The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company has pacted with the EMI reissue division The Right Stuff to release a series of various-artists CDs meant to reflect Harley-Davidson's corporate philosophy, which seems to boil down to a desire to get out on the open road on a bike. The first six discs were devoted to country and "road" songs, and they were successful enough to sell over one million copies between them. This is the seventh in the series, and it is given over to different types of hard rock, much of it dating from the 1970s (Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Miller Band, Ted Nugent, Blue Öyster Cult, Bad Company, Jethro Tull), though there are some selections from the '80s (Judas Priest, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Billy Idol) and the late-'90s and early 21st century (Nickelback, Creed, Everclear, the Vines, Jane's Addiction). Classic rock evergreens like "Smoke on the Water," "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," and "Bad Company" dominate, making this feel like 73-plus-minutes excerpted from your local classic rock radio station, minus the commercials and station identification. The Right Stuff is to be commended for licensing half the tracks from other labels and not just relying on the EMI vaults. Most of this material is overly familiar to rock fans, but the middle-aged demographic for Harley-Davidson should feel right at home.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann