Well, yes, it's fantastic of course. How could it not be with so many great songs, which still get played every day on radio stations the world over? I do have reservations, though. The Eagles have released more compilation albums than studio albums, and I don't think any other band has a greater ratio... it's quite bizarre if you tot up their collections and count them against the 6 full studio albums.
My main problem here is that there are such a high proportion of songs from their last albums: Hotel California, and The Long Run. One could argue that this is because those two albums were the biggest sellers at the time of release (well, Hotel California obviously was, perhaps One Of These Nights sold as well as The Long Run, I'm not sure). Call me cynical, but I believe it's because, by creating a 'definitive' collection which will over the years become their best seller, they're shaping the royalties so that the current band members (founders Henley and Frey, plus Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt) rake in a much as possible while attempting to gently ease out the other two founding members, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Henley and Frey were always going to do just fine, but there's a definite attempt here to bring Walsh (effectively replaced Leadon and changed the band's sound forever) and late boy Schmidt (replaced Meisner for the last Album) as much of the royalties as possible. I'm not saying all of this because I'm bitter. In fact, The Eagles are my favourite band, even in their current lineup, but I'm certain there's truth to my allegations. Six tracks from The Long Run? No way is that appropriate, and I back that up from the common knowledge that The Eagles had a total nightmare recording and writing that album, and The Long Run (on Henley's Inside Job Live DVD), In The City (from their Farewell I DVD), and Those Shoes (from their Millennium Concert CD from their Selected Works box set) all absolutely blow away the original studio versions of the songs, proving that the band weren't all truly happy with them. You'll never get everyone to agree which songs to release on a compilation, but for me, there's a hint of favouritism over quality here.
Most 'true' fans of the band - and by that, I mean people who own and have really listened to all of their studio albums - enjoy their first three albums at least as much as their last three. Those last 3 albums generally had greater critical acclaim, were more experimental, progressive and definitely had better lyrics as Henley found his place at the top of the songwriting tree, but there's something about the first 3 albums which to me is just the essence of The Eagles. The later albums and songs, even Hotel California, and what I consider to be the perfect pop song, New Kid In Town, just don't have quite that purity of Eagleness to them. If I was to pick one album which perfectly encapsulates The Eagles sound, it probably wouldn't be Hotel California. This might sound like a weird thing to say, but in my opinion, while the last 3 albums had better individual songs, only their first 3 albums were perfect. One Of These Nights, Hotel California and The Long Run (especially The Long Run) all had one or more songs which felt obviously inferior to the others, whereas the first 3 albums were just so even the whole way through. I don't think any of the songs on those first albums were inferior to Take It Easy or Desperado, it's just that those songs got released at the right time with the right hype, did well and then became classics. It could have been one of a number of other songs from these albums instead. If alternate universes exist, there may well be millions of people listening to You Never Cry Like A Lover on their radio right now, rather than Desperado.
What I guess I'm alluding to here, is that I just wish people would buy all of their albums instead of JUST this compilation. If it's a question of money, I'd be happier to see somebody go out and buy The Eagles (first album) or On The Border than this. However, it is a fantastic compilation album, there's a lot of great songs on here, but personally, I'd only buy it for the digital remastering and the handful of songs which weren't on their studio albums. Buy this and you gain stuff like Love Will Keep Us Alive, Hole In The World, and Get Over It. Buy On The Border, and you get stuff like You Never Cry Like A Lover, My Man, and Good Day In Hell. For me, I'd go for On The Border in a heartbeat - those aforementioned songs are a hundred times better than the new ones, but I guess the big question is, if you buy this compilation and you love it, will you then go back and buy their old studio albums? If yes, then be my guest, and enjoy this great compilation. If not, then I beg you to start from the beginning