The Envelope Please...Academy Award Winning Songs, Vol. 4 (1970-1981) doesn't have as many great songs as the previous three volumes, or songs that became classics of their era, largely because the Academy never came to terms with rock & roll. There are a few exceptions, such as Isaac Hayes' immortal "Theme from Shaft," but for the most part, they favored middle-of-the-road pop. Of course, there is some good MOR pop here -- Vikki Carr's "For All We Know," Maureen McGovern's "We May Never Love Like This Again," Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy," Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" and Christopher Cross' "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" -- but none of them match the highlights from the first three volumes. Also, Rhino couldn't get licensing for some hits, which means "The Way We Were" is sung by Shirley Bassey, not Barbra Streisand, and "Fame" is by Erica Gimpel, not Irene Cara. Although such subsititutions are understandable, they're irritating and devalue the collection's worth as a historical document and as a nostalgia piece.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine