:22
11.     "Midnight Flyer"       Paul Craft     3:58
12.     "On the Border"       Henley, Leadon, Frey     4:28
13.     "Lyin' Eyes"       Henley, Frey     6:21
14.     "One of These Nights"       Henley, Frey     4:51
15.     "Take It to the Limit"       Randy Meisner, Henley, Frey     4:48
16.     "After the Thrill Is Gone"       Henley, Frey     3:56
17.     "Hotel California"       Don Felder, Henley, Frey     6:30

        Tracks 1–3 from Eagles (1972)
        Tracks 4–6 from Desperado (1973)
        Tracks 7–12 from On the Border (1974)
        Tracks 13–16 from One of These Nights (1975)
        Track 17 from Hotel California (1976)

Disc two
No.     Title     Writer(s)     Length
1.     "Life in the Fast Lane"       Joe Walsh, Henley, Frey     4:46
2.     "Wasted Time"       Henley, Frey     4:55
3.     "Victim of Love"       Felder, Souther, Henley, Frey     4:11
4.     "The Last Resort"       Henley, Frey     7:25
5.     "New Kid in Town"       Souther, Henley, Frey     5:04
6.     "Please Come Home for Christmas"       Charlie Brown, Gene Redd     2:58
7.     "Heartache Tonight"       Henley, Frey, Bob Seger, Souther     4:26
8.     "The Sad CafĂ©"       Henley, Frey, Walsh, Souther     5:35
9.     "I Can't Tell You Why"       Timothy B. Schmit, Henley, Frey     4:56
10.     "The Long Run"       Henley, Frey     3:42
11.     "In the City"       Walsh, Barry De Vorzon     3:46
12.     "Those Shoes"       Felder, Henley, Frey     4:56
13.     "Seven Bridges Road" (Live)     Steve Young     3:02
14.     "Love Will Keep Us Alive"       Pete Vale, Jim Capaldi, Paul Carrack     4:00
15.     "Get Over It"       Henley, Frey     3:29
16.     "Hole in the World"       Henley, Frey     4:30

        Tracks 1-5 from Hotel California (1976)
        Track 6 was a non-album single (1978)
        Tracks 7-12 from The Long Run (1979)
        Track 13 from Eagles Live (1980)
        Tracks 14 and 15 from Hell Freezes Over (1994)
        Track 16 is a new track (2003)

Personnel

    Glenn Frey – guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion, vocals
    Don Henley – drums, percussion, guitars, vocals
    Randy Meisner – bass guitar, guitars, guitarrone, vocals (disc one and songs 1–5 on disc two)
    Bernie Leadon – guitars, banjo, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, vocals (songs 1–16 on disc one)
    Don Felder – guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, vocals (songs 7, 13–17 on disc one and songs 1–15 on disc two)
    Joe Walsh – guitars, keyboards, organ, synthesizer, vocals (song 17 on disc one and all of disc two)
    Timothy B. Schmit – bass guitar, vocals (songs 6–16 on disc two)

Additional personnel

    Steuart Smith – guitars (song 16 on disc two)
    Scott Crago – drums, percussion (songs 14–16 on disc two)
    Willie Hollis – piano (songs 14–16 on disc two)
    Jim Ed Norman – piano, string arrangements (songs 4, 13, 15 on disc one and songs 2, 4 on disc two)
    David Sanborn – alto saxophone (song 8 on disc two)
    Al Perkins - pedal steel guitar (song 10 on disc one)

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