Deep Purple

The Very Best of Deep Purple [EMI 2 Disc]

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Of the many anthologies and collections that Deep Purple have released over the years, The Very Best of Deep Purple spans the longest era, covering not only the band's power pop beginnings and '70s heavy metal heyday, but also their '80s and '90s period, a phase where the band re-formed and split up constantly, often falling out of favor with fans in favor of newer metal acts. Most of the set comes from the band's '70s heyday, with a smattering of '60s cuts thrown in, but the addition of cuts from the early '90s will help old fans who may have long since abandoned the band to reconnect with Purple's later years. The addition of newly remastered and remixed versions of the classics act as additional bait to fans who have collected the many previous Purple collections, and the remastered cuts definitely give this an edge over other Purple anthologies, sounding their clearest and sharpest. So while this is arguably the foremost Deep Purple collection, mixing all of the standard Purple classics like "Hush" and "Smoke on the Water" with newer selections, it still comes with some caveats. Too many key album cuts and singles from the band's prime years (such as "Space Truckin'," "Shield," and "No One Came") are jettisoned in favor of some rather pointless selections (like the turgid "Hallelujah"). What's more, while "Perfect Strangers" is as much a key Purple song as anything the band cut before, the rest of the '80s and '90s tracks are forgettable filler, demonstrating, sadly, that Deep Purple's best years are behind them. For casual fans and newcomers, this will be all the Purple they'll need, since it contains the biggest hits in best-ever sound quality, but more dedicated fans will feel cheated by the superficial selection (not to mention the absence of any rarities or previously unreleased cuts). Still, because it gives the biggest overall picture of Deep Purple's evolution, as well as containing the remastered hits, The Very Best of Deep Purple is probably the best Deep Purple collection.

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