Usually I’d say a Greatest Hits collection is nearly always pointless – a way of introducing a band’s most popular songs to people who can’t be bothered, or are too busy, to listen to a studio album. They can be very valuable though – for a muso, they usually give you a good enough sample of a band before you decide to jump in and listen to the albums that made up the years preceding that collection.
Steely Dan’s Greatest Hits does one better than that though. There’s an unreleased song on here, which makes it an essential purchase for any Steely Dan fan. With only seven studio albums to their name (discounting 21st century reunion albums), a new Steely Dan song from the ‘70s is an important thing. An offcut of the sessions which produced The Royal Scam, the song Here At The Western World is a slow-burning piano-led song with a similar feel to Any Major Dude (which it follows on the album). Thankfully, it has the unmistakable Steely Dan sound.
The only drawback with this Greatest Hits set is that it came out in 1978 – the year they provided the song FM to the film of the same name – and two years before their final album Gaucho, so it’s not an exhaustive representation of their work over initial seven-album run. FM is always a great addition to any later Steely Dan compilation, and some of Gaucho’s songs are essentials on any later compilations of the band’s work.
Hit: Reeling In The Years
Hidden Gem: Here At The Western World