A greatest hits album (sometimes referred to as a "best of" album) is a compilation album of successful, previously released songs by a particular music artist or band.
To increase the appeal of the album – especially to people who already own the previously released material – it is common to include remixes or alternate takes of popular songs or new material, with new songs often being released as singles Greatest hits albums are typically produced after an artist has had enough successful songs to fill out an album release.
Some artists, have released multiple greatest hits albums through their career.
Other greatest hits albums are released only at the end of the artist or group's career.
They are aimed at fans who liked a few of their songs or singles, but not enough to buy an artist's entire catalog as well as potential new fans who want to sample the most famous work of an artist or group with just one purchase.
Some bands refuse to release a greatest hits album, notably AC/DC and Metallica.
Manic Street Preachers initially refused to do a greatest hits, but in the end Forever Delayed was released.
Radiohead also refused to do such a compilation, but upon their departure from Parlophone Records, was quickly deleted, but not until selling well over ten million copies).
Greatest hits collections can also boost a falling music career.
The Beautiful South's first Greatest Hits album, Carry on up the Charts, was originally strongly opposed by the band.
However, upon release it became one of the fastest selling albums in chart history.