Various Artists

Class Reunion 1974: The Greatest Hits of 1974

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No, this discount-priced compilation of recordings from the PolyGram vaults (initially released on A&M, Capricorn, De-Lite, MGM, Mango, Mercury, Motown, Polydor, and Tamla) does not contain the greatest hits of 1974 by any statistical measure. Not even close. It does contain some big hits from that year, notably the gold, #1 records "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, "The Night Chicago Died," by Paper Lace, and "Nothing from Nothing," by Billy Preston, as well as the gold-selling "Hollywood Swinging," by Kool & the Gang. ("The Night Chicago Died" and "Hollywood Swinging" are included only on the CD version of the album; the cassette version has only ten tracks.) It also features some less-successful chart entries of 1974, along with a couple of ringers. The Allman Brothers Band's "Ramblin' Man" was released and became a hit in 1973, not 1974. And Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" derives from the soundtrack to the 1972 film The Harder They Come that first began to attract U.S. notice in 1973. So, this is hardly a perfect collection of 1974's most popular music. But it does suggest some of the popular trends in music during the mid-1970s, particularly Southern rock, as practiced by the Allmans, Wet Willie, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and the emerging disco style, as represented by the last three cuts, Gloria Gaynor's "Never Can Say Goodbye" (presented in a six-minute-plus edit, not the 2:55 single version), the Jackson 5's "Dancing Machine," and "Hollywood Swinging."

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