Various Artists

Monster '80-'81 Hits

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The budget-priced Monster Hits series from the Platinum Disc Corporation is manufactured by Sony Music Special Products and presents tracks from the Sony catalog. This two-disc set, also available as part of three-disc box set with material from 1982, includes singles originally released on Columbia, Epic, Full Moon, and Bang that were in the pop charts in 1980 and 1981. Columbia and Epic scored plenty of Top Ten pop hits in those years, but most of them, the ones by major artists such as Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney & Wings, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and Journey, don't seem to be available for this sort of collection. (Major artists tend to be choosy about where their songs are used, and they tend to have more contractual control, too.) Thus, the compilers have had to rely on mostly secondary hits by mostly secondary artists. Every track here hit the Top 40 (sometimes just barely), with one, REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You," a chart-topping platinum record. Four others ("I'm Alright," "Shining Star," "Longer," and "Hard to Say") hit the Top Ten. The music is mostly pop/rock or pop crossover, the latter including country star Rosanne Cash's sole pop chart entry "Seven Year Ache" and jazz duo Stanley Clarke and George Duke's only hit single, the soul ballad "Sweet Baby." Only a fragment of the pop music of the early '80s is found on these discs, but there is some excellent soft rock from the period at a discount price.

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