RCA/BMG released their first CD-era comprehensive Hall & Oates collection, The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates, in 2001. It was a single-disc, 18-track collection that contained all of the duo's big hits from the '70s and '80s apart from "She's Gone," which they recorded for Atlantic in the first half of the '70s. Even though that was a major omission, the collection was the best place to get the bulk of the hits until BMG Heritage released Ultimate Daryl Hall + John Oates three years later. Spanning two discs and 38 tracks, the set contains all 18 songs from The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates (three tracks were in alternate single mixes on that collection; they're presented in their original album mixes here), along with "She's Gone" and two other Atlantic tracks, selections from their Arista recordings of the late '80s and early '90s, as well as cuts from 1997's Marigold Sky and 2003's excellent comeback single, "Do It for Love." While there are still plenty of great album tracks, particularly from the Atlantic years, that would have been welcome additions, that's something only the hardcore fans that already have all the albums will quibble about. For the less dedicated listener, all that matters is that there are no major hits missing on Ultimate Daryl Hall + John Oates (there are a couple of low-charting singles from the late '70s that have been left behind, but their absence isn't notable) and that the remastered sound is very good, making this an ideal compilation for fans looking for a thorough, career-spanning collection of hits.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2