Various Artists

70 Number One Hits of the 70s, Vol. 6

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This is the sixth of six volumes of a set which, taken together, actually does add up to 70 tracks that were number one singles during the 1970s. The simple fact that the series lives up to its title, in total and in each individual volume, is more remarkable than you might think; there are albums out there with the phrase "number one hits" in their names that contain only a few actual chart-toppers. Justifying the title, though, is the best the series does. Otherwise, it is a randomly sequenced collection of often stylistically disparate recordings, with no annotations. Each volume has been produced in association with one of the major labels, and this one is the PolyGram one. PolyGram's labels didn't actually have that many number one hits during the '70s, but since then the conglomerate has acquired companies that did, and as a result this collection is heavy on tracks originally issued by Motown and A&M, which were independent labels at the time, along with Mercury, 20th Century, and Casablanca, which were part of PolyGram or came under its hegemony during the period. (There's nothing from RSO, which had many chart-toppers, however.) The result is a large complement of R&B/soul performers, including Barry White, the Commodores, the Jackson 5, Donna Summer, and the Temptations. That still leaves room for various styles, however. The Commodores and the Temptations, for example, are represented by two of their softest ballads, while Summer's "Hot Stuff" is a late-period disco hit that has a strong rock flavor. And the other performers stretch the range of music even further, from Bachman Turner Overdrive's hard rock to Sammy Davis, Jr.'s easy listening movie hit "The Candy Man." There is something here to please, and to put off, any '70s music fan.

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