Playing the Hits

The cover of the Steve Miller Band’s “Greatest Hits 1974-78” — an illustration of a horse with a fiery mane and sparkling eye against a cool-blue backdrop — is burned in the minds of generations whose familiarity with the group’s music came by way of the album. Though featuring songs from just three of the band’s 11 records released at the time, the 14-times-platinum set represents the artist about as well as any studio LP. Here are 10 other mega-selling greatest-hits collections that performed similar roles and made lasting connections.

Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)”
Aside from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (1983), no album has played in the homes of more music lovers. Having sold more than 38 million copies in the U.S. alone since its release in ‘76, the 10-track LP includes nearly all the must-hear fare from the Eagles’ first four albums. More singles followed its release, including those on the 1976 blockbuster “Hotel California,” which anchor the 11-times-platinum 1980 sequel, “Greatest Hits Volume 2.”

Bob Gendron has been obsessing over music, albums and audio ever since he landed a job at an indie record store at age 13. A longtime contributor to the Chicago Tribune and the first Associate Editorial Director at The Coda Collection, he was also the longtime Music Editor at The Absolute Sound and performed the same role at TONEAudio. Gendron is the author of “Gentlemen” (Bloomsbury) and a coauthor of “Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History” (Voyageur). His writing has also appeared in DownBeat, Rolling Stone, Revolver and other outlets.

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