Sony Special Products' Hits Of series follows a pretty set script. The discs are short at only ten tracks and contain a mix of big hits, middling hits, and totally forgotten songs by pretty well-known artists. It is a unique strategy that brings some interesting songs to light and makes for good listening. The big hits on Hits of 1981 are REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You" and Santana's "Winning." The rest of the disc is a mix of soft rock gems like Randy Meisner's "Hearts on Fire," smooth soul from Luther Vandross ("Never Too Much") and Champaign ("How 'Bout Us"), and fusion from Stanley Clarke ("Sweet Baby"). One wishes the disc were longer to take more advantage of the curious song selections. As it is, the short running time makes the disc hard to recommend to anyone but the most devoted '80s fans.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra