It’s impossible to catch this breadth in any greatest hits compilation (Still on Top having been recently released). Van really is an artist where you should just burn your own compilation.
Van’s got some great albums that work well as an album concept but again after decades of output not every album is going to hit the note track after track. That’s just a creative and physical impossibility if you are making music for a living. Not that the artist with integrity doesn’t try. Its what makes the muse so elusive and dynamic if catching lightning in a bottle hasn’t been used to death. So after you purchase a core group of albums save your money you will never listen to it all and download some hand selected mp3s that speak to you. For instance Moondance has a stellar side one but side two is weaker (albums remember we had to flip them well no one flipped Moondance. That’s how good side one was so that album is perfect for ripping mp3’s.
Here’s my suggested albums to own followed by my two 80 minute mp3 collections. I’m just putting this out there for those new to Van or old timers who gave up keeping up because his output is so ridiculously huge and covers a lifetime. Suggested albums to own in their entirety are as follows:
Tupelo Honey – Hard Nose the Highway – It’s Too Late to Stop Now (Live) – Veedon Fleece – Common One – Hymns to the Silence – Down The Road – At The Movies – Philosopher’s Stone – His Band and Street Choir
Some people are more into the early years (Gloria) but I’m more into the mystic/secular vs the overtly religious (that’s just me) I wouldn’t argue taste. Van’s like a 100 flavored ice cream store so pick your favorite albums and burn the rest. Some people are ga, ga over Avalon Sunset. I say rock on with your bad self but not for me.
Here’s my suggestion compilation and order Disc One fits an 80 minute disc:
Dweller on the Threshold
And it Stoned Me
Into the Mystic
Here Comes the Night
Brown Eyed Girl
The Way Young Lovers Do
Have I Told You Lately
Bright Side of the Road
I made that disc years ago – here’s my recent compilation, sequence and it fits onto an 80 minute disc as well:
Across the Bridge Where Angels Dwell
I’ve Been Working
The Healing Game
I’ll Be Your Lover Too
Someone like You
The Way Young Lovers Do (apparently I like that tune)
Saint Dominics Preview
Close Enough For Jazz
In the Garden
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (part 1)
The albums these cuts came from are Astral Weeks – Beautiful Vision – Born to Sing – His Band and Street Choir- Inarticulate Speech of the Heart – Still on Top.
Good luck out there hope that gives you some ideas to explore.