on 21 July 2006
If you want Bowie's hits then this is for you, and it is a good introduction to the rest of David Bowie's music. The second disc is not as good as the first, but that is not the fault of the CD, it's just that Bowie's career didn't have as much success in later years as it did in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Make sure that you do not buy this album assuming it contains all of the best songs Bowie ever released, these are only the ones that were the most commercially successful. Bowie's albums are another topic altogether and you are advised to check out his albums since many of them are classics in their own right. Some of the most creative and experimental music that Bowie recorded is not to be found on this compilation but in the filler between the tracks found on this CD when they are on their original albums.
Overall, this CD is a good introduction to Bowie, but don't be afraid to dig deeper, there's a lot more gold down there.
on 21 November 2002
Q: I already have 'The Singles Collection', so why on earth would I purchase this one too?
A: The remastering of the early material on this new collection is superb whilst the production quality on 'The Singles Collection' is very thin and shrill in places. This collecion corrects all that and then some. The Jean Genie blows you away with the shear fullness of the sound without having to crank up the volume to anti-social levels.
This is now definitely the best starting point for someone wanting to explore the Bowie catalogue.
on 4 November 2002
This is a brilliant introduction to Bowie's music - if you don't already own a compilation of his music, this is the one to get! From Space Oddity, through Ziggy Stardust, Hereos, Ashes to Ashes, Lets Dance (in fact all of his career apart from the terrible "Never Let Me Down" and "Tin Machine" albums) to this years "Slow burn", most of his classics are here. Of special interest are his collaborations, "Under Pressure" the (intentionally?) humourous "Dancing in the street", the mellow "This is not America", and "Hello Spaeboy" with Pet Shop Boys.
If there are any criticisms they would be that the track list is very similar to 1993's "The single collection2, so long term fans may not see the need to purchase these songs again, and personally I would have chosen "Everyone Says Hi" rather than "Slowburn" from Heathen. Howver this is a great introduction for Bowie initiates, and a great present for anyone!
In general terms, this chock-a-block 2CD compilation does exactly what it says on the tin: compiles the vast majority of the best-known works from the back catalogue of one of the world's most prolific and defiantly original songwriters. Inevitably, not everything can fit on here, and there must have been some hearty arguments in the production room about what to put on and what to leave out. Not everything on this compilation was a hit; but then, not all of Bowie's hits were among his best work, and some representation of the "cult" material is clearly necessary.
CD1 equates more or less to "the legendary years" as we're introduced to Major Tom floating in his tin can, Ziggy Stardust playing guitar, and all the most familiar songs. The order is clearly intended to be chronological, but actually isn't ("Starman" is bizarrely out of sequence), although it holds up well, presenting Bowie's own artistic progression from guitar-strumming troubadour through his mastery of glam rock and electronica. His capacity to straddle genres is abundantly clear by about five tracks in, as is his skill as a chronicler of the changing fashions of the age, from glam rock ("You Pretty Things" and "Life on Mars") through the androgynous disco era ("John, I'm Only Dancing") to punk ("Rebel Rebel"). The first half of the CD contains all-time greats as well as some less familiar classics ("Drive-In Saturday" is my personal favourite). Personally, I find everything after "Diamond Dogs" a bit painful to listen to; "Fame" and "Golden Years" may be classics of their kind but they do represent Bowie in the throes of his musical wanderlust, and the quality of the melodies and the poignancy of the lyrics take a back seat. The last few tracks are, frankly, a let-down, and not a patch on "Space Oddity" or "Life on Mars".
CD2 redeems all that, picking up at the tail end of the 70s with the glorious instrumental of "Sound and Vision". "Heroes", following it, is over-familiar now thanks to car adverts and too much Radio 2 airplay, but gives a foretaste of what was to lie in store in the 1980s. There may be fewer all-time greats on CD2 ("Ashes to Ashes", "China Girl" and "Let's Dance" being pre-eminent), but a more melodic Bowie is showcased here: still an auditory experimenter, as shown in the deranged Mockney vocals of "Scary Monsters" and the thumping cacophony of "Little Wonder", but one with a deeply soulful side, best exemplified in the glorious "Absolute Beginners". This is also the collaborative Bowie, appearing here with Queen ("Under Pressure"), Mick Jagger ("Dancing in the Street") and the Pet Shop Boys ("Hallo Spaceboy"), tracks more usually omitted from traditional compilations. The late 80s are ignored altogether, and the selection of more recent tracks seems rather arbitrary, with only "Hallo Spaceboy" really seeming to work to justify its inclusion; consequently, CD2 also seems to end on a weak note. But so much brilliance has gone before that it's hard to complain, really!
It's unlikely that any listener will like *every* track on this CD. Bowie's musical repertoire was so wide-ranging that he will never please all the people all the time. Everyone will have their own ideas about what should have been left off (for me most of the "Fame"-era stuff could have happily been ditched) and what should have been included, but wasn't (I'd have had "Time Will Crawl" and "Never Let Me Down", not to mention "The Laughing Gnome"...). Perhaps that's the strength of this collection. Listen and decide for yourself!
on 20 November 2006
I am ashamed to say that up until now I wasn't really a David Bowie fan. I was a bit young for the Ziggy Stardust era and apart from Lets Dance and Modern Love I wasn't aware of his past accomplishments. However I am a fan now.
This man is brilliant, I recognised the majority of the songs on this album, but what surprised me is that I never knew they were written and sung by David Bowie.
The diversity of his music is sublime. From bluesy Jean Genie to the sexy but sleazy John I'm only dancing, to the wonderful Life on Mars. This album has everything for everybody. I have played this album over and over again and still, I am not bored.
on 7 April 2016
Got this for my mum as a mothers day present. She was a David Bowie fan right from when he came into the music scene in the 60s up to the present day. Sadly with David passing away in January this year. Its made both me and My mum appreciate it music more, as i am sure hundreds of millions of people around the world do the same. Great songs from a great artist. There will never be another David Bowie.
on 9 February 2016
David never sounded so good & this album is good tribute to the late great superstar we all loved so much. The sound quality on this double disc package is as good as they come & a real bargain price as well.
Nothing more enjoyable than playing this from the start all the way through, loud & on a lazy sunday, really takes me back to my youth & those glory days of the 70's...How i so wish I could live it all again & with Bowie as the soundtrack!
on 23 January 2003
I think this is as definitive a compilation of Bowie's entire career as you could get. The compilers had an unenviable task, because if you moved too far away from 'The Singles Collection', fans would have complained.
However, fans are still complaining anyway, because there's not enough 90's/00's material on it. This is because you can only ever fit about 39/40 tracks on any double cd compilation.
Fortunately, they chose the "right" 90's/00's tracks to put on it, given the limited space, and replaced 'Day in Day out' with 'Loving the Alien', which was a good move.
So why not sacrifice the odd 1 or 2 weaker Eighties tracks to make way for more of the recent material then ? simply because even though Bowie's 90's & 00's works has been "A brilliant return to form", Bowie had more hits in the 80's, and this is compiled with the casual listener in mind.
Luckily, the DVD has room for the new material in spades, plus the two 'Best of 70's' Compilation cover the songs which had to be sacrificed from 'The Singles Collection' (apart from 'The Alabama Song'), so everythings covered one way or another.
on 11 February 2016
Bowies untimely death, as with that of Glen Frey, suddenly reminded me of how incomplete my CD collection still is. There are tracks that I never realised were originally Bowie songs, and many I'd forgotten altogether. As a soundtrack of a considerable part of my life, Its criminal I hadn't bought this before. R.I.P. David, you have left a truly amazing musical legacy. Thanks.
This is an awesome collection and at an excellent price. However, this for me is not the Best Of Bowie as there are no classic album tracks. I have been listening to Bowie's albums since 'Scary Monsters...' back in 1980. I own more than 20 Bowie albums now and although this set only features versions of singles that can easily be found on CD this set is compulsive listening. This 2CD set is mainly aimed at the casual listener as Bowie fans should already have this selection. This, however, will not deter some of us from buying.
From 1969's awesome 'Space Oddity' (a track which has not dated at all) through folk and the glam rock era and early disco sound on to the colder, more desolate 1976 to 1980 period. It's a hot and bouncing 1983 'Let's Dance' and this is where a lot of you would have come in. Then just 10 tracks to some up the last 18 years.
The AMAZON review is spot on with its comparison to the Rolling Stones and indeed with its entire review. If you are still unsure whether to get this set or another Bowie compilation then consider this: the cost, this is a bargain.
Volumes and books galore have been written about Bowie but at the end of the day it's his music which I love. But like any loyal Bowie fan we know when to avoid his poorer effort. Of which there aren't any here.
But has with all compilations the truly best tracks are not included. 'Up The Hill Backwards' (from Scary Monsters is my all time favourite single. It was this one song which put me on the road following Bowie. 'Cat People' (original (not the Let's Dance version) is also missed. It has not been an easy road as I am at heart a rock fan so 'Tonight' and 'Never Let Me Down' are difficult albums but still contain masterpieces.
So for a more indepth look at the songs. Track/Disc to save room. 2/1 from a heavy metal style album of the same name this lovely song is a classic and has been covered by Lulu and also Nirvana. 3,4,5/1 from Hunky Dory a more accoustic blend with Rick Wakeman on piano. 6,7,8/1 each a true glam classic from '...Ziggy Stardust...' ; just turn up the volume for each. More glam with 9,10,11/1. 12/1 is a cover version of The Merseys 60's hit but is right to be included as it beautiful. 13,14/1 come from the Diamond Dogs, a superb album which features rock, soul and funk to create a cold, dark impression of George Orwell's novel "1984". 15,16/1 come from Bowie's disco album 'Young Americans' ...Now its 2 from the majestic 'Stationtostation'. This albums title track is a must for all Bowie fans but here we make do with 17,18, 19/1. Bowie, himself, said he sings like himself (as opposed to using a guise) on 19/1, a delightful cover version of a song sung by Johnny Mathis.
1,2,3/2 are from 1977/9 when Bowie worked with Brian Eno (former Roxy Music synth player) to create Low and Heroes, 2 of the most chilling albums of all time and Lodger which is a very interesting album. 4/2 is Queen with David Bowie and it went to No. 1. No surprise. But what a corker of a song. 5,6,7/2 are classics from Scary Monsters. 5/2 continues rom 1/1. You can hear the nightcub sound mixed in with rock Fashion and just downright horror in 7/2. 8,9,10/2 you know these. 11,2 for me is the weakest link, goodbye. 12/2 is a joint effort with Pat Matheny and although features a nice vocal the song is to quiet and goes nowhere. 13/2 is not a return to 1/1 but discribes the struggle between clashing faiths, Christianity and Islam (Bowie had not met Iman at this point). What were you doing on the 13/7/85. I was watching Bowie and Jagger dancing in the docklands where they made a special video for Live Aid. It was so popular it was released on single and it made No. 1 (I think). 15/2 comes from the film Absolute Beginners. Great song, the 12" is superb, great video but a strange film. 16/2 is also a great song if somewhat confusing to follow..... 17/2 The Pet Shop Boys remixed this track for the better. Its original cut appeared on '1.Outslde' a story album which was meant to be 1 of 4. Thank goodness the other three have not appeared yet. 18, 19 /2 are from Earthling and are great songs. The remixed 19/2 is menacing and creates that wonderful dark tension so common to Bowie's 70 work. 20/2 completes the line up. A good solid song but as yet we are to see if Heathen becomes a classic Bowie album.
So to finish. Get the DVD version instead and enjoy Bowie in sound and vision.
Thanx for reading this long essay.