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Back of The Billboards: John Denver's 'The Best of John Denver Live'

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the record that finished at no. 200 for the previous week. We hope to give new life to music that you might have missed, or new life to classic albums you may have forgotten.

Week of 09/26/2013

WHO: John Denver
WHAT: The Best of John Denver Live
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: 1997
BILLBOARD PEAK: 52
LAST WEEK: 179
WHY?: Admittedly, there are a ton of greatest hits albums for John Denver. However, this is rare goods in that it's a greatest hits compilation played live. That might not sound too revolutionary, but most live albums you'll find are a mix of hits and B-sides. Personally, we love B-sides, but you can be forgiven if you want to hear the hits when you go to a concert. 

Something that makes this compilation uniform is that all songs were recorded at the same concert. Denver opted to play nothing-but-hits because it was his annual "Wildlife Concert," and although Neil Young has no problem with playing obscurities for charity (see his recent "Farm Aid" performance), Denver plays tracks for the crowd to sing along with, including "Take Me Home, Country Road," "Rocky Mountain High" and more. 

Live compilations can be annoying due to the inevitable differences in audio quality. Even if the sound crew can get the mics set up in exactly the same way, the difference in acoustics between two venues is enough to throw off the sound between performances. What's meant to sound like one long show ends up sounding like a mishmash, hence the simple beauty of Denver performing all his hits in one fell swoop. There are a few new tracks here as well: "I'm Sorry" and "I Think I'd Rather Be A Cowboy" hadn't been recorded before this show. 

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