Monday, August 31, 2015

"Solitaire" by Laura Branigan

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1387
Date:  03/19/1983
Debut:  65
Peak:  7
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Europop, Dance

Pop Bits:  Branigan's debut album contained what would become her biggest hit, the #2 Euro-disco remake "Gloria." While that single was still on the chart, Branigan went back to the studio to prep a follow-up album. "Branigan 2" would also dip into the European chart pool with Branigan remaking songs such as Falco's "Der Kommissar" (as "Deep in the Dark") and this tune, which ended up being chosen as the LP's first single. The formula worked again for her and the song rose into the Top 10 (#16 AC, #28 dance). The album would be her second gold seller reaching #24.

ReduxReview:  When this song first came out, I was kind of blown away. I thought it had "Gloria" beat by a mile. There was a terrific urgency in both the writing and arrangement that really grabbed me. The song just builds and builds until the bridge totally explodes. And, of course, Branigan just sings the shit out of it. How her performance escaped getting a Grammy nod is beyond me. I will say it is my favorite Branigan song. However, in the long run I do recognize that "Gloria" is the true pop classic. But that doesn't mean I can't give this song a lotta love (and sing/dance like a total idiot when it comes on).

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song written and performed by French artist Martine ClĂ©menceau. Her original 1981 version would hit #50 on the French pop chart. The song's lyrics were a bit dark and focused on a person trying to get away and hide from a world that was on the brink of nuclear war. Branigan's English version steered away from the premise and into relationship territory. The new lyrics came courtesy of an upstart songwriter named Diane Warren. She had been working with Branigan's producer, Jack White. He tasked Warren with the job of writing English lyrics for the song. It became Warren's first major hit. She would go on to write many major hits, win a Grammy, and receive seven Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. 2) The last note Branigan belts in the song is a doozy. It came close to setting a world record. For hit songs, the longest sustained note held by a female singer on record was performed by Donna Summer on her 1979 hit "Dim All The Lights." She holds a note for about 16 seconds. Branigan's last note on this song clocked in only 2 seconds shorter.



  1. I agree 99% with your analysis of this pop classic (it's not 100% because I think you should have given it the 10 that "Gloria" got). Ms. Branigan had an excellent voice, but what she did with it made it extraordinary. Always being a disco aficionado (by this time, it was annoyingly redubbed "dance"), her upbeat numbers were always my favorites. I did, however, even appreciate her ballads. There is absolutely no comparison between her and Michael Bolton's versions of "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You." One side note - Ms. Summer's "Dim All The Lights" came out in 1979, not 1977.

    1. Thanks for the correction! Yes, "How Am I" by Branigan is way better than Bolton's (and he even co-wrote it!). I forgot to mention above also that Branigan ended up covering "Dim All the Lights" in 1995. It reached #35 on the dance chart. I saw Branigan in concert back in '84. She was just as good live. Oddly, I kind of get sad when I listen to her music. She died way too young (2004 at age 52). Lots of artist pass away, but for some reason I get a bit sad thinking about Branigan. She had more to offer. The other artist whose death affected me was Kirsty MacColl. Again, an artist who had so much more to give but their life was cut short.