Billy Squier

Absolute Hits

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You have to feel for Billy Squier (and his fans). His record label has done nothing but bungle his hits and best-of collections. Every couple of years they repackage what they claim to be his hits and best songs and every time they manage to find a way to leave off his fifth best song (after "The Stroke," "In the Dark," "My Kind of Lover," and "Everybody Wants You"), the aching and powerful "Lonely Is the Night" from his classic Don't Say No album. It may not have hit the singles charts, but it did climb pretty high on the mainstream rock chart and it was an AOR staple. It is also way better than any of the so-called hits from the late '80s/early '90s that bring up the rear of each hits disc. For the record, 2005's 14-song Absolute Hits replaces Capitol's 2002 collection Classic Masters, which had 12 of the same songs. They are both very similar to 1995's 16 Strokes. The main difference on this Billy Squier collection is the inclusion of two live cuts. "The Stroke" and "Everybody Wants You" were recorded in 1983 for The King Biscuit Flower Hour and are pretty decent examples of Squier's stage act. They lack the passion, drive, and sonic clarity of the album versions, however, especially "The Stroke," which is quite dependent on a tricked-up drum sound. Both songs can be found on the 1996 release King Biscuit Flower Hour. If you are looking for a Squier collection, this is as good as any other -- at least until somebody does the job right and releases a disc with "Lonely Is the Night" and maybe a couple of other tracks from Don't Say No, like "Whaddya Want from Me" and "I Need You" (or "The Big Beat" from Tale of the Tape). Then you really might have the best of Billy Squier.

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