Appearing three years after Mercury's comprehensive collection Fire in Your Eyes: Greatest Hits, BMG Heritage's 2004 release Ultimate Survivor edges out that previous collection for the title of the best Survivor compilation yet assembled. Why? Because the song selection and sequencing are sharper, developing a real momentum over its 18 songs, and it's also better presented, with strong liner notes and muscular remastering. Where the Mercury collection sometimes felt padded toward its end, as it emphasized some latter-day material, this focuses on the group's '80s heyday so much that it includes the original version of "Rockin' into the Night," a song Survivor leader Frankie Sullivan and his songwriting partner, Jim Peterik, gave to .38 Special, and their version is every bit as good as that group of wild-eyed Southern boys. Little touches like these make Ultimate Survivor live up to its title.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine