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The Greatest Hits Album is a time-honored tradition in the music world, a great way for a band to make a bunch of money without doing any actual new work. Over the years, bands from The Beach Boys to The Who to Elton John have milked these waters time and again, reaping huge rewards. Yes, when a band has reached "Greatest Hits" status, they know their difficult climb to the top has succeeded, and that they will be remembered for all eternity.

However, not everyone can chart 12 or 13 songs. What do you do if you've only got 6 hits? Or 4? Or 1? Apparently you put out a Greatest Hits album anyway.

All this can leave you, the consumer, a bit confused. Is a Whitesnake Greatest Hits album worth the same as one from Samantha Fox? Should you invest your money in The Best of Corey Hart or Fun Boy Three? Is there any way to gauge the quality of these albums?

There is now.

We present the Hit-to-Filler (HtF) ratio. Here's how it works: The perfect Greatest Hits Album will have a HtF of 1.000. For example, Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 total 22 songs. 20 of these tunes were previously released and charted in the top 20, and the other two songs were released from the Greatest Hits albums, and they both charted high as well. 22 songs. 22 hits. 22 divided by 22 is 1. Likewise, MC Hammer's Greatest Hits Album has 12 tracks, of which 6 charted. 6 divided by 12 is .5. So MC Hammer gets an HtF of .500.

A couple of qualifiers. When we say hits, we mean original hits, not remixes of a song already on the album. You don't get credit twice, but you are charged a track, since if you had a real hit, you wouldn't have had to include a remix. Also, when we say hit, we mean a song that got played a lot on the radio, not just a track that the record company released in hopes of pushing the album. If no one listened to it, it wasn't a hit.

AlbumGroupWho?TracksHitsHtF Ratio
Album Cover Duran Duran From "Rio" to "Reflex" to "Wild Boys," these cats knew how to party! Only regret: "New Moon On Monday" isn't on here. God I loved that song. 14 12 .857
Album Cover Huey Lewis and the News The had the Power of Love and the Heart of Rock and Roll all in one neat little package. Weird thing is, this album was released in 1996, yet there isn't a single song from any of their previous three albums, which included one song which hit #10 and another which hit #3. I know too much about Huey Lewis and the News, don't I? 16 11 .688
Album Cover The Outfield Who are these guys and what did they ever do? Well, they quietly had 4 top 20 hits in the mid eighties, the biggest of which was "Your Love." Don't remember it? Sure you do. "Josie's on a vacation far away..." 16 4 .250
Album Cover Debbie Gibson From "Shake Your Love" to Broadway's Les Mis. This chickadee was Electric Youth. 12 3 .250
Album Cover Corey Hart He wore his Sunglasses at Night. He got into a lot of traffic accidents. 15 3 .200
Album Cover Fun Boy Three Two hits. I looked it up. Heck if I know what they were 14 2 .143
Album Cover The Hooters These guys deserved to have a Greatest Hits album solely on the off chance that they'd call it The Best Hooters. 16 2 .125
Album Cover Samantha Fox Songs? Who cares, I had a scantily-clad poster of her on my wall in high school. Yummy! 17 2 .118
Album Cover Tiffany "I Think Her Hit's Alone Now" 12 1 .083
Album Cover Whitesnake There are legions of Whitesnake fans who will argue that these poofy-haired freaks had lots of hits. First off, no. Secondly, get a grip, you're Whitesnake fans. 14 1 .071
Album Cover Big Country Worse yet, their one hit has the same name as the band. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you name yourselves after your first single? Imagine if Nirvana had done that. "Next up, the latest from Smells Like Teen Spirit!" 14 1 .071
Album Cover Timbuk 3 Their future was bright. They had to wear shades. They didn't have to make a Greatest Hits album. 14 1 .071
Album Cover Kajagooogoo Too Shy. Too shameless. Too greedy. 15 1 .059
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