Welcome back to GREATEST HITS WEEK! This week we are looking at different, interesting hits albums from various bands. Today…just gimme an R!
Monday: EXTREME – The Best of Extreme: An Accidental Collication of Atoms? (1997)
Tuesday: JUDAS PRIEST – The Best of Judas Priest (1978/2000 Insight Series)
Wednesday: JUDAS PRIEST – Greatest Hits (2008 Steel Box)
It’s always risky buying a compilation album from a label “series”. Yesterday, we looked at a Judas Priest compilation from Sony’s Steel Book Series. Over 60 Minutes With… was a CD-only (no tapes, no records) series by Capital/EMI in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I remember seeing it over Christmas break in ’89, and trying to decide whether to buy it, or Ace Frehley’s Trouble Walkin’. (I went with the Ace, and saved the Helix for a month or two later.) I was confused: Here was a brand new Helix CD, with Brent “The Doctor” Doerner right there on the front cover. But hadn’t he left the band? He had, but that was how I could tell this was a semi-official release, driven by the label.
The difference between Over 60 Minutes With…Helix and all the other label compilations is that this one is really, really good. In fact to this day, it is still the one of the best Helix compilations assembled (and it was the first!). Here are some reasons:
1. Rare tracks! Three of them in fact. You get demos for “Give It To You” (a new song re-recorded for the Back For Another Taste CD), “Jaws Of The Tiger” (re-recorded for B-Sides) and “Everybody Pays The Price” (later to be the B-side to “The Storm”).
2. Lots of hits. 21 tracks are contained within, and a good solid six of them were hit singles.
Those two points are enough reason to buy this CD (especially the first). Let’s keep listening.
3. Rocker-to-ballad ratio is a generous 17 : 4. Keep me mind, Helix ballads tend to rock anyway. “Never Wanna Lose You” gets pretty heavy come chorus time!
Thanks to Geoff over at the 1001 Albums in 10 Years for the “Excel”lent inspiration!
4. Loads of tunes from No Rest for the Wicked. When this CD came out in ’89, that album was unavailable on CD and scarce on cassette. This CD has seven songs from No Rest! That album, loaded with rockers heavy and melodic, is still one of their very best today. Even though there were only three unreleased songs on Over 60 Minutes With…, there were tons that were brand new to me.
That considered, Over 60 Minutes With… has one serious flaw. The record company only included songs from the first three Capitol Helix albums. Obviously nothing from the independent albums Breaking Loose or White Lace & Black Leather were up for grabs. Strangely though, 1987’s Capitol Wild In The Streets CD is strangely missed. The inclusion of one or two tracks from that album would have been appreciated.
Flaw aside, the liner notes are informative and the track listing is still generous. You certainly don’t want to miss album tracks such as the awesome “You Keep Me Rocking”, the raunchy “Dirty Dog” or the slinky “Check Out The Love”. They are here along with many others. Pick this up, enjoy it, and then explore some of Helix’s proper albums, such as No Rest for the Wicked. This is great, but it’s only the beginning! Gimme an R indeed.