Each volume of Excelsior's Rock On series provides an extremely arbitrary snapshot of the year that's being covered. Only 12 songs are on each disc, meaning that a good amount of space goes to waste, and there's little in the way of stylistic focus. Needless to say, these hastily patched-together budget-line discs shouldn't be considered suitable documentations for the years they are covering. Rock On: 1981 includes Blondie's "Rapture," April Wine's "Just Between You and Me," Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts," Little River Band's "Night Owls," Pat Benatar's "Fire and Ice," Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You," Terri Gibbs' "Somebody's Knockin'," and J. Geils Band's "Centerfold."
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman