There are a number of excellent Rod Stewart compilations available emphasizing his Mercury period. There are a couple of multi-disc packages such as The Mercury Anthology released in the 1990s, and 2002's excellent three-disc box of the Reason to Believe: The Complete Mercury Studio Recordings, and a couple of single-disc packages as well, namely Millennium Edition, issued at the beginning of the century. That said, while the The Definitive Collection 1969-1978 won't add anything to the discussion and contains fewer cuts than its predecessors, it is a more tightly focused set than any other single-disc comp, including Millennium Edition, because it only contains hit singles, B-sides, and well-known album tracks -- no filler for more casual or budget-minded fans. And yes, there are some who would argue that Stewart never released weak music while he was with Mercury, but frankly, they'd be wrong -- the Smiler album being a case in point. In any case, for the money, this is an excellent sounding, beautifully chosen set of tracks that provides an introduction to an artist who arrived at Mercury at the top of his game, and eventually, just as he left it for Warner Bros., became a caricature of himself -- as demonstrated by "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," also included here -- despite the fact that he remained as talented as ever.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek