Greatest Hits (Westlife album)

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Greatest Hits
Westlife - Greatest Hits.jpg
Greatest hits album by Westlife
Released 18 November 2011
Genre Pop, pop rock, teen pop
Label RCA, Sony
Producer John Shanks, Steve Mac, Per Magnusson, David Kreuger, David Foster, Pete Waterman, Steve Robson, TTW, Rami Yacoub, Quiz & Larossi, Carl Falk, Arnthor Birgisson
Westlife chronology
Greatest Hits
The Love Songs
Singles from Greatest Hits
  1. "Lighthouse"
    Released: 14 November 2011

Greatest Hits is the second greatest hits album and final release by Irish boy band Westlife. It was released on 18 November 2011 by RCA Records and Sony Music. Greatest Hits is the group's second greatest hits album following Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Volume 1 (2002). The album is the group's first album not under Syco Music and not under the tutelage of Simon Cowell, having left Syco and Cowell in March 2011. The greatest hits album contains numerous singles that span throughout the band's career, as well as four new songs produced by John Shanks, which includes the lead single "Lighthouse", which was released on 14 November 2011. The compilation was released in two different formats, a standard edition containing the album's eighteen tracks, and a deluxe edition featuring numerous other singles of the band's discography, as well as a DVD containing almost all of the band's music videos.

Upon the album's release, Greatest Hits received mixed reviews from music critics, with some reviewers praising the compilation's structure, while others disliked the group's musical style implemented in the songs. The compilation reached #4 in the UK Albums Chart; it is the lowest peaking position for a Westlife album. The album debuted at the #1 position on the Irish Albums Chart, while it peaked within the top forty of New Zealand and Norway.


It was recorded from May - September 2011 with the band's Gravity producer Shanks and new producers like Dan Radclyffe and Boxsta Martin. On 5 September 2011, it was confirmed the album to be simply titled as Greatest Hits. The group said, "It’s almost hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for as long as we have. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and are looking forward to releasing our Greatest Hits as a special thank you to our fans who have supported us throughout our career."[1] Egan added: "Our greatest hits album is out soon, and we’ve worked so hard to put together four or five new tracks for the album. The new songs are great and we’re all really pleased with them. We think the fans will love them too."[2] Feehily added, "It's a very different Westlife", "We are putting the finishing touches to our new songs"[3] Bryne explained: "I'm doing a bit of everything to be honest, We just came back from the UK, we were there for four days. We were in the studio for four or five weeks but we finished there about a month ago."[4] In China Daily, they said that Westlife has taken their music and career to another level. “‘We’re all at least 30 years of age. We could all go home now and we’d be all right for the rest of our lives,’ Feehily says. “So, if we are going to make more records, we want to do it well. Otherwise we don’t want to do it at all.”[5]

The album is a three-disc set. On 4 September 2011, and revealed aside from the standard and deluxe editions, each record stores have included free postcards and an exclusively signed copies respectively.[6] On 8 September 2011, the pre-order link for the said album has already been available for 36 countries on their official store.[7] On 15 September 2011, the pre-order link for the special limited edition of the box set was announced.`[8] It featured a 2CD/DVD deluxe version of the boys' Greatest Hits album alongside a poster and exclusive pictures of the boys and included a special photobook showing the boys incredible journey over the last 14 years including a selection of submitted fan pictures. As a special thank you for all of the amazing support so far, the boys have signed the first 500 copies of the box set.[9] The signed edition of the album was sold-out in less than 24 hours. Before that, in August 2011 they made a contest for the fans to contribute on the upcoming Westlife boxset. They were looking to make a special boxset filled with some of the greatest things that you have collected over your time as a Westlife fan.[10] On 27 and 31 October 2011, Sony Music announced a "PureSolo competition" of singing along with their hits and "an album listening party" respectively.[11][12] On 6 November 2011, they launched a joined venture with MixPixie that customize a personalised album cover. This product is approved by several music record labels and will be fully launched by the year 2012. Westlife is the first on-hand to accept this product.[13] Added for events were album signing personally by the lads with the schedule as follows: HMV Glasgow Buchanan Street, Monday, 21 November 2011, 9.00 am; HMV Newcastle Northumberland Street, Monday, 21 November 2011, 1.00 pm; and HMV Manchester 90 Market Street, Monday, 21 November 2011, 6.00 pm[14]

A final track list for the collection of the 18-track standard edition of the album was confirmed by Swedish's while the additional deluxe edition wasn't revealed yet.[15][16] On 12 October 2011, the official site completely announced the track listing.[17] While 4music first announced the track listing for the DVD.[18] There are four new tracks on the standard edition, those are: "Beautiful World" (written by Feehily, Shanks and Ruth-Anne Cunningham), "Wide Open" and "Last Mile Of The Way" (co-written by Byrne, Filan, Dimitri Ehrlich, Coyle Girelli) and the lead single to be released on 14 November 2011, "Lighthouse".[15] According to group member Kian Egan, the band were asked by their record label if they wanted to re-record the vocals by former member Brian McFadden for the album. The band rejected the proposal as they "wanted to keep it true to the original singles".[19]

Album artwork[edit]

The album photoshoot happened on South Africa starting on 17 September 2011, same time with the lead single music video shoot.[20] It was described as a "very special photo shoot" on Female First.[21] On 12 October 2011, the official site posted the album artwork.[17] Julia Simpson of Yahoo OMG! UK reported: "`Westlife have been known to do many a cheesy pose in their time. And so we're thrilled to see that the artwork for their brand new album sees them striking one of their best model poses yet. The Irish boyband (that's Nicky, Kian, Mark and Shane) master the art of the staring-into-the-distance-longingly shot in the cover shot for their Greatest Hits. And we know we've probably drunk too many cups of tea slash been staring at a computer screen for too long but we've convinced ourselves they're staring at us. We reviewed the lads' brand new single Lighthouse and it made us feel all autumnal. And this shot is having the same effect - with the fresh blue sky, orange hues in the trees and the biker boots/cardis."[22]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
BBC Music (mixed)[23]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[24]
Entertainment Focus 2/5 stars[25]
Daily Express 3/5 stars[26]
Female First (positive)[27]
Rovi Music 2.5/5 stars[28]
Star Magazine 3/5 stars[29]
Trash Lounge 5/5 stars[30]
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars

Greatest Hits received mixed reviews from music critics. Critics that positively received the album praised the album's track listing and new songs, particularly "Beautiful World". Reviewers that criticized the album also noted the group's repetitive formula in their songs.

Shaun Kitchener of Trash Lounge gave the compilation a perfect five stars, calling it "the perfect way for the band to bid farewell."[30] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy gave the album four stars out of five, praising the inclusion of numerous hits in the track listing, as well as the new songs of the compilation. However, he was disappointed that the new songs "point to what could have been an interesting new direction for the band".[24] Alistair McGeorge of Female First called the album a "fine retrospective of one of the best boy-bands in history", as well as assuring the listeners that they will be "taken on a journey from the band’s beginnings through to their last recordings, constantly reminded of the talent they showed."[27]

Fraser McAlpine of BBC Music gave a mixed review of the album, noting the repetitive structure of the group's previous hits, and that listening to the album felt "strange". Despite this, he praised the album's last three tracks.[23] Simon Gage of Daily Express said that the compilation "needs no introduction with big key-change numbers like "Flying Without Wings" and "You Raise Me Up" telling their own story."[26] Star Magazine UK called the group's formula "annoyingly, irresistibly effective" and that "it's the ballads they’ll be remembered for."[29] Jon O'Brien of Rovi Music gave the album a borderline two and a half out of five stars, saying, "while this collection contains a few pop gems, it's a samey and uninspiring listen that suggests their split has been well overdue." He also noted that numerous uptempo songs and four #1 hits ("Seasons in the Sun", "Fool Again", "Unbreakable" and "The Rose") were excluded from the album's standard edition.[28] Pip Ellwood of Entertainment Focus gave the album a negative review, saying that listening to the album was like "listening to one song for just over an hour."[25] While Allmusic only gave 2.5 of 5 stars.[31]



Some were pre-recorded/taped or live interview and performances.

Date Channel Venue
4 November 2011, Friday, 9:35 pm RTÉ The Late Late Show
6 November 2011, Sunday, 7:45 pm BBC 1 Strictly Come Dancing
6 November 2011, Sunday, 10:00 pm Channel 4 Alan Carr: The Chattyman
8 November 2011, Tuesday, 8:00 pm TV3 Strictly Come Dancing
11 November 2011, Friday, 7:45 pm;
12 November 2011, Saturday, 11:00 am;
13 November 2011, 1:00 and 7:00 pm
Bliss TV Bliss Meets Westlife
14 November 2011, Monday 6:00-9:15 am BBC1 BBC Breakfast
14 November 2011, Monday, 12:30-1:30 pm ITV1 Loose Women
14 November 2011, Monday, 3:00 pm;
16 November 2011, Wednesday, 4:00 pm
Bliss TV Merry Christmas from Westlife
14 November 2011; Monday, 7:00 pm QVC QVC
18 November 2011; Friday, 7:00 pm BBC1 Children In Need
19 November 2011; Saturday, 6:00 pm TV3 Childline
20 November 2011; Sunday, 12:00 pm Channel 4 T4
23 November 2011; Wednesday, 6:00-9:25 am ITV1 Daybreak
23 November 2011; Wednesday, 6:00-9:25 pm ITV1 Lorraine
25 November 2011; Friday BBC1 The Lottery
1 December 2011; Thursday, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm ITV1 This Morning
17 December 2011; Saturday ITV1 Westlife: For the Last Time

Track listing[edit]

  • Standard Edition
No. Title Writer(s) Album Length
1. "Swear It Again" (Radio Edit) Wayne Hector, Steve Mac Westlife 4:08
2. "If I Let You Go" (Radio Edit) Jörgen Elofsson, David Kreuger, Per Magnusson Westlife 3:41
3. "Flying Without Wings" Hector, Mac Westlife 3:35
4. "I Have a Dream" Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus Coast to Coast 4:13
5. "Against All Odds" (with Mariah Carey) Phil Collins Coast to Coast 3:19
6. "My Love" (Radio Edit) Elofsson, Kreuger, Magnusson, Pelle Nylén Coast to Coast 3:51
7. "Uptown Girl" (Radio Edit) Billy Joel World of Our Own 3:05
8. "Queen of My Heart" (Radio Edit) Hector, Mac, John McLaughlin, Steve Robson World of Our Own 4:18
9. "World of Our Own" (Single Remix) Hector, Mac World of Our Own 3:28
10. "Mandy" Scott English, Richard Kerr Turnaround 3:17
11. "You Raise Me Up" Brendan Graham, Rolf Løvland Face to Face 4:00
12. "Home" Michael Bublé, Alan Chang, Amy Foster-Gillies Back Home 3:24
13. "What About Now" (2011 Remix) Ben Moody, David Hodges, Josh Hartzler Where We Are 3:59
14. "Safe" (Single Remix) James Grundler, John Shanks Gravity 3:52
15. "Lighthouse" Gary Barlow, Shanks Greatest Hits 4:23
16. "Beautiful World" Ruth-Anne Cunningham, Mark Feehily, Shanks Greatest Hits 4:02
17. "Wide Open" Grundler, Shanks Greatest Hits 3:41
18. "Last Mile of the Way" Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Dimitri Ehrlich, Coyle Girelli[32] Greatest Hits 3:49
  • Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc
No. Title Writer(s) Album Length
1. "Seasons in the Sun" Jacques Brel, Rod McKuen Westlife 4:06
2. "Fool Again" Jörgen Elofsson, David Kreuger, Per Magnusson Westlife 3:53
3. "What Makes a Man" Wayne Hector, Steve Mac Coast to Coast 3:51
4. "When You're Looking Like That" (Single Remix) Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson, Rami Yacoub World of Our Own 3:52
5. "Bop Bop Baby" (Single Remix) Shane Filan, Brian McFadden, Chris O'Brien, Graham Murphy World of Our Own 4:27
6. "Unbreakable" (Single Remix) Elofsson, John Reid Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Volume 1 4:32
7. "Hey Whatever" Hector, Mac, Ken Papenfus, Carl Papenfus Turnaround 3:26
8. "Obvious" Carlsson, Pilot, Savan Kotecha Turnaround 3:29
9. "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (with Diana Ross) John Bettis, Albert Hammond Face to Face 3:55
10. "Amazing" Kotecha, Kristian Lundin, Pilot, Jake Schulze Face to Face 2:49
11. "The Rose" Amanda McBroom The Love Album 3:38
12. "Us Against the World" Arnthor Birgisson, Kotecha, Yacoub Back Home 3:59
13. "What About Now" (Live from The O2) Ben Moody, David Hodges, Josh Hartzler Where We Are Tour: Live from The O2 4:15
14. "Uptown Girl" (Live from The O2) Billy Joel Where We Are Tour: Live from The O2 3:59
15. "Mandy" (Live from The O2) Scott English, Richard Kerr Where We Are Tour: Live from The O2 3:50
16. "Home" (Live from The O2) Michael Bublé, Alan Chang, Amy Foster-Gillies Where We Are Tour: Live from The O2 3:41
17. "Flying Without Wings" (Recorded Live At BBC Proms In the Park 2011) Hector, Mac Previously unreleased 4:29
18. "You Raise Me Up" (Recorded Live At BBC Proms In the Park 2011 with Fionnuala Sherry) Brendan Graham, Rolf Løvland Previously unreleased 4:51

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[36] 64
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[37] 75
Irish Albums (IRMA) 1
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[38] 75
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[39] 17
Norwegian Albums VG-lista)[36] 31
Scottish Albums (OCC)[40] 3
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[41] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[36] 46
Swiss Albums (Swiss Hitparade)[36] 96
Taiwan Albums (G-Music)[42] 1
UK Albums (OCC) 4


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Ireland (IRMA)[43] 3× Platinum 45,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] 2× Platinum 600,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Main release[edit]

Country / Region Date Format Label
Austria[45] 18 November 2011 CD, digital download Sony Music, RCA Records
Bulgaria[54] 21 November 2011
Czech Republic[56]
Hong Kong[63]
South Africa[71]
United Kingdom[72]
Italy[73] 22 November 2011
Australia[79] 25 November 2011
New Zealand[80] 28 November 2011
Philippines 29 November 2011
Japan [81] 6 December 2011

Import release[edit]

Country / Region Date Format Label
Canada[82] 29 November 2011 CD, Digital download RCA Records,
Sony Music
United States[85] 27 December 2011


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