The Rhino/Warner Brothers compilation "The Very Best of The Grateful Dead" is the first to span the band's entire career in a single disc. It is also the first Dead compilation to encompass material from different record labels. So not only is the Dead's formative years with Warner Bros. covered, material from Arista and United Artists labels are also included.
This CD includes the Grateful Dead's most commercial material and its best known hits such as the signature classics "Truckin'", "Uncle John's Band", "Box Of Rain" and "Ripple" as well as their only top 40 smash "Touch Of Grey" from 1986.
Elsewhere are Deadhead favorites such as "Estimated Prophet", "Franklin's Tower", "Fire On The Mountain" and "U.S. Blues".
This is only one side of The Grateful Dead. The bands other side is what they are better known for - extended jams. Unfortunately "The Very Best Of" does not capture the bands improvisational and experimental side. It does however display the Dead's diverse range and their ability to craft radio-friendly material flawlessly and effortlessly.
This compilation is highly recommended for beginning Deadheads who'd like to hear the more commercial side of the band. For their improvisational side, "Live/Dead" is an excellent place to start. For their more experimental work, check out "Anthem Of The Sun", "Aoxomoxoa" or "Blues For Allah". These albums as well as this compilation provide a well-rounded textbook for those starting their collection of Dead recordings.