Greatest Hits III

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The history of Queen's Greatest Hits albums is impossibly convoluted. The first album with that title was released in 1981, and it was an excellent collection, but it was deleted in America by the end of the '80s. When Hollywood acquired the rights to the Queen catalog in 1991, it didn't reissue the original Greatest Hits album. Instead, it released Classic Queen, a bastardized version of the British compilation Greatest Hits II; it included "Bohemian Rhapsody," along with a couple other tracks from Greatest Hits. Classic Queen was essentially a quick cash-in to capitalize on the band's exposure in the hit film Wayne's World, and it served its purpose well. However, since it was pieced together with elements of the first two greatest-hits albums, Hollywood couldn't reissue either one. So, that year they put out their own Greatest Hits, which had the same skeleton as the British Greatest Hits, minus selections that were on Classic Queen, plus a handful of other tracks. To further complicate matters, Hollywood issued Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 in 1995, and this two-disc set contained the original British collections, which Greatest Hits III functions as a sequel to. But Greatest Hits III isn't a hits collection, it's a hodgepodge of rarities. The only real hit here is George Michael's live duet with Queen on "Somebody to Love." The rest are remixes, solo cuts, and tracks completed after Freddie Mercury's death. It's nice to get some of these items on one disc, but such a collection could barely be called "hits." It wouldn't be a problem if it was billed as such, but it's a sporadic collection of loose ends, a few of which are pretty good, most of which are unnecessary. If casual fans are expecting a true Greatest Hits III, they will be sorely disappointed.

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