Album Collections or Greatest Hits?

Album Collections or Greatest Hits?

While traveling with one of my work managers on the drive home last week, a conversation emerged that inspired today’s blog. Our mutual love for music could probably lead to hours and hours of chatter, but on this particular occasion, the topic came up about the decision to load up on an artists’s every work versus wanting just their biggest-sellers in your own music collection. What criteria do you use when making that call? What compels you to buy album after album for one artist but need only a greatest hits compilation for another? Hmm…


After we chatted, I started thinking at greater length about our own combined music collection here at the Kuhn abode. It’s true that while there are artists between us for which we have nearly everything they’ve ever done or quite a few albums regardless of the genre or number of hits on them (artists such as The Beatles, REM, U2, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Kelly Clarkson and The Monkees), we also have artists that we absolutely love their sound but the thought of suddenly loading up on their individual albums released along the way has never crossed my mind.  (I won’t speak for Mr. K on that one, just me.)

ThePretenders-GreatestHits    CheapTrick-GreatestHits


For example, groups like Cheap Trick, B52s, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Foreigner, Doobie Brothers… love them all. But barring a few of these artists for which we have maybe one other album, we rely more heavily on their greatest hits for satisfying our taste of their music. And that totally works for me.)


ElvisCostello-KingOfAmericaWhat fascinates me most is what is it about an artist that prompts me to go from getting their greatest hits to deciding ‘nope, that’s not enough. I NEED to hear more?’ I’ll give you a perfect example for me — Elvis Costello. I went from thinking in the 1980’s ‘who is this guy and why is he trying to look like Buddy Holly?’ to finding I liked some of his songs on rock and community radio stations when I heard it, and finally giving in and buying his greatest hits. My discovery was I didn’t know MOST of the songs on that album and I loved MOST of them. If I was that happy with all of these songs new to me, just imagine what I might find on his regular albums, I concluded. So that was all I needed. I slowly began building my Elvis Costello collection which I believe consists of four other albums since that greatest hits. I absolutely foresee buying more in the future.



DavidGray-DrawTheLineDavid Gray is another example. And I didn’t even own the first album. I or one of the boys had bought the hubs Gray’s successful White Ladder album featuring the hit “Babylon” for a birthday present or Christmas gift. I found myself borrowing the CD. A LOT. Finally, at our local haven for cheap used CD’s Sound Exchange (aka music mecca for the Kuhns), I found several of his old albums on CD which we purchased, and have been continuing to buy David Gray work – old and new – ever since. I find with him, maybe more than any other artist (including the Beatles), I am drawn to every song and am rarely disappointed by anything that man releases musically. Sigh. Now if I could only see him live… One day hopefully.




What about you — are there certain music artists for which you must have everything they have ever created regardless of its status as a hit or not? And what singers or bands would you be perfectly content to have only their greatest hits sitting in your music collection and need nothing further until the next hits collection arrives?


Feel free to chime in about your “album artists” versus “hits only” artists and why that is. I’d love to hear from you. And as always, thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.




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