Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Automatic" by The Pointer Sisters

Top 10 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  1769
Date:  01/28/1984
Debut:  82
Peak:  5
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Synthpop, R&B

Pop Bits:  The initial reception of the Sisters' album Break Out was not stellar. The LP's first single, "I Need You," did fine at R&B (#13) and AC (#15), but it stalled at a lowly #48 at Pop. Typically, the first single sets the tone for the album and how it will fare on the chart and in sales. With this song not hitting at Pop, prospects for the LP seemed dim. Luckily, savvy Pop stations and dance club DJs took it upon themselves to start spinning "Automatic" and it started to get traction. With the song already getting attention, the trio's label went ahead and issued it as a single. It was a smart thing to do and soon the Sisters had their fourth Pop Top 10. It would do even better at R&B and Dance getting to #2 on both charts. The hit completely turned the album around and sales began to increase. Yet that was far from the end of the story as the Sisters would now move into the most popular period of their career.

ReduxReview:  Once producer Richard Perry's crappy choice for a first single was done, the way was now clear for the Sisters to issue what should have been released in the first place. Luckily, radio programmers and DJs were already on top of this song so it had a good head start. Ruth Pointer's voice was certainly an attraction on this delicious slice of synthpop. Although the production sounds a bit slight and overly 80s now, the song still holds up well.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shots!  1) Apparently, this was the last song chosen for the album. On a break from recording, the trio was listening to some demo tapes when they happened upon this song. Written by Brock Walsh and Mark Goldenberg, the Sisters all agreed that they wanted to do this song. Ruth Pointer's deep contralto was perfect to head up this tune and it became her first lead vocal single to reach the Pop Top 40.  2) This song won the trio a Grammy for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.


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