The band later described the release as "a 'cashing in on the catalogue' exercise by EMI", and referred to the playlist as "an unremarkable collection of singles made 'desirable' by the inclusion of "Far Better Thing" and "Higher Wall"", "tacked on the end to make you buy all the songs you already had all over again". The liner notes to the album Lost Songs (2001) indicate that "Far Better Thing" and probably "Higher Wall" were released without the band's consent.
Great Expectations - The Singles Collection was released in 2003 with the band's permission, and covers all stages of the band's career. Most tracks on the History - The Singles are single versions, and in some cases differ from the album versions.
In 2001 EMI repackaged and reissued the album as History - The Best of New Model Army.