Various Artists

WCBS FM 101.1 25th Anniversary, Vol. 3: The 70's - Silver Anniversary Edition

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Befitting a collection issued under the sponsorship of an oldies radio station, this 21-track compilation is both foolproof and utterly predictable. There are certain songs that seem to turn up over and over on compilations (they must be available for licensing cheap), songs like KC & the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way I Like It," Pilot's "Magic," Rod Stewart's "Maggie May," Looking Glass' "Brandy," and the Hollies' "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress." Of course, they're all here. But these are all dependable hits, the kind that you hear continually on oldies radio. Seventeen out of 21 were gold or platinum records, and 14 hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. They tend to mark significant events in their creators' careers: seven were the artists' first hits and 12 were the biggest hits they ever had. Neil Sedaka's "Laughter in the Rain" was his first chart entry in almost nine years, sparking his '70s comeback. The musical styles range from Don McLean's singer/songwriter epic "American Pie" to Vicki Sue Robinson's disco standard "Turn the Beat Around," with plenty of pure pop in between, much of it by one-hit wonders like Redbone, though several big names are also included. Of course, a 21-track album can't provide a definitive look at a decade in pop music, but it can be representative, and this one is. Yet it is likely that if you didn't hear these songs often enough in the '70s to get sick of them, you probably have since on stations like New York's WCBS-FM. (Note that this identical album has also been issued by Collectables as The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 70s and as Oldies 103 FM WODS Boston: The 70s Tenth Anniversary Album.)

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