Various Artists

Class Reunion: The Greatest Hits of 1981

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This snapshot from 1981, courtesy of the Rebound label, goes a bit heavier on R&B-leaning hits from the year in question. The sultry "Slow Hand" was not only a Top Three single for the Pointer Sisters, but one of their career-defining tracks. There's also the smooth "Being With You," which became the biggest solo hit for Smokey Robinson. The year was a crossroad for Lionel Richie, who appears with the Commodores on the spry "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" (one of the last Top Ten singles for the group with him as a member) and as Diana Ross' duet partner on the monster smash "Endless Love," which helped push him toward his eventual solo career. It's one of three chart-topping songs included, the others being Hall & Oates' punchy "Kiss on My List" and Air Supply's saccharine ballad "The One That You Love." Listeners get a hint of what more rock-oriented fans were buying in 1981 with .38 Special's "Hold on Loosely" and the Moody Blues' comeback hit, "Gemini Dream" (the group's most successful radio track in nearly a decade). And there's still room for Rick James' massive-selling "Super Freak," which would perhaps be even more inescapable as sampled by MC Hammer on "U Can't Touch This" later in the decade.

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