With their first six studio albums not containing a single dud track, trying to neatly assemble a Led Zeppelin 'best of' must have been quite a daunting task. All in all, the folks at Atlantic did an admirable job when the first-ever, single-disc Zeppelin 'best of's' were issued in 1999 (Early Days) and 2000 (Latter Days), covering most of the essentials. For fans that wanted to buy both discs in one shot, both were packaged together in 2002, under the title of Early Days and Latter Days…
ZZ Top closed out their tenure with London Records in late 1977 with The Best of ZZ Top, a basic but terrific ten-song retrospective of highlights from their first five albums (well, four, actually, since the underwhelming Tejas is ignored). There are no surprises here, just album rock favorites, which means it does draw heavily on Tres Hombres (four songs, total), adds Fandango's "Tush," "Blue Jean Blues," and "Heard It on the X" for good measure, then rounds it out with two songs from Rio Grande Mud and a selection from the debut. Yeah, there are a couple good album tracks missing, but as a ten-song summary of their early years, this can't be beat.
Seventeen-track anthology focuses mostly on their popular 1963-66 recordings, including "Deep Purple," "Whispering," "Stardust," "All Strung Out," several lower-charting items, and some LP tracks. They milked the "Deep Purple" formula too many times, but this is enjoyably frothy pop, and "All Strung Out" is a genuinely soulful, accurate approximation of Phil Spector's work with the Righteous Brothers. The disc also includes Stevens's 1959 solo single "Teach Me Tiger," a bizarre cover of "I Love How You Love Me" (with battling bagpipes and fuzzy guitars), and one undistinguished track each from 1985 and 1996.
Carly Simon was among the pop royalty of the singer/songwriter era of the early '70s. This album collects her most popular songs of the first five years of her solo career. Opening with the powerful "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," for which Simon received the 1971 Best New Artist Grammy Award, it includes four tunes from the classic No Secrets album, including the number one hit "You're So Vain."
Featuring "Diamonds And Rust", "Gracias A La Vida (Here's To Life)"
A&M's 1977 collection The Best of Joan Baez doesn't chronicle her most influential work, but that doesn't mean it's not without merit.
The Mose Allison installment in Atlantic's Jazz Anthology series of 1970 is superior to most in that line simply on the grounds of time. Since Allison's songs were usually brief, Atlantic was able to fit 12 of them onto a single LP and thus provide a wider selection of his output, unlike others in that series that included only five or six tracks, making it serve as a pretty good capsule introduction to one of American music's most idiosyncratic individualists. Many of his most famous songs are here – "Your Mind Is on Vacation," "New Parchman," "I'm the Wild Man," "I Don't Worry About a Thing," and "Your Molecular Structure," along with covers like "Rollin' Stone" and a rushed live remake of his biggest "hit," Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son".