Greatest Hits

Greatest Hits

by Little StevenLittle Steven


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Compiler and annotator Sven Peterson notes that "Little Steven" Van Zandt was more successful in Europe than in his native U.S., with two of his albums reaching the Top Ten in Sweden, so it is appropriate that this compilation of his EMI recordings was assembled in Sweden and released in Europe, but not the U.S. Peterson has chosen five tracks each from Little Steven's three EMI albums, plus the non-LP single "Vote!," and sequenced them chronologically. Thus, it is possible to trace both the artist's musical development and, most strikingly, his increasing militancy. The songs from 1982's Men Without Women recall Van Zandt's writing for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Gary U.S. Bonds; they are 1960s-style, R&B-tinged pop-rock informed by the wide-screen production sound Bruce Springsteen developed with Van Zandt's assistance, with lots of screaming lead guitar and horn charts. Starting with 1984's Voice of America, Van Zandt began to express his political opinions, and in the process to employ other musical styles, such as reggae. (Curiously, Peterson does not use "I Am a Patriot [And the River Opens for the Righteous]," a song widely performed by Jackson Browne that has become one of Van Zandt's better-known compositions, nor the 1985 Top 40 hit "Sun City," by Artists United Against Apartheid, an all-star group organized by Van Zandt.) By the time of 1987's Freedom, No Compromise, Van Zandt has incorporated everything from Latin rhythms to South African mbaqanga to mirror his political concerns, though he sounds most involved singing about the plight of Native Americans. Financially secure from his years with the E Street Band and his production work, Van Zandt made the kind of impassioned, high-quality music he wanted to -- "freedom, no compromise" was his artistic motto as well as an album title. If that meant that his commercial prospects were limited, this compilation confirms that his recordings hold up as music and as statements of belief.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/30/1999
Label: Emi Import
UPC: 0724352234028
catalogNumber: 5223402


  1. Lyin' in a Bed of Fire
  2. Forever
  3. Princess of Little Italy
  4. Under the Gun
  5. I've Been Waiting
  6. Out of the Darkness
  7. Solidarity
  8. Los Desaparecidos
  9. Checkpoint Charlie
  10. Undefeated (Everybody Goes Home)
  11. Vote!
  12. Trail of Broken Treaties
  13. Pretoria
  14. Native American
  15. No More Party's
  16. Bitter Fruit

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