"The Very Best Of" (Warner Archives/Rhino; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Any fan of hard rock should be aware of the contributions of Ronnie Montrose. According to this CD's liner notes, Ronnie's favorite guitar icon is Jimmy Page. I find this interesting because I always thought of Montrose and Led Zeppelin as being era-mates. Both bands offered style,  musical innovations and a daring drive to take chances that led them to be imitated and cited as inspiration nearly 30 years later.

This re-mastered collection of over 76 minutes is a must-have for anyone who considers themselves a rock historian or who may not be familiar with Montrose. It covers the first 20 years of Montrose's career, beginning with the self-titled debut album released in 1973 and winding up with selections 1987's "Mean." Any collection covering two decades of an artist's work will give the listener a taste of how that artist's style has changed over the years but "The Very Best of Montrose" does so spectacularly. From the Sammy Hagar-screamed party rocker, "Bad Motor Scooter" (which Hagar still performs in concert today) to the bluesier, somehow more sophisticated "Let's Go," the listener is treated to the many ways that Montrose has grown and, perhaps better yet, how much Montrose has stayed the same.

It could be argued that the old stuff (with Hagar on vocals) is better than the new stuff (with Bob James, Johnny Edwards or Ronnie Montrose himself at the mic) -- or vice versa -- but that's really a matter of individual taste, isn't it? The fact remains that every song on this CD is a little piece of hard rock history. Thanks to Warner Archives and Rhino Records for putting them together on one disc for our listening pleasure ... and education.

"The Very Best of Montrose" also features fascinating liner notes by Ronnie Montrose (a brief paragraph about each song is very enlightening) and heavy metal journalist Martin Popoff. 

For more information, please visit The Official Ronnie Montrose website at

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400 .