Saturday, May 27, 2017

"What About Me" by Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes & James Ingram

Song#:  2052
Date:  09/15/1984
Debut: 60
Peak:  15
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Rogers' 1983 album Eyes That See in the Dark was a double platinum hit thanks to songwriter/producer Barry Gibb and a little #1 smash called "Islands in the Stream." For his follow-up LP, Rogers enlisted the help of producer David Foster, who was having great success with several artists at the time, especially Chicago. Rogers would co-produce the album What About Me? with Foster and this title-track song would be the first single issued. The tune was a bit unusual because it featured a trio of hit solo artists. On board with Rogers was Kim Carnes ("Bette Davis Eyes") and James Ingram ("Just Once"). The star trio certainly attracted the AC crowd and it became a #1 hit on that chart. It also did well at Pop getting near the Top 10. The pop-oriented song wasn't as crossover friendly as some of Rogers' other songs, so it stalled early at Country at #70. Without a mega hit the size of "Islands," the album didn't do quite as well, but it would still be another platinum seller for Rogers.

ReduxReview:  I think the draw here was the trio of stars. It turned the song into more of an event piece rather than just a typical single. It's a very good AC song with solid production from Foster and the trio sounds great together. Sometimes these collaborations can be car wrecks, but this one worked out quite well. I think its hit status at AC certainly helped it on the Pop chart. This more adult-oriented song was not really what the kids were into at the time, so the #15 peak was both surprising and welcome.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Rogers and Foster co-wrote this song with an up-and-coming singer/songwriter named Richard Marx. Marx would also co-write two other songs for the album. He would launch a highly successful solo career of his own later in 1987.  2) Carnes and Ingram were not the first pair of singers considered for the trio with Rogers. If fact, they were the third pair of singers offered the gig. Initially, the song was intended to be recorded by Rogers, Lionel Richie, and Barbra Streisand. Unfortunately, Richie decided not to do the song and in-turn Streisand dropped out. Next up were Jeffery Osborne and Olivia Newton-John, but scheduling conflicts and other projects got in the way and both singers had to decline. This then allowed Carnes and Ingram to jump in on the song. Rogers had a history with Carnes via their time together in the folk group The New Christy Minstrels and the hit duet "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer" (#4, 1980).


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