Basically, this "greatest hits of all" is simply that: the highest-charting tracks in George Benson
's long career -- highest-charting pop and adult contemporary tracks, that is. Benson
had been on the scene over a decade before signing with Warner Bros., and many of his jukebox and R&B hits were recorded for Creed Taylor
's CTI label. Some of Benson
's recorded work that held those hits has been reissued in the past two years. Of the Warner material, they have gauged success by chart placement -- not sales, not radio play, not artist choice. Therefore, while the stellar tracks from Breezin'
, namely "This Masquerade," which charted at number one on pop and R&B in Billboard, and its follow-up, the album's title track, kick the album off along with "On Broadway" and "The Greatest Love of All." But there are many stops along the way to the present from that 1976 issue, such as Benson
's singularly beautiful read of "Unchained Melody," "Never Give Up on a Good Thing," and his duet with Aretha Franklin
, which stormed through the radios of literally millions of lovers, "Love All the Hurt Away." Benson
's streak is remarkable in that he consistently recorded tracks of similar weight, length, and dynamic with essentially the same timeless production that took him to the top in the first place. Thus, cuts such as "I Just Wanna Hang Around You," "Kisses in the Moonlight," "Never Give Up on a Good Thing," "Shiver," "Love X Love," and "Let's Do It Again," while being very different songs, come across in exactly the same way. The formula is a winning one even today. The Greatest Hits of All
may not truly have Benson
's great material, but the album does tell a story of one man's ability to consistently conquer the charts for a long period of time. And that, in this day and age, is an accomplishment realized by few. Benson
virtually defined the quiet storm format with his slick, sheeny, lights-down-low approach to recording, and as this collection evidences, this made him an enduring artist. For those who dig the Warner material, this is the collection to have.