Various Artists

Hits of the 80's [Play 24-7]

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From the Play 24-7 label comes Hits of the 80's, a three-disc collection of alternate recordings and live cuts from a seemingly random assortment of the decade's hitmakers. Aside from offering none of the original studio recordings, there are some classic songs here. The live version of Night Ranger's classic power ballad "Sister Christian" fares pretty well, as does Big Country's "In a Big Country," but does a live version of Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic "What's Going On" really qualify as an '80s hit? Similarly, "Toyboy" by British singer Sinitta was only a hit in the U.K. and is relatively unknown elsewhere, though it too finds a place here alongside not one, but three Howard Jones cuts. Hits of the 80's is an uneven and slightly awkward collection, but it does offer a decent chunk of the era's pop songs in versions you're unlikely to hear elsewhere.

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