The mail-order collection Rock of the Seventies is a five-CD set consisting of 60 recordings from the 1970s, all but two of which were chart singles, 44 of them Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. At a running time just short of three hours and 50 minutes, the tracks could have been squeezed into three CDs instead of being stretched across five, a fact potential buyers should keep in mind when considering the release price of about 50 dollars. There are no annotations, and the selection is the usual assortment of major hits by minor acts that tends to be available for licensing. Of the decade's top 25 singles artists in the estimation of chart researcher Joel Whitburn, the only one represented is Linda Ronstadt, with her biggest hit "You're No Good." More typical inclusions are one-hit wonders like Blues Image, Climax, and the Pipkins. The word "rock" in the title should be interpreted broadly; especially on the last two discs, their tracks leased from Celebrity Licensing, there is a lot of light pop by teen idols such as John Travolta and David Soul, along with disco. Among the minor anomalies, the version of Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever" is a live one, not the studio hit, while REO Speedwagon's "Ridin' the Storm Out" is a studio recording, not the live singles chart version. The two non-chart selections are Little Feat's "Oh Atlanta," which was released as a single, and the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll," which wasn't. No self-respecting rock critic could object to their inclusion, and in fact the set would have benefited by more of the same. The nearly random sequencing may sometimes disturb those who actually remember the years when these songs came out, but people who know the music from oldies radio won't mind.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann