Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

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Sir Didymus
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Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Sir Didymus »

I've posted about this before, but after a recent discussion on here I thought I'd go and revisit my efforts to 'fix' Greatest Hits III, and honestly, I'm baffled why the band haven't done the same yet.

First, a bit of background...

In 1999, Queen released what was to be their final album as a three-piece, following the retirement of John Deacon the previous year. Intended to complement the multi-platinum selling 1981 behemoth "Greatest Hits" and its 1991 sibling "Greatest Hits II", the intention here was to wrap up the rest of Queen's hit singles, after a string of further Top Ten Hits across the decade.

Somehow, they messed it up. Opening with a non-single (the live recording of "The Show Must Go On" with Elton John, that marked Deacon's last performance with the group), it went on to include (admittedly great) solo singles by both Freddie and Brian, but not Roger, and miss out several fairly big selling hits for the band itself. Not only that, but in attempting to include Mercury's posthumous #1 smash "Living On My Own", the compilers forgot to actually check their files, and replaced the hit No More Brothers remix with the earlier Justin Raymond remix that sounded drastically different.

Ever since its release in October 1999, when I faithfully purchased the limited edition CD in the specially printed case, and the even more limited edition (and highly sought after) double vinyl edition in the fancy sleeve, I've been disappointed by this album. In what is perhaps the ultimate First World Problem, I've long wanted the band to 'fix it', even more so when it became the default third CD in the mega-selling "The Platinum Collection".

The album's current availability

When Queen moved record labels ten years ago, the album was not reissued in its own right, but was madde available as part of a reissued The Platinum Collection box on CD only. It was later, very quietly, added to streaming services without any fanfare.

In the years since, "Greatest Hits" and "Greatest Hits II" continue to sell in huge volumes, and last year were amongst the biggest selling vinyl albums of the year, simultaneously streaming huge figures while this third volume is almost forgotten.

So perhaps, after all these years, the time is right to correct this unloved record, which just needs a bit of a shake up and dust down to become an absolute corker.

Fix that tracklisting (see below) to include the 17 genuine UK Top 40 Hits the band had by the time it was released which weren't amongst the 34 on the first two Hits albums, plus its tie-in remix of Under Pressure which went Top 20 shortly afterwards. Release it on 2LP vinyl. Put out a coloured variant or ten and rake in the dosh. And maybe, just maybe, issue a limited run of 2CD 'Special Editions' which wrap up all of Queen's OTHER singles internationally from the 20th century.

Suddenly, "Greatest Hits III" can stand on its own two feet alongside its more prestigious siblings. And it sounds rather bloody good after all...

GREATEST HITS III [Special Edition]

CD / STREAMING EDITION

DISC ONE

01. Heaven For Everyone [Single Version] {#2 GBR}
02. Under Pressure [Rah Mix] - with DAVID BOWIE {#14 GBR}
03. Another One Bites The Dust '98 - with WYCLEF JEAN, PRAS & FREE {#5 GBR}
04. Let Me Live {#9 GBR}
05. Spread Your Wings {#26 NLD}
06. Body Language {#4 NLD}
07. Somebody to Love [Live 1992] - with GEORGE MICHAEL {#1 GBR}
08. Too Much Love Will Kill You {#10 BEL}
09. Back Chat [Single Remix] {#19 IRE}
10. Flick of the Wrist [Single Version] {#2 GBR}
11. Tie Your Mother Down [Single Version] {#10 NLD}
12. You Don't Fool Me {#14 FRA}
13. Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love) {#13 SWI}
14. Scandal {#12 NLD}
15. These are the Days of Our Lives {#1 GBR}
16. No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young) {#13 GBR}
17. A Winter's Tale {#6 GBR}
18. Thank God It's Christmas {#8 GER}

DISC TWO - LIMITED EDITION BONUS DISC

01. Princes of the Universe {#32 AUS}
02. Need Your Loving Tonight {#44 USA}
03. Staying Power {#21 POL}
04. Long Away
05. Jealousy
06. I Was Born to Love You {#45 JPN}
07. Pain is so Close to Pleasure [Single Remix] {#26 NLD}
08. Mustapha
09. We Will Rock You (Fast) [Live in Lyon '79]
10. Liar
11. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) [Single Mix] {#49 JPN}
12. One Year of Love {#56 FRA}
13. Love of My Life [Live in Frankfurt '79] {#63, GBR}
14. Keep Yourself Alive
15. Calling All Girls {#33 CAN}
16. It's Late {#66, USA}
17. We Will Rock You / We are The Champions [Live at Wembley '86] {#9, NLD}
18. BONUS TRACK: The Show Must Go On [Live in Paris '97] - with ELTON JOHN

VINYL EDITION

A1. Heaven For Everyone [Single Version] {#2 GBR}
A2. Under Pressure [Rah Mix] - with DAVID BOWIE {#14 GBR}
A3. Another One Bites The Dust '98 - with WYCLEF JEAN, PRAS & FREE {#5 GBR}
A4. Let Me Live {#9 GBR}
A5. Spread Your Wings {#26 NLD}

B1. Body Language {#4 NLD}
B2. Somebody to Love [Live 1992] - with GEORGE MICHAEL {#1 GBR}
B3. Too Much Love Will Kill You {#10 BEL}
B4. Back Chat [Single Remix] {#19 IRE}
B5. Flick of the Wrist [Single Version] {#2 GBR}

C1. Tie Your Mother Down [Single Version] {#10 NLD}
C2. You Don't Fool Me {#14 FRA}
C3. Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love) {#13 SWI}
C4. Scandal {#12 NLD}

D1. These are the Days of Our Lives {#1 GBR}
D2. No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young) {#13 GBR}
D3. A Winter's Tale {#6 GBR}
D4. Thank God It's Christmas {#8 GER}

This would also allow for the release of a new revised 'The Platinum Collection' and a sumptuous vinyl box-set containing all three Hits volumes and the bonus discs wrapping up the rest of their 73-99 singles!

QUEEN - GREATEST HITS SUPER DELUXE VINYL BOX-SET EDITION

LP 1-2 - GREATEST HITS I

A1. Bohemian Rhapsody
A2. Another One Bites the Dust
A3. Killer Queen
A4. Fat Bottomed Girls

B1. Bicycle Race
B2. You're My Best Friend
B3. Don't Stop Me Now
B4. Save Me

C1. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
C2. Somebody To Love
C3. Now I'm Here
C4. Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy

D1. Play the Game
D2. Flash
D3. Seven Seas of Rhye
D4. We Will Rock You
D5. We Are the Champions

LP 3-4 - GREATEST HITS II

A1. A Kind of Magic
A2. Under Pressure
A3. Radio Ga Ga
A4. I Want It All
A5. I Want to Break Free

B1. Innuendo
B2. It's a Hard Life
B3. Breakthru
B4. Who Wants to Live Forever

C1. Headlong
C2. The Miracle
C3. I'm Going Slightly Mad
C4. The Invisible Man

D1. Hammer to Fall
D2. Friends Will Be Friends
D3. The Show Must Go On
D4. One Vision

LP 5-6 - GREATEST HITS III [Special Edition]

A1. Heaven For Everyone [Single Version]
A2. Under Pressure [Rah Mix]
A3. Another One Bites The Dust '98
A4. Let Me Live
A5. Spread Your Wings

B1. Body Language
B2. Somebody to Love [Live 1992]
B3. Too Much Love Will Kill You
B4. Back Chat [Single Remix]
B5. Flick of the Wrist [Single Version]

C1. Tie Your Mother Down [Single Version]
C2. You Don't Fool Me
C3. Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love)
C4. Scandal

D1. These are the Days of Our Lives
D2. No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young)
D3. A Winter's Tale
D4. Thank God It's Christmas

LP 7-8 - BONUS DISCS

A1. Princes of the Universe
A2. Need Your Loving Tonight
A3. Staying Power
A4. Long Away
A5. Jealousy

B1. I Was Born to Love You
B2. Pain is so Close to Pleasure [Single Remix]
B3. Mustapha
B4. We Will Rock You (Fast) [Live in Lyon '79]
B5. Liar

C1. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) [Single Mix]
C2. One Year of Love {#56 FRA}
C3. Love of My Life [Live in Frankfurt '79]
C4. Keep Yourself Alive
C5. Calling All Girls

D1. It's Late {#66, USA}
D2. We Will Rock You / We are The Champions [Live at Wembley '86]
D3. BONUS TRACK: The Show Must Go On [Live in Paris '97]

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Kes
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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Kes »

Just to highlight one little point. The more I've asked about the Julian Raymond mix of Living On My Own, being on GH3, the less it seems to be an oversight, and more a case of agreeing on clearances, and royalties, at that particular time.

They'd have been better putting the original version on there, as many of the 1992 remixes of Freddie's solo stuff almost carbon dated the songs into early nineties European techno pop.

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action
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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by action »

needs less wycleff jean, and more living on my own, arguably the biggest Queen related smash hit of the 90's

Why exclude it? if we're going to include songs that don't feature freddie, then I don't understand the omission of a true smash hit (peaking at number 1) including freddie. I'd go as far as making the album start with the song. brilliant opener.

I think this reworked release suffers from the need to be factual correct, involving decisions on what can be categorised as "Queen" after freddies passing. Queen + George michael (and the wycleff jean stuff) passes as Queen, but freddie's monster hit doesn't. While factually correct, you're conceiding on quality this way.

Also, I'd prefer barcelona over the GM endeavour. It's a great GM performance foremost, not Queen. It better fits on GM's hits collection.

I'd also lose the UP remix. Even though it was a top 20 hit, it's already on GH2. Then we're reaching the 17 songs as in previous releases.

All in all, it's not something I'd buy.

my take:

01. Living on my own '93 - {#1 GBR}
02. Heaven For Everyone [Single Version] {#2 GBR}
03. Let Me Live {#9 GBR}
04. Spread Your Wings {#26 NLD}
05. Body Language {#4 NLD}
06. Barcelona {#2 GBR}
07. Too Much Love Will Kill You {#10 BEL}
08. Back Chat [Single Remix] {#19 IRE}
09. Flick of the Wrist [Single Version] {#2 GBR}
10. Tie Your Mother Down [Single Version] {#10 NLD}
11. You Don't Fool Me {#14 FRA}
12. Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love) {#13 SWI}
13. Scandal {#12 NLD}
14. These are the Days of Our Lives {#1 GBR}
15. No-One But You (Only the Good Die Young) {#13 GBR}
16. A Winter's Tale {#6 GBR}
17. Thank God It's Christmas {#8 GER}

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Sir Didymus
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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Sir Didymus »

Kes wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:16 am Just to highlight one little point. The more I've asked about the Julian Raymond mix of Living On My Own, being on GH3, the less it seems to be an oversight, and more a case of agreeing on clearances, and royalties, at that particular time.

They'd have been better putting the original version on there, as many of the 1992 remixes of Freddie's solo stuff almost carbon dated the songs into early nineties European techno pop.
That makes sense, I guess... it just feels very odd to be on there.
action wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:42 am needs less wycleff jean, and more living on my own, arguably the biggest Queen related smash hit of the 90's

Why exclude it? if we're going to include songs that don't feature freddie, then I don't understand the omission of a true smash hit (peaking at number 1) including freddie. I'd go as far as making the album start with the song. brilliant opener.

I think this reworked release suffers from the need to be factual correct, involving decisions on what can be categorised as "Queen" after freddies passing. Queen + George michael (and the wycleff jean stuff) passes as Queen, but freddie's monster hit doesn't. While factually correct, you're conceiding on quality this way.
You answered your own question. This was a Queen album, not a Freddie Mercury album.

Barcelona, Living On My Own and Brian's Driven By You are out of place. I love all three songs but they don't belong on here. Now, you could argue that Love Kills belonged on there, given it's a top ten hit featuring all four members of the band, but not the other three.

The Wyclef song might not be to your taste but it was a top five hit for 'Queen' before Hits III was released. TBH I suspect if they were genuinely going to do this, they'd probably push it forward a bit and shunt in that terrible 5ive collaboration, but, hey... it's also technically a Queen song and a #1 hit so it'd be justifiable.

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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Kes »

Arguably, the George Michael Somebody To Love, is the best, and certainly most well known performance of a Queen song, not featuring Freddie.

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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by action »

Kes wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:59 am Arguably, the George Michael Somebody To Love, is the best, and certainly most well known performance of a Queen song, not featuring Freddie.
is the performance remembered for john's bass playing? brians guitar? roger's drums?

or is it remembered and routinely cited as a standout performance of george michael?

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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by action »

Sir Didymus wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:15 am The Wyclef song might not be to your taste but it was a top five hit for 'Queen' before Hits III was released.
it meets the requirements of being "Queen" and being a top five hit.

it's still a shit song in anyone's book. Can't rememeber the last time I voluntarily listened to the version. When was your last time?

What is the point in reworking an album, if the remaining songs still leave a lot to be desired?

What would you prefer? An album which you would happily play front to back, or a reworked album where you would still be skipping tracks, only for the need to be "correct"...

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Kes
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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Kes »

"Yo, Freddie Mercury. Where you at?"

Dead and cremated, Mr. Wyclef Did you miss the news?

Think the Miami Project vs Queen's Another One Bites The Dust is way better than Wyclef's, and even that's crap.

Not aiming to be critical, but when they heard that, maybe B&R should have thought "Err, nope!".

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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by action »

Kes wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:05 pm "Yo, Freddie Mercury. Where you at?"

Dead and cremated, Mr. Wyclef Did you miss the news?

Think the Miami Project vs Queen's Another One Bites The Dust is way better than Wyclef's, and even that's crap.

Not aiming to be critical, but when they heard that, maybe B&R should have thought "Err, nope!".
the freddie doll was the best part of the endeavour

it was a grotesque effort, and should be erased from Queen's history.

I maintain, living on my own, the 1993 hit, is the absolute best that the 90s brought us, and you can't even buy the bloody thing on CD anymore. But I really don't need another chance to buy AOBYD+ wycleff jean.

After all is said and done, an improved GHIII should offer a better listening experience first and foremost, and don't duplicate tracks from past greatest hits, even if they are remixes or live versions.

stuff like the rah mix and the george michael stuff, ultimately are not as good as the originals, they never will, and it is pointless to include them. With those songs, a hypothetical GHIII will always be an afterthought and you all know it. If you use my trackslist, you really have a very strong album, which can stand toe to toe with GH1 (barcelona is easily as brilliant as bohemian rhapsody) and easily surpasses GH2, which I thought was a bit of a step down from GH1

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Re: Greatest Hits III [Special Edition]

Post by Sir Didymus »

I've got to be honest... despite that dodgy "Where yo at?" line, I'm rather fond of the Wyclef remix.

It helps that I was a big Fugees fan in the mid 90s, and still have a soft spot for that era. I genuinely play the track from time to time, and enjoy doing so. And it was also very popular at the time, and has a nostalgic pull for anyone who was a big fan of the Small Soldiers film as I've found out a few times over the years.

So frankly... it stays. They've got a top 5 hit there credited to Queen. It absolutely earned its place on Hits III and I'd fight for its inclusion in any future Singles Collection style sets. And Action's personal opinion on the George Michael song is irrelevant - it's a #1 hit for Queen. It stays.

For what it's worth - I've listened to my revised tracklisting for Hits III so often over the years and I've tweaked and refined it on and off since I first had the idea in the mid 00s. THIS version I've posted is something I actively enjoy listening to, and that's why I've shared it. It might not fit your tastes, Action, but it fits mine. And it course corrects the album which should have been a QUEEN album, not pulling in Freddie & Brian solo tracks.

Now, the idea of a 2CD release of Freddie, Brian AND Roger solo hits... now that's worth investigating.

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