Ultimate! is a comprehensive career retrospective album by English rock group the Yardbirds. It was compiled by Rhino Records in 2001 and comprises 52 songs on two compact discs. The songs are arranged chronologically by recording date and span the period from their first demo recordings in 1963 to the last singles in 1968. It includes all 17 of the group's singles (both A- and B-sides) supplemented with more than a dozen album tracks, their performance for the film Blow-Up, and three early solo numbers by singer Keith Relf.
Previous attempts at career compilations were hampered by cross-licensing problems. Yardbirds' recordings from different periods have different owners (corresponding to the tenures of their three main producers), which proved to be an obstacle. Ultimate! is the first official group compilation to feature songs from all four recording lineups of the Yardbirds—Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Beck/Page.
Prior to Ultimate!, several Yardbirds compilation albums were issued. In March 1967, Epic Records released the ten-song collection, The Yardbirds Greatest Hits. It was the group's most successful American album on the record charts and was included on Billboard magazine's 100 Top LPs of 1967 chart. Since it preceded the recording of the Little Games album with Jimmy Page, the album does not include any songs by the Page-quartet lineup. In 1970, Epic issued a second compilation album, The Yardbirds Featuring Performances by Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page. The two-LP, 22-song collection includes songs from Little Games, but lacks any of the material recorded by the dual-lead guitar lineup with Beck and Page. Starline Records in the UK, an EMI Records subsidiary, released a compilation titled Remember... The Yardbirds in 1971. It includes twelve songs with Clapton and Beck.
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