Although it's nigh impossible to clearly portray the pop music of a decade on a ten-track disc, Billboard #1 Hits of the '80s does a fair job by compiling ten of the most representative chart-toppers. The disc is heaviest on ballads, opening with Christopher Cross' "Sailing" and including three other big hits along the same lines (Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years," Debbie Gibson's "Lost in Your Eyes"). Much of the balance consists of throwback pop, with Toni Basil reconfiguring girl group pop for "Mickey," Yes doing the same to prog for "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and Los Lobos looking back to the rock & roll era with Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba." In the end, Billboard #1 Hits of the '80s functions better as a way to pick up a few songs than survey the 1980s in total.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush