Thursday, May 12, 2016

"How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye" by Dionne Warwick and Luther Vandross

Song#:  1646
Date:  10/08/1983
Debut: 79
Peak:  27
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, R&B

Pop Bits:  With the help of songwriter/producer Barry Gibb, Warwick had one of her biggest later-career albums with 1982's Heartbreaker. It went gold thanks to the #10 showing of the title track (#1 AC/#14 R&B). For her follow-up, Warwick chose to work with another artist who kept busy writing and producing for others. Luther Vandross' career was on the rise and while he was working on his third solo album, he also contributed material and produced Warwick's LP How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye. This first title-track single (which was not written by Vandross) was issued and became a hit at AC (#4) and R&B (#7). Pop radio was not quite as receptive to the mature ballad and it stalled just inside the Top 30. Despite solid reviews, the lack of a major crossover hit left the album flailing on the chart topping out at #57.

ReduxReview:  I always thought this was a lovely ballad and that the Warwick/Vandross combo worked so well. Both put in some terrific vocal work and took the tune to another level. It may have just been a bit too AC-leaning to really capture the fickle 80s Pop audience. I'm glad R&B and AC gave the song some love. I think it is probably Warwick's best 80s ballad that got pushed out as a single.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In addition to appearing on Warwick's album, the duet was included on Vandross' Busy Body LP that was release a couple months later. That album would go platinum on the strength of two Top 10 R&B hits - "I'll Let You Slide" (#9) and the medley "Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" (#5).  2) One song that Vandross wrote for Warwick's album was titled "So Amazing." He would end up recording his own version of the song for his 1986 double-platinum album Give Me the Reason. The song would be issued as the LP's fifth single, but it could only manage a #94 showing on the R&B chart. It did better in the UK where it got to #33.


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