Various Artists

Singers & Songwriters 1979-1989

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Time-Life Music's mail-order series Singers and Songwriters came to a logical conclusion with its title devoted to music of the late '70s and '80s. The impetus for the series was the singer/songwriter movement of the early '70s, although successive volumes delved back into the '60s and forward into the '80s. And though the songs had, more often than not, been written by the artists performing them, the criteria for selection really expanded to all of the soft rock of the era, as long as the tracks themselves had been pop hits. By the late '70s, singer/songwriter music was on the wane, but there were still plenty of soft rock hits in the charts, and the listener here is treated to a variety of music, from heirs to the singer/songwriter tradition such as Suzanne Vega ("Luka") and Rickie Lee Jones ("Chuck E.'s in Love") to hard rock stars taking it easy, such as Eric Clapton with "I've Got a Rock 'n' Roll Heart" and Foreigner with "I Want to Know What Love Is"; plenty of mainstream pop/rock stars like Dire Straits ("Walk of Life"), Fleetwood Mac ("Little Lies"), and Phil Collins ("In the Air Tonight"); and even country performers like Ronnie Milsap ("[There's] No Gettin' Over Me") and Willie Nelson ("Always on My Mind"); the album is filled out with pop singers like Robbie Dupree ("Steal Away"), Rupert Holmes ("Him"), and Bertie Higgins ("Key Largo"). Every one made at least the Top 20 on the pop charts. The idea, of course, is to trigger memories for those who had their radios tuned to adult contemporary stations in those days, those days actually being the early '80s, for the most part. [Despite the title, the album contains tracks dating no later than 1987, and only a couple of those.]

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