Monday, May 1, 2017

"Strut" by Sheena Easton

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2028
Date:  08/25/1984
Debut:  75
Peak:  7
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Easton's career needed a boost after her third album. Her singles were stuck in ballad mode and she'd gone two years without a solo Top 10 hit. Her fourth LP Best Kept Secret gained a little ground when its synthpop first single "Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)" went Top 10. However, despite the hit, the album missed the gold mark and it left Easton at a career crossroads of sorts. Her next move would be crucial and luckily what she chose to do pretty much defined her image for the balance of the decade. For her next album, A Private Heaven, she decided to break out of her sweet, singer-next-door image and go for something more sleek and sexy. With producer Greg Mathieson (who helmed Best Kept Secret), Easton punched up her sound and grabbed some songs that allowed her to be bolder and more flirtatious - in perhaps a not-so-innocent way. This first horn-laden single announced her new direction. It took a while for the song to catch on, but with the aid of a popular MTV video, the song soon found its way into the Pop Top 10 and #6 Dance. The hit also earned Easton a Grammy nod for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

ReduxReview:  Let's face it. Prior to this song Easton's career was nearly on the ropes. Yeah, "Telefone" was a hit, but it didn't really make her progress as an artist or make her a bigger star. Had she continued with the ballads and cute little synthpop tunes, I think her charting career would have been over. I truly think she felt that as well and her next move ended up being a brilliant one. This song was a definite departure in sound and image and it was exactly what she needed. With one song, she went from a sweet, Scottish lass singing innocent pop tunes to a sexy siren with a wink-wink naughty side. Easton 2.0 was bold and independent and it drew in a new set of listeners. This first single was a perfect introduction and it made a lot of folks think differently about Easton. I loved this song and still do. It's a well-written song that features top-notch production and a standout vocal by Easton. It still sounds great today.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Charlie Dore and Julian Littman. Dore had her own brief moment in the Pop spotlight earlier in 1980 when her song "Pilot of the Airwaves" made it to #13. She wasn't able to follow up that song and decided to move on to acting. But the pull of music was still there and she continued to write songs, several of which ended up being recorded by other artists. Her first major success came when Easton picked up "Strut." That opened the door for her and before long other artists came calling. Tina Turner, Celine Dion, and George Harrison are a few of the major artists that have recorded Dore's songs.


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