Various Artists

Hard Rock Essentials: 1980s

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For listeners with little more than a passing interest in the subject, Hard Rock Essentials: 80's is a well-compiled, budget-priced collection of hair metal-era hits that evokes just the right note of nostalgia without giving in to the excesses demanded by a more exhaustive overview. Few records evoke their time and place quite as succinctly as period hits like Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55," and Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' for You," but the inclusion of .38 Special's dreadful "Hold on Loosely" is truly painful.

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