In addition to being the compilation producer, Howard Smiley is credited for "Album & Design Concept" on this budget album, but it's hard to see what the album concept is, beyond that indicated in the title. Sure enough, here are a bunch of soul hits of the 1970s, recordings originally released on the De-Lite, Mercury, MGM, Motown, Polydor, Tamla, and 20th Century labels, the catalogs of which were controlled by PolyGram as of 1997. Every track made the R&B Top 20, with three hitting number one and three going gold. All also were crossover successes, reaching the pop Top 20. Some choices are obvious: Lou Rawls spent only a short time on MGM Records, and "A Natural Man" was his only Top 40 hit for the label; Jerry Butler's "Ain't Misunderstanding Mellow" (which is usually co-credited to Brenda Lee Eager) was his biggest pop hit of the '70s; Johnny Bristol's "Hang on in There Baby" was his biggest hit. With other artists -- Barry White, Eddie Kendricks, Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson -- the chosen song was one of many '70s hits. The album demonstrates that the PolyGram vaults contain a large collection of the most important soul music of the decade, from Motown to the hits of James Brown, and this compilation provides only a sampling of it.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann