Right, first things first. Where the hell is James Brown?! As I sat down to analyse the results of our latest poll, it wasn’t simply that inexplicable omission which was making me feel decidedly anxious. In fact, to all you good folk who contributed: you got good taste (although The Cramps – with three collections splitting the vote – also missed the cut). Rather, it was the questions racing round my head which were making me jittery: what actually constitutes a ‘compilation’ album anyway? Why have some people included soundtracks on their lists while others have assiduously avoided them? Most crucially, one question began to niggle at me me more than any other: just how many klassic Kinks kompilations are actually out there? (The answer apparently, is seven)

With our previous polls, the inclusion of compilation albums had only been a mildly divisive issue, as among the majority of contributors there seemed to exist an unwritten code that selecting them was off limits. A few people voted for them, but it didn’t really matter. That is until now (would anyone have really noticed the trifling anomaly of The Clientele’s Suburban Light making an appearance in two polls – this time round as a compilation – without me pointing it out? Dang!)

So, the compilation album: some lovingly curated by obsessives; some thrown together randomly to become perfect accidents; label samplers; genre samplers; greatest hits packages; collections of rarities and out-takes; artist retrospectives; box sets and anthologies; mail order cassettes. They come in all shapes and sizes and most of us either love them or hate them. For many of us they may have played a pivotal role in introducing us to a band or a particular genre of music. For me a cassette of Can’s Opener was a revelation in my musical education, handed to me by a TNPC colleague and spun faithfully on those wheels until it tangled itself forever inside the machine. But by that point I’d bought most of the studio albums on vinyl. I am sure most of our contributors and readers could point to similar formative experiences.

Another reason compilation albums are important is that they ensure some genres of music (folk, reggae, R&B, soul, garage punk in particular) are adequately represented when it comes to celebrating the great and the good. Some of us are albums geeks – the LP is our bread and butter – but how much our lives have been enriched by hearing an old rocksteady tune – probably recorded on the singer’s one visit to a Kingston studio shack, singing her heart out for her three glorious minutes of fame – played on a scratchy slab of lumpy vinyl. And how much heritage and history would have been lost to us without the efforts of Harry Smith? Or even the good folks – with their exceptional taste – at Soul Jazz.

We made a late decision to disqualify Original Soundtrack albums (American Graffiti, Wattstax, The Harder They Come etc) from inclusion in the final poll. Most people omitted them in any case, and there was a certain degree of confusion regarding their eligibility. Apologies to anyone who voted for them. You shall have an opportunity to rectify that in a future TNPC venture.

What we are left with are 100 albums celebrating everything that is great about popular music. Despite my anxiety, of all the polls we’ve done, this may well be the one we are happiest with. We hope you’ll like it too. (JJ)


Part One: Various Artists Collections

50. Pebbles Volume 3: ‘The Acid Gallery’ (BFD, 1979)

49. It’s Different For Domeheads (Creation, 1985)

48. Goodbye Babylon (Dust-to-Digital, 2003)

47. Club Ska ‘67 (WIRL, 1967)

46. Bumpers (Island, 1970)

45. Ultra Lounge 2: Mambo Fever (EMI, 1996)

44. The Psychedelic Snarl (Bam-Caruso, 1984)

43. (Thanks to Rough Trade for) A Constant Source Of Interruption (Rough Trade, 1990)

42. 20 Mod Classics (Tamla Motown, 1979)

41. This are Two-Tone (Two-Tone, 1983)

40. The In Crowd: The Story Of Northern Soul (Castle, 2001)

39. Pebbles Volume 1 (BFD, 1979)

38. Country Got Soul Volume 1 (Casual, 2003)

37. Tougher Than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music (Mango, 1993)

36. Time To Go: The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-86 (Flying Nun)

35. Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-77 (Kent, 2008)

34. Perfect Unpop: Peel Show Hits & Long-Lost Lo-Fi Favourites Volume 1 1976-80 (Cherry Red, 2008)

33. The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection (Rhino, 2008)

32. Wanna Buy A Bridge? (A Rough Trade Compilation of Singles) (Rough Trade, 1980)

31. This Is Soul (Atlantic, 1968)

30. Doing It For The Kids (Creation, 1988)

29. Disco Not Disco: Leftfield Dance Classics From The New York Underground (Strut, 2000)

28. Deutsch Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock & Electronic Musik 1972-83 (Soul Jazz, 2010)

27. Lee Scratch Perry: Arkology (Island Jamaica, 1997)

26. Tighten Up Volume 2 (Trojan, 1969)

25. On The Soul Side: Sixteen Soul Grooves (Kent, 1983)

24. Gather In The Mushrooms: The British Acid Folk Underground 1968-74 (Castle, 2004)

23. Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs present English Weather (Ace, 2017)

21. The Pebbles Box (Hit / Ubik, 1987)

20. Another Saturday Night (Oval, 1973)

19. A Christmas Gift For You from Philles Records (Philles Records, 1963)

18. The Sound Gallery Volume One (EMI, 1995)

17. For Dancers Only (Kent, 1982)

16. The Rock Machine Turns You On (CBS, 1968)

15. Mutant Disco: A Subtle Discolation Of The Norm (Ze, 2003)

14. If Deejay Was Your Trade: The Dreads At King Tubbys 1974-77 (Blood & Fire, 1994)

13. Fast Product: The First Year Plan (Fast, 1979)

12. Get Primitive: The Best Of Pebbles (Ubik, 1986)

11. 100% Dynamite (Soul Jazz, 1998)

10. I’m Your Fan – The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (Atlantic, 1991)

9. Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From The Vaults Volume 1 (Kent Soul, 1997)

8. C81 (NME / Rough Trade, 1981)

7. Back To Mono (1958-69) (ABKCO, 1991)

6. New Wave (Vertigo, 1977)

5. C86 (NME / Rough Trade, 1986)

4. Pillows and Prayers (Cherry Red, 1982)

3. Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997)

2. Motown Chartbusters Volume 3 (Tamla Motown, 1969)

1. Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-68 (Elektra, 1972)


Part Two: Artist Collections

50. Transparent Day – The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (Edsel, 1986)

49. Floored Genius: The Best of Julian Cole & The Teardrop Explodes 1979-91 (Island, 1992)

48. Ten Bloody Marys & Ten How’s Your Fathers – Elvis Costello & The Attractions (F-Beat, 1980)

47. The Great Twenty-Eight – Chuck Berry ( Chess, 1982)

46. Future Crayon – Broadcast (Warp, 2006)

45. Greatest Hits – Diana Ross & The Supremes (Tamla Motown, 1967)

44. The Very Best of The Byrds (Columbia, 1997)

43. 1 – The Beatles (Apple, 2000)

42. Bauhaus: 1979-1983 – Bauhaus (Beggars Banquet, 1985)

41. The World of Arthur Russell (Soul Jazz, 2004)

40. Discography: The Complete Singles Collection – Pet Shop Boys (Parlophone, 1991)

39. Terminal Tower: An Archival Collection – Pere Ubu (Rough Trade, 1985)

38. The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley (RCA, 1976)

37. Golden Hour of The Kinks (Golden Hour, 1971)

36. Louder Than Bombs – The Smiths (Rough Trade, 1987)

35. Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) – The Rolling Stones (Decca, 1966)

34. Still – Joy Division (Factory, 1981)

33. 40 Greatest Hits – Hank Williams (Mercury, 1978)

32. Suburban Light – The Clientele (Pointy, 2000)

31. Bolan Boogie – T.Rex (Fly, 1972)

30. Substance – New Order (Factory, 1987)

29. Hit Singles – The Kinks (PRT, 1987)

28. Big Sixteen- The Impressions (ABC, 1965)

27. Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Fantasy, 1976)

26. Greatest Hits – Four Tops ((Tamla Motown, 1967)

25. Snap! – The Jam (Polydor, 1983)

24. Kaleidoscope World- The Chills (Flying Nun, 1986)

23. Songs To Learn & Sing – Echo & The Bunnymen (Korova, 1985)

22. The Glasgow School – Orange Juice (Domino, 2005)

21. Cannibalism – Can (United Artists, 1979)

20. The Kink Kronikles – The Kinks (Reprise / US, 1972)

19. The Ultimate Action – The Action (Edsel, 1980)

18. Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy – The Who (Track, 1971)

17. 20 Golden Greats – The Beach Boys (Capitol, 1976)

16. Rolled Gold: The Very Best of The Rolling Stones (Decca, 1975)

15. Fire Escape In The Sky: The Godlike Genius Of Scott Walker (Zoo, 1981)

14. Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground featuring Nico – The Velvet Underground (MGM, 1971)

13. ChangesOneBowie – David Bowie (RCA Victor, 1976)

12. Relics – Pink Floyd (Starline, 1971)

11. Greatest Hits – Sly & The Family Stone (Epic, 1970)

10. Greatest Hits – Al Green (Hi, 1975)

9. The Original Singles 1965-67 Volume 1- The Byrds (CBS, 1980)

8. Boy Child: The Best of… 1967-70 – Scott Walker (Fontana, 1980)

7. Greatest Hits / The Best of… – Leonard Cohen (CBS, 1975)

6. 1962-1966 – The Beatles (Apple, 1973)

5. VU – The Velvet Underground (Verve, 1985)

4. 1967-1970 – The Beatles (Apple, 1973)

3. Hatful Of Hollow – The Smiths (Rough Trade, 1984)

2. Decade – Neil Young (Reprise, 1976)

1. Singles: Going Steady – Buzzcocks (United Artists, 1979)


Andy (Birmingham 81), David N Atkinson, Marc Baines, Billy Bell, Matthew Berry, Darren Betts, Caroline Binnie, Andy Blamey, Andy Bolton, Lloyd Bolton, Stephen Boyd, Johnny Browning, Rob Chapman, Ben Cook, Stuart Cosgrove, Bob Cveticham, Laura Lee Davies, Steve Davies, Michael Deane, Jon Dennis, Mick Derrick, Andrew Divine, Philip Downer, David Everall, Peter Ferguson, Jim Ferry, Paul Gallagher, Stephen Gallagher, Ben Graham, Robert Hodgens, James Hornsey (The Clientele), Jim Howie, Maartje Jansma, Johnnie Johnstone, Harris King, Jim Lambie, Peter Latimer, Huw M, Leon Massey, Stephen Mcauley, Jim McCulloch, Raymond McGinlay, Grant McPhee, Felonious Monk, Jason Myles, Richard Oxley, Nick Portnell, Johnny Purcell, Mark Raison, Ian Rankin, Seamus Reilly, Steve Rhodes, Chris Roberts, Martin Ruddock, Keith Shackleton, David Sharp, Simon Shaw, Jonathan Small, Jason Spence, Iain Stansfield, Terry Tochel, Joan Valdes, Judah Warsky, Helen Whiteley-McPhee, Dominic Whittingham

One Vote Wonders

Here are 100 of the more curious nominations – each received only one vote.

Peter Gabriel
Ela Orleans
American Primitive
Hit The Road Stax
The Perfumed Garden

3 thoughts on “TNPC presents… The 100 GREATEST COMPILATIONS OF ALL-TIME

  1. This is ridiculous. You’ve got fifty slots to play with and you put in three Kinks comps. A little editorial discretion required at the end of the day I think to give this ranking more validity.


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