Various Artists

Sounds of the Seventies: '70s Dance Party 1975-1976

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Time-Life Music's compilations tend to be assembled from the biggest hits licensed from the major labels, and this one, covering a two-year period in the "Dance Party" portion of the Sounds of the Seventies series, is typical. Every one of the 18 tracks was a Top Ten pop hit on at least one of the national charts, and most of them were leased from one or another of the majors (even if the original records were independent releases later acquired by a major). Such compilations often have trouble leasing tracks by the most important artists, but the dance field attracts a lot of short-term stars, so that hasn't been as much of a problem here, though the omission of the Bee Gees is notable. The tracks are not in chronological order, and no artist is given more than one track (although the Four Seasons and their lead singer, Frankie Valli, are considered separate acts and each has a selection), which means that several dance hits of the period are necessarily absent. (KC & the Sunshine Band, for example, are represented by "Get Down Tonight," so "That's the Way [I Like It]" is missing; since the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster" is included, "Fire" is not, etc.) The same restriction is not applied to writers and producers, however. There are two songs written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, among the top songwriters of the era. All of this is to say that the album is not a comprehensive collection of the popular dance music of 1975-1976, but it hardly could have been at its length. By the mid-'70s, with disco on the rise, dance music was dominating the radio, and there were far more dance hits in this 24-month period than could be encompassed on a single CD, which may be why the next volume in the series overlaps this one, covering 1976-1977.

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