JUST recently, so many greatest hits albums have been amassing in the wings that I was starting to wonder whether Christmas had been brought forward by some dastardly decree.

Having said that, I've actually been quite enjoying myself burrowing teeth-first through a packet of Hob-Nobs while considering the selected highlights of the great, the good, the indifferent and the balding, starting with seminal UK rocker Marty Wilde.

Kim's dad is currently celebrating an astonishing 50 years in showbusiness, and Born To Rock N'Roll cherry-picks 25 tracks which lay a pretty convincing claim to his pre-eminence in the bedrock of British pop. Cooler by some distance than peers such as Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele - if not Billy Fury and Vince Taylor - Marty had a swagger about him that invested, for example, his cover of Jody Reynolds' Endless Sleep with an air of impassioned authenticity.

Nevertheless, 1959's wonderful Bad Boy - one of Wilde's earliest self-penned songs - is hilariously polite and deeply British, despite the braggadocio in the lyrics. Marty's mild and apologetic vocal sounds like the work of a man suffering from acute memory loss who has just been woken up and led straight to a microphone. The lead guitar lines meanwhile, presumably essayed by the great Big Jim Sullivan, are sprinkly and tentative, as though Big Jim wandered into the studio by mistake and rather worryingly found himself standing next to a man in his pyjamas suffering from acute memory loss.

It's still great though, and there is much else to recommend on here - Sea Of Love, which starts with the kind of layered harp arpeggios that would herald a "let's go back to your childhood" sequence in a cheap 1950s movie, and a torrid reading of Frankie Laine's Jezebel, which was written by Wayne Shankin - a name just begging to be Spoonerised.

Come 1968, Wilde blossomed as a chart-friendly songwriter, co-writing the serviceably chummy Abergavenny and the deathlessly beautiful Jesamine, bequeathed to The Casuals that same year but represented here by a respectful live recording from 2004. Now if only Ice In The Sun was also on the album...

None of the other greatest hits collections on this page have brought me nearly as much pleasure as Marty's, but I quite enjoyed not enjoying them as much, if you see what I mean. Bonnie Tyler sounds like Madge from Neighbours eating her way through a trough filled with aggregate throughout From The Heart, but this is often rather endearing. Blimey, can it really be 31 years ago that Lost In France came out?

And do women have hamstrings? Seriously, I don't know - but Bonnie sure pulls every last one on Holding Out For A Hero. By the last chorus, mine had burst in sympathy. Get me drunk enough and I'll admit to dearly loving A Rockin' Good Way, her duet with Shakin' Stevens, which will be the very monument in the middle of the town square should you ever find yourself pulling into Naffville.

Elton John, meanwhile, is effectively royalty in Britain now - except held in far higher regard, as I discovered to my cost. I made the grievous error of dissing him somewhat in a previous article, for which I was taken to the tower and beheaded.

I didn't think I liked his music at all, but I was surprised at how agreeable in the main Rocket Man was. The earlier material is best, of course - the title track, Tiny Dancer, Daniel - and I keep scanning YouTube in the vain hope that someone will post that scarcely believable clip of Elton, circa 1971, duetting with a finger-popping Bruce Forsyth on Your Song. Did I dream that, or did it really happen?

Finally, and not really a greatest hits situation, the OMD revival would appear to be well and truly upon us, with an expanded reissue (and simultaneous DVD) of Architecture And Morality, originally released in 1981 at the height of the band's popularity.

It's easy to forget now just how big they were in the wake of Enola Gay, but - briefly - they were massive. My pal Jonsa and I inadvertently saw them in the Glasgow Apollo one night when John Martyn, who we had originally travelled up to see in the city halls, was sold-out.

We were allocated the last two seats in the top balcony - about six miles from the stage - and everyone in the place was doing that 1980s dance that Andy McCluskey patented. When I turned round, Jonsa was doing it as well, in his duffle coat with the hood up, and he kept backing into the wall against which was propped a ladder, which kept falling on to him.

One feels that this surreal image would have appealed to OMD, who were always a bit more intelligent than your average chart wallahs, what with their fondness for Kraftwerk and Neu! and what-have-you. Their music hasn't worn too badly, surprisingly, even if the synths often sound like the implacable chewing of a thousand rabbits. Maid Of Orleans still boasts a robust and dignified melody, for example - but I can't believe I never noticed at the time how dodgy and approximate the vocals on so many synth-pop songs were. That stentorian 1980s bellowing style covered a multitude of sins...