Diana Ross & the Supremes

Compact Command Performances: 20 Greatest Hits

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At the time of its release in 1984, Compact Command Performances: 20 Greatest Hits, credited to Diana Ross and the Supremes, was the only single-disc compilation covering the Supremes' entire career as hitmakers, from 1963 to 1971. More than a decade later, it remained the best such collection. The 1967 double-LP Greatest Hits (now divided into two volumes) was arguably a stronger set of songs because the quality of the group's music declined in the late '60s and '70s, and the various versions of the Anthology, whether triple-LP or double-CD, were more comprehensive. But this album fulfilled the purpose of sampling most of the Supremes' biggest hit singles from all three of their notable lineups: the original trio of Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard (1961-1967); the rebilled Diana Ross and the Supremes, with Wilson and Cindy Birdsong (1967-1970); and the post-Ross Supremes, Wilson, Birdsong, and Jean Terrell. It featured 17 of the group's 20 Top 10 pop hits (leaving out "The Happening," "In And Out Of Love," and "I'm Livin' In Shame" in favor of "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes," "I'll Try Something New," and "Nathan Jones," all of which made the Top 40). As one of the early CDs, the album, with tracks "transferred directly to digital from the original masters," sounds generally good, but has nothing like the spectacularly improved sound achieved on later compilations of the same material. In fact, "I Hear A Symphony," inexplicably, is in mono, and there is a drop-out in "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart."

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