In 1970, the band underwent a period of inactivity because of internal personnel conflict and pursuit of individual projects. Drummer Spencer Dryden was ousted from the group, Marty Balin found his commitment to the band he had started becoming tenuous, Grace Slick was pregnant with her daughter for a good part of the year, Paul Kantner released his solo album Blows Against the Empire, and Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady busied themselves with their side project, Hot Tuna. With no group project in sight, RCA assembled this album centered upon the group's hit singles, with input from the band. "The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil," "Crown of Creation," and "Volunteers" all made the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100. "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" were the band's only Top 40 hits, reaching #5 and #8 respectively. To ensure a full picture of the group's musical interests, and possibly to ensure solidarity in the publishing income, the band included instrumentals by Dryden and Kaukonen, a country blues/gospel cover arranged by Kaukonen, and Balin's straightforward ballad "Today."
This would be the final album featuring what is considered the "classic" line-up of the band, after Slick and Dryden joined, and before Balin and Dryden left. Original pressings had a 1918 vintage Victor Talking Machine Company inner sleeve and bore late 1920s vintage Victor record labels. The interior of the gatefold sleeve featured a large color reproduction of the painting "His Master's Voice", which was RCA Victor's famous trademark.
On July 29, 1997, RCA reissued a remastered version of Worst on compact disc. On June 6, 2006, RCA reissued the album again, this time with two bonus tracks which had both been released as singles, "Watch Her Ride" and "Greasy Heart".