Thursday, November 29, 2018

"I'd Do It All Again" by Sam Harris

Song#:  2603
Date:  02/01/1986
Debut:  94
Peak:  52
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  The original Star Search vocalist winner Sam Harris grabbed a Top 40 entry with "Sugar Don't Bite," a single from his self-titled debut album. The song and the publicity boost from Star Search helped the album go gold. Harris then had the task of trying to follow it up and seeing he could maintain a career a bit longer than the 15-minutes the show afforded him. His next LP, Sam-I-Am, found Harris taking a bit more control and sitting in the producer's chair on a few tracks including this first single. Unfortunately, the song didn't have the strength to carry Harris after the Star Search shine wore off and it stopped nearly halfway up the chart. It did a little better at Dance getting to #31. It would be Harris' last single to reach the Pop chart. Afterward, Harris retreated from the music industry and turned to one of his first loves, musical theater. He would return to recording music in 1994 with a standards album and would issue out a few more LPs over the years.

ReduxReviewAmerican Idol, The Voice, and other shows like that all have their roots in Star Search. Harris was a first season winner and basically the poster child of the show. Yet even after winning, I don't think anyone was sure what was going to happen or even if anything would. It was uncharted territory. So getting a couple of minor hits wasn't too bad of a result. But I think what happened to Harris is something that still happens with contestants and winners on shows even today. Harris was a great vocalist and folks loved to hear him sing, but on the show he was never able to establish a musical direction. So when he signed with Motown, they had to try and figure it out and they basically threw various styles at him to see what would stick. He needed an out-of-the-gate smash hit to get him established and it didn't happen. When it came time for the second album, Harris had a bit more control and the album was actually better than his first, but it was like he was starting over and the folks who loved him from the show just didn't follow along. They were busy watching new winners on Star Search. It's actually too bad because Harris was an awesome singer and had the ability to write good tunes. He had a lot more to offer than the tepid pop of this single, which he did not write.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Harris would have a successful stage career performing in various musicals. He appeared in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease, which earned him a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. That was following up by a role in the 1997 musical The Life. Harris grabbed another Drama Desk nomination along with a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Musical. He would also write and perform in several of his own shows including Ham: A Musical Memoir, which won three Ovation awards (for Los Angeles/SoCal theater) in 2016 including Lead Actor in a Musical for Harris and Best Musical Production.  2) Lauren Wood co-produced and sang background vocals on this song. Wood had a hit of her own back in 1979. The lead single from her self-titled debut album, "Please Don't Leave," made it to #5 AC and #24 Pop. Michael McDonald helped out providing the harmony vocals. Her follow-up album in 1981 failed to generate interest and that ended her major label days. She turned to writing and production after that. However, she did record a song called "Fallen" that ended up on the successful soundtrack to the 1990 hit film Pretty Woman.


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