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The Very Best of Oleta Adams

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Album Review

The Very Best of Oleta Adams primarily consists of material from her first three albums. The big mystery of this 1998 collection is the lack of material from 1990's Circle of One, by far her strongest and more musically varied set of songs. A mere three tunes are included here: "Get Here," the Soul II Soul-styled "Rhythm of Life," and the rousing "Circle of One." Her weaker second album, Evolution, however, is represented by no less than five tracks, and four songs from Moving On also appear. The Very Best of Oleta Adams also includes material that was never previously available on an Oleta Adams album. Tears for Fears' Seeds of Love hit "Woman in Chains" is here, and Adams' pitch-perfect vocal harmonies play off Roland Orzabal's melodramatic bombast surprisingly well. Though a more subtle arrangement may have been more successful, her rendition of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (which appeared on the Elton John/Bernie Taupin covers album Two Rooms in 1991) is performed with such gusto Elton John's version pales by comparison. Adams also shows off her astonishing range on the Gershwin classic "Embraceable You" and a nice reading of Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross." Although The Very Best of Oleta Adams lacks two of her best performances — Circle of One's gorgeous version of "Everything Must Change" (which has been recorded by countless artists, including Gene Harris, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, and Barbra Streisand) and the aforementioned "New York State of Mind" — it is a pleasant collection that showcases Oleta Adams' beautiful voice, even on lackluster material.

Customer Reviews

If there is a God...

He/she sent us this voice!

This is awesome, but hear her LIVE if you can.

If you can see this girl in concert, GO. Imagine that voice with nothing but a keyboard backing her . . . Don't get me wrong, her band is great. But she alone is worth any price of admission. Her voice has such a special, golden timbre. Her version of "I Knew You When" earned her one of two standing ovations in the middle of the show. I can't express the joy of listening to her under the stars in Florida this past weekend. She played many of the songs in this collection. But she also played "Everything Must Change" when the audience called it out. And, I agree with the iTunes reviewer -- that should be on here. That song was MADE for her voice (the second mid-show ovation she received). Her cover of NY State of Mind is pretty hot as well. Buy those two tracks and add them to this collection. Oleta rocks.


Oleta has a gifted voice that is unforgettable. I just saw her live in DC area and am so touched by her talent and loveliness. She is the real thing...voice, pianist, and shining light of human being. Whatever she sings is gorgeous.


Born: May 4, 1953 in Seattle, WA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Being the daughter of a minister, it's no surprise that Oleta Adams' roots are in gospel, as she often performed in her father's church. But her formal introduction to the masses began rather unexpectedly. While performing in a Kansas City hotel, Oleta Adams was discovered by Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears, and she was invited to participate in the recording of the British band's follow-up to the immensely popular 1985 album Songs From the Big Chair. When Tears for Fears unleashed...
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The Very Best of Oleta Adams, Oleta Adams
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