Ramones

Greatest Hits

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Appearing one year after Rhino's Ramones box set Weird Tales of the Ramones, and appearing four years after Rhino's first single-disc Ramones collection Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits -- which itself appeared after Rhino's excellent double-disc Hey! Ho! Let's Go!: The Anthology -- Rhino's 2006 collection Greatest Hits serves up 20 of the group's basics. Unlike 2002's Loud, Fast Ramones, Greatest Hits makes no attempt to cover anything other than the group's peak period: the first 16 songs cover 1976's Ramones through 1980s End of the Century, with a selection apiece from Pleasant Dreams ("The KKK Took My Baby Away"), Subterranean Jungle ("Outsider"), Brain Drain ("Pet Sematary") and Too Tough to Die ("Wart Hog"). This makes for a tighter, better listen than Loud, Fast Ramones, even if it's hard not to feel that Rhino might have gone to the well one too many times with this release. After all, as good as this music is, how many times can it be shuffled around on compilations? (And since the skimpy liner notes for this set are cribbed from the Weird Tales box -- there is a letter coding to illustrate each of the Ramones albums and which drummers and bassists played on what, but half of the albums with coding aren't represented at all -- this can't help feel a little bit like an afterthought.) Nevertheless, anybody looking for a concise collection of the group's basics will not feel let down by this Greatest Hits, which does indeed offer 20 tracks of prime Ramones rock & roll.

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