- Released: February 15, 2000
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Atlantic
Q - 5/00, p.1294 stars out of 5
- "...A superb and fair collection of their best work..."
Uncut - p.1365 stars out of 5
- "Not only did their furious guitar sound - along with The Stooges - pave the way for punk and the recent Detroit garage-rock revival, but their flamboyant dress sense was a massive influence on glam."
Alternative Press - 4/00, p.904 out of 5
- "...Stomps through early singles, the glorious cacophony of KICK OUT THE JAMS, the tighter, cleaner BACK IN THE USA, and the almost-mature HIGH TIME....[They] made the pop mainstream seem lightweight by comparison."
The Wire - 3/00, pp.50-1
"...Represemts the best possible testimonial to the memory of these purveyors of a factiry forged, 'high energy' sound..."
Melody Maker - 4/25/00, p.514 stars out of 5
- "MC5's intense mixture of proto-punk and ragged, free-form jazz captures the very essence of rock'n'roll oblivion. Fans of Primal Scream and Asian Dub Foundation will almost certainly love this."
Mojo (Publisher) - 2/00, pp.82-4
"...[this album] rocks not only as an end in itself but also as the key to generational/perceptual/political change....THE BIG BANG works well as an introduction to a vital, thorny group..."
NME (Magazine) - 12/30/00, p.79Ranked #3
in NME's "Top 5 Compilations Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) - 3/11/00, p.329 out of 10
- "...some of the greatest rock'n'roll music ever committed to tape....one of the best rock'n'roll groups of all time."
- 1.I Can Only Give You Everything
- 2.Looking At You
- 3.I Just Don't Know
- 4.Ramblin' Rose
- 5.Kick Out The Jams
- 6.Come Together
- 7.Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)
- 9.Teenage Lust
- 10.High School
- 11.Call Me Animal
- 12.The American Ruse
- 13.Shakin' Street
- 14.The Human Being Lawnmower
- 15.Back In The USA
- 16.Sister Ann
- 17.Baby Won't Ya
- 18.Miss X
- 19.Over And Over
- 20.Skunk (Sonically Speaking)
- 21.Thunder Express
MC 5: Fred "Sonic" Smith (vocals, guitar, harmonica, organ); Wayne Kramer (vocals, guitar, piano, bass); Rob Tyner (vocals, harmonica, congas, maracas); Michael Davis (vocals, bass); Dennis Thompson (vocals, drums, tambourine, percussion).
Additional personnel: Charles Moore (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn); Merlene Driscoll, Joanne Hill, Brenda Knight (vocals); Leon Henderson (tenor saxophone); Rick Ferretti (trumpet); Larry Horton, Dan Bullock (trombone); David Overtsteak (tuba); Pete Kelly (piano); Skip "Van Winkle" Knapp (organ); Danny Jordan (keyboards); Steev Morrhouse (bass); Butch O'Brien (bass drum); Ellis Dee, Dave Heller, Dr. Dave Morgan, Scott Morgan, Bob Seger, Terry Trabandt (drums, percussion); Brother J.C. Crawford.
Producers include: MC5, John Sinclair, Jac Holzman, Bruce Botnick, Jon Landau.
Compilation producers: Wayne Kramer, Jimmy Guterman, Gary Stewart.
Engineers include: Danny Dallas, Bruce Botnick, Jim Bruzzese.
Includes liner notes by Wayne Kramer and Jimmy Guterman.
Digitally remastered by Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot (DigiPrep).
Personnel: Joanne Hill, Brenda Knight (vocals); Fred "Sonic" Smith (guitar, harmonica, organ); Wayne Kramer (guitar, piano); Rob Tyner (harmonica, congas, maracas); Charles Moore (flugelhorn); Larry Horton (trombone); David Oversteak (tuba); Butch O'Brien (bass drum); Dennis Thompson (snare drum, tambourine, percussion).
Recording information: Artie Fields Studios, Detroit, MI; GM Studios, East Detroit, MI; United Sound Studios, Detroit, MI.
Photographers: Leni Sinclair; Sigrid Dobat; Ben Edmonds.
A best-of for a group that only made three albums might be considered an inessential addition to their discography, particularly as all three of those albums remain available on CD. However, if you only want one MC5 album, this compilation makes more sense than if might appear at first. It draws judiciously from each of the three records; adds three somewhat rare tracks from pre-Kick Out the Jams singles; and finishes with a live 1972 cut, "Thunder Express," recorded for French TV and previously available on a Skydog CD. In somewhat of a surprise, it leans most heavily on Back in the U.S.A. (with eight tracks), and not so much on the album that most would view as their most significant effort, Kick Out the Jams (only four tracks). That decision works out better than you might think. The three tracks from 1967-1968 singles are fairly similar to the Kick Out the Jams vibe anyway, and if you don't own Kick Out the Jams already, you may well be ready for something a little cleaner-sounding and less assaultive by the time seven songs have gone by. It's unfortunate, nonetheless, that the two remaining pre-Kick Out the Jams tracks from non-LP 45s, "One of the Guys" and a different version of Kick Out the Jams' "Borderline," were not included. Kick Out the Jams itself would get most people's nod as the first and most essential MC5 purchase, but this is a close second, its value enhanced by detailed historical liner notes. [Apart from the title, Greatest Hits is identical in every way to 2000's Rhino release The Big Bang: Best of the MC5. ] ~ Richie Unterberger