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Elton John Compilations


Below are some of the most prominent Elton John collections released over the years.
  1. Greatest Hits (1970-74)
  2. Greatest Hits Volume II (1971-77)
  3. Greatest Hits 1976-1986 (1976-86)
  4. Greatest Hits Volume III (1979-87)
  5. The Very Best of (1970-90)
  6. Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (1970-2002)
  7. Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits (1970-2007)
You can also check out Elton John’s discography page for detailed chart figures on all the songs from these collections and their sales figures, airplay, and peaks on various charts.
Greatest Hits 4.400 stars out of 15 ratings
Released: 11/4/1974 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 1 10 UK chart peak 1 11 Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 16.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 3.0 estimated world sales in millions 27.0

Tracks: 1. Your Song 2. Daniel 3. Honky Cat 4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 5. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting 6. Rocket Man 7. Bennie and the Jets * 8. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me 9. Border Song 10. Crocodile Rock

Notes: * “Bennie and the Jets” was on the original US version; “Candle in the Wind” was on the UK version. Both were included on the 1990 Polydor reissue.

Review: “Rarely has a greatest-hits collection been as effective;” E1 this “is a nearly flawless collection, offering a perfect introduction to Elton John and providing casual fans with almost all the hits they need.” E1 “Released at the end of 1974, after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Caribou had effectively established him as a superstar, Greatest Hits is exactly what it says it is – it features every one of his Top Ten singles (Your Song, Rocket Man, Honky Cat, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me), plus the number 12 Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting and radio and concert favorites Border Song and Candle in the Wind.” E1 That collection did skip over “a couple of lesser hits from this era, most notably Levon and Tiny Dancer,” E1 but added them to Elton’s next greatest hits collection.

Awards:

Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of the Top 100 All-Time World’s Best-Selling Albums The World’s Best Selling Album of the Year. Click to go to awards page. Billboard Magazine’s Album of the Year

Greatest Hits Volume II 3.850 stars out of 5 ratings
Released: 10/8/1977 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 21 UK chart peak 6 Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 5.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 7.0

Tracks: 1. The Bitch Is Back 2. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 3. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word ** 4. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart ** 5. Someone Saved My Life Tonight 6. Philadelphia Freedom 7. Island Girl 8. Grow Some Funk of Your Own 9. Levon * 10. Pinball Wizard

Notes: * “Levon” was on the original US version; “Bennie and the Jets” was on the original UK version.
** The 1986 Polygram reissue replaced these songs with “Tiny Dancer” and “I Feel Like a Bullet in the Gun of Robert Ford.”

Review: This second hits collection from Elton picked up a couple songs from the era of the first greatest hits (Levon, Tiny Dancer) and scooped up more of his top ten hits from the second half of the ‘70s (The Bitch Is Back, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Island Girl). Also featured are the #1 non-album hits Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Philadelphia Freedom. Also here is “John’s version of Pinball Wizard, taken from the soundtrack to Tommy.” E2 “In short, it’s an excellent continuation of the first collection, and taken together, they function as an ideal singles retrospective of the most successful singles artist of the early ‘70s.” E2

Greatest Hits 1976-1986 3.692 stars out of 6 ratings
Released: 11/3/1992 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine -- UK chart peak -- Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 2.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 2.0

Tracks: 1. I’m Still Standing 2. Mama Can’t Buy You Love 3. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word * 4. Little Jeannie 5. Blue Eyes 6. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart * 7. Empty Garden 8. Kiss the Bride 9. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues 10. Who Wears These Shoes? * 11. Sad Songs Say So Much 12. Wrap Her Up 13. Nikita

Notes: * This album replaced the 1987 Greatest Hits Volume III (see below entry) in 1992. That album also featured “Heartache All Over the World” and “Too Low for Zero” which were bumped here in favor of “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and “Who Wears These Shoes?”

Review:Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 went out of print after John left Geffen for MCA, who issued a replacement package, Greatest Hits 1976-1986, which eliminates those two songs [as does The Very Best of] and adds Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, and ‘Who Wears These Shoes?’ to the remaining ten songs.” E3

Greatest Hits Volume III 3.845 stars out of 2 ratings
Released: 10/3/1987 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 84 UK chart peak -- Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 2.0 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 2.5

Tracks: 1. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues 2. Mama Can’t Buy You Love 3. Little Jeannie 4. Sad Songs Say So Much 5. I’m Still Standing 6. Empty Garden 7. Heartache All Over the World 8. Too Low for Zero 9. Kiss the Bride 10. Blue Eyes 11. Nikita 12. Wrap Her Up

Notes: * This album has been deleted, replaced by Greatest Hits 1976-1986 (see above entry).

Review:Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 (1979-1987) is a 12-track overview that compiles the bulk of Elton John’s biggest hits from the ‘80s, including such classic tracks as Little Jeannie, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Empty Garden, Blue Eyes, I’m Still Standing, and Sad Songs (Say So Much). It also includes…Heartache All Over the World…[and] Too Low for Zero, which never was a single.” E3

The Very Best of 3.845 stars out of 2 ratings
Released: 11/3/1990 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine -- UK chart peak 1 2 Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA -- sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 2.13 estimated world sales in millions 18.0

Tracks, Disc 1: 1. Your Song 2. Rocket Man 3. Honky Cat 4. Crocodile Rock 5. Daniel 6. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 7. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting 8. Candle in the Wind 9. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me 10. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 11. Philadelphia Freedom 12. Someone Saved My Life Tonight 13. Pinball Wizard 14. The Bitch Is Back

Tracks, Disc 2: 1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2. Bennie and the Jets 3. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word 4. Song for Guy 5. Part-Time Love 6. Blue Eyes 7. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues 8. I’m Still Standing 9. Kiss the Bride 10. Sad Songs Say So Much 11. Passengers 12. Nikita 13. I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That 14. Sacrifice 15. Easier to Walk Away 16. You Gotta Love Someone

Notes: Non-US release available in the UK and Australia.

Review: Essentially a best-of compilation of the previous collections above (9 songs from Greatest Hits, 9 from Greatest Hits Volume II, 8 from Greatest Hits 1976-1986). This double-disc collection served as an alternative to the four-disc box set To Be Continued, also released in 1990. “Although that set has several great songs that aren't here, this set has nothing extraneous -- just the biggest hits from a time when John was hitting the U.S. and U.K. Top 40 every single year. There are no American collections that perform the same task, which is a shame because there isn't a better Elton John hits collection than this; if you're looking for all the biggest hits on one album, it's certainly worth the import prices.” E4

Awards:

One of the Top 100 All-Time World’s Best-Selling Albums

Greatest Hits 1970-2002 4.356 stars out of 7 ratings
Released: 11/12/2002 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 12 UK chart peak 1 2 Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 1.5 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI 1.2 estimated world sales in millions 6.0

Tracks, Disc 1 (U.S. version): 1. Your Song 2. Levon * 3. Tiny Dancer 4. Rocket Man 5. Honky Cat 6. Crocodile Rock 7. Daniel 8. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting 9. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 10. Candle in the Wind 11. Bennie and the Jets 12. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me 13. The Bitch Is Back 14. Philadelphia Freedom 15. Someone Saved My Life Tonight 16. Island Girl 17. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Tracks, Disc 2 (U.S. version): 1. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2. Little Jeannie * 3. I’m Still Standing 4. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues 5. Sad Songs Say So Much 6. I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That * 7. Nikita 8. Sacrifice 9. The One 10. Can You Feel the Love Tonight 11. Circle of Life 12. Believe 13. Blessed * 14. Something about the Way You Look Tonight 15. Written in the Stars (with LeAnn Rimes) 16. I Want Love 17. This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore

Notes: * These songs were not included on the 2-disc European version of this album, which substituted “Blue Eyes,” “Kiss the Bride,” “Made in England,” and “Song for Guy.” Another version of the album included a third bonus disc with “Levon,” “Border Song,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Pinball Wizard,” “True Love” (with Kiki Dee), “I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (with George Michael), and “Your Song” (with Alessandro Safina).

Review: Like 1990’s Very Best of, this is a 2-disc collection which largely supplants the single-disc compilations which came before it.There are, however, noticeable omissions, including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Empty Garden.” Also, while it is understandable that John doesn’t want to profit off the charity single “Candle in the Wind 1997,” it is glaringly absent considering its status as the best-selling single of all time.

Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits 4.513 stars out of 4 ratings
Released: 3/26/2007 Peak: US chart peak, according to Billboard magazine 9 UK chart peak 2 Sales (in millions): sales, in millions, in the U.S. as certified by the RIAA 0.5 sales, in millions, in the U.K. as certified by BPI -- estimated world sales in millions 1.44

Tracks (U.S. version): 1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 2. Bennie and the Jets 3. Daniel 4. Crocodile Rock 5. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds 6. Philadelphia Freedom 7. Island Girl 8. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 9. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (with Blue) 10. Sacrifice/ Pinball Wizard (live in Verona in 1989) 11. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with George Michael) 12. Can You Feel the Love Tonight 13. Your Song 14. Tiny Dancer 15. Rocket Man 16. Candle in the Wind 17. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Notes: There were many alternate versions of this collection released throughout the world. In the U.S., this was actually retitled Rocket Man: Number Ones, a definite misnomer since these were not all #1’s.

Review: While a single-disc anthology spanning Elton John’s career may seem like a good idea, this one is poorly executed. A chronological presentation would be greatly preferred, as would the original versions of “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” “Sacrifice,” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Most likely this was compiled this way to de-emphasize how much this collection focuses on Elton’s ‘70s hits and little since. Certainly the brunt of his classics come from that decade, but this is where a 2-disc collection does a far superior job of an overview of Elton’s entire career because it can focus on some of the highlights of the next two decades of his career (“Little Jeannie,” “Empty Garden,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Sad Songs Say So Much,” “I Don’t Want to Go on with You Like That,” “The One,” “Candle in the Wind 1997”).

Review Source(s):


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Last updated February 1, 2011.