Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Cars - Greatest Hits ( 1985 Elektra )

Although the band joked about calling their 1978 debut album as "The Cars Greatest Hits", this 1985 stop-gap release is a pretty okay one-stop for admirers of The Cars more popular singles. In actuality, bands like The Police, The Cars and Talking Heads had as many "turntable hits" - songs that AOR or alternative radio played as much as the label-picked singles - as they did chart hits (I personally used to hear "Got a Lot on My Head", "Running to You" and "Bye Bye Love" on local station WLIR-FM as a kid all the time). So a collection like this might leave some out in the cold. That didn't stop it from over selling six-million or so copies.

What does it have? The three formal hit-singles from their sterling debut ("My Best Friend's Girl", "Good Times Roll" and uber-hit "Just What I Needed"), only one of the three singles from their even-more-exciting sophomore album Candy-O ("Let's Go"), again only one of the three singles from the difficult/challenging third album Panorama ("Touch and Go"), a re-recorded version of "I'm Not the One" and two of the three hit singles from their 1981 Shake It Up album ("Since You're Gone" and the title track), four of the six singles from the stupidly-successful Heartbeat City album and a fine, if generic, new single , which also became a huge hit (the double-entendre of "Tonight She Comes").

Recommended? Personally I'm not a fan of best-of's/greatest hits collections but there are exceptions - when the releases have virtual lives and identities all their own (i.e. The Beatles' 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) and The Beach Boys' Endless Summer). There aren't too many from the 80's - however this might might very well be one of them. For a full retrospective get the double-disc mid 90's collection Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology.

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