20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of the Moody Blues

by: The Moody Blues

With the release of the Moody Blues entry in Universal Music Group's 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection series of budget-priced best-ofs, the veteran British group has in its catalog a compilation for every level of interest and financing. For those who want it all in one package, there's the four-CD box set Time Traveller; less complete but still comprehensive is the two-CD Anthology; the CD-era single-disc hits collection is 1997's 17-track The Best of the Moody Blues (not to be confused with the 1985 LP Voices in the Sky/The Best of the Moody Blues); and for those on a budget, there's this 11-track overview of the group's hit singles. Chart watchers will note that while nine of the Moody Blues' 13 American Top 40 hits are included, three -- "Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)," "Isn't Life Strange," and "Sitting at the Wheel" -- are missing, while two less successful singles -- "Ride My See-Saw" and "Blue World" -- have been included. (It's barely worth mentioning that the Moody Blues' first hit single, "Go Now," made by a very different lineup of the group, is not here, either.) Maybe that's the difference between a best-of and a greatest-hits: You can substitute a popular song like "Ride My See-Saw," which wasn't that big of a hit, for a less-well-remembered but higher-charting song. In any case, those who miss the other hits can go for one of the more expensive sets (though, come to think of it, "Sitting at the Wheel" isn't on The Best of the Moody Blues, either). It's also worth noting that the Moody Blues, who scored only four Top Ten hits between 1965 and 1986, while releasing 11 gold or platinum albums during the same period, have always been more of an album-oriented band than a singles act, and potential fans might be better advised to seek out one of their better regular albums, such as Days of Future Passed or Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, rather than a singles compilation. But for those who know the group through its infrequent appearances on Top 40 radio, this relatively inexpensive disc is the one to own. ~ William Ruhlmann

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