An enduring club staple, with a post-disco groove just killer (and off-kilter) enough to sell the silly African voyage of the lyrics ("Take a caravan/ across the Sudan/ Saharan facade/ Is just a mirage") -- you'll sing along with just about anything waiting for that super-cold bass-popping hook to come back around. Penned by Dexter Wansel, "Nights Over Egypt" missed the Hot 100 upon its original 1981 release, but stands as by far the group's most-streamed song on Spotify today -- and one of the most inscrutably charming (if dated) escapist fantasies of its era. -- A.U.
34. The Ebonys, "It's Forever" (The Ebonys, 1971)
A molasses-slow devotional, you'd be forgiven for suspecting that seven-plus minutes of "It's Forever" might feel as interminable as the eternity it promises. But thanks to the group's rewarding baritone-and-falsetto interplay, and the pillowy arrangement from Bobby Martin, the song holds your interest just long enough to get you to that closing two-minute climax of "justgottamakeyaallmine" vocal insistence -- which R&B fans of a later generation will likely recognize as the sonic foundation of Trey Songz's debut single. -- A.U.
33. Billy Paul, "East" (Going East, 1971)
When it was the 1971st Arabian night, Shahrazad continued: "I have heard, o fortunate king, that when the genre-flaunting Billy Paul arrived at PIR at the dawn of the '70s, his sound was a far cry from the smooth-as-ointment 'Me And Mrs. Jones' which would soon earn this Son of Philadelphia fame across the lands. Instead, the melodious troubadour melded the spices of the Middle East, the soul and sweet strings of Brotherly Love and the jazz of his dew-dipped youth for delectable entrees such as "East," a wind-whipped, six-and-a-half-minute carpet ride that proved pleasing to the ears of his label viziers, but did not yet earn him Gold." -- J. Lynch
32. Phyllis Hyman, "Meet Me on the Moon" (Prime of My Life, 1991)
It's all about one note, mostly: Five minutes into this pinnacle cut from R&B great Phyllis Hyman's second album on Philadelphia International, she stretches the word "Meet" out for around seven impossibly smooth seconds, a spellbinding display of vocal control as the contralto pleads for her love to meet her in outer space. The song isn't explicitly sad, but the note that Hyman strikes feels unmistakably melancholy -- like she's begging to escape to the stars not merely as a flight of fancy, but because the situation on this planet has become untenable. -- A.U.
31. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, "Don't Leave Me This Way" (Wake Up Everybody, 1975)