Monday, December 10, 2018

"The Power of Love" by Jennifer Rush

Song#:  2614
Date:  02/08/1986
Debut:  91
Peak:  57
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  New York-born Jennifer Rush (real name Heidi Stern) just couldn't catch a break in her home country. The classically trained musician/singer issued out an indie LP in 1979 under her real name and shopped it around to various labels, but none bit. Her father, who was an opera singer living in Germany, took her demo around to labels there and ended up getting a nibble from CBS. An initial single release in 1983 tanked, but then she was paired with a production team and began writing songs with them. Her first two singles from the sessions didn't fare well, but her next two singles made the German Top 30 and a debut album was issued. Then "The Power of Love" was pushed out late in '84. It became a #9 hit and distribution to other European countries soon followed. By October of '85, the song hit #1 in the UK where it remained for five weeks. Finally, the song made it to the US at the beginning of '86 and it should have been a triumphant return home for Rush, but the song didn't turn into the mega hit it had been in many other countries. It stalled before it could even get into the top half of the Pop chart and failed to catch on at AC. With the single tanking, the album was a non-starter and didn't chart.

ReduxReview:  I still don't understand why everyone went ga-ga for this song. It has always had a snooze factor of about  9.5 for me. The thing just drags on and on. Even the shortened radio version bores me silly. It is just one rolling drone of a tune and no matter who sings it, I'm not going to be a fan. Rush has a nice, big voice but even she sounds a bit lethargic on her own song. Out of the four charting versions, this may be my least favorite. Air Supply probably did the most palatable version. Laura Branigan's take sounds like she's gonna rupture her vocal chords, yet she's engaged and passionate. Then there is Celine Dion screaming her way through the dirge. The thing that saves it for Dion is that the arrangement nearly eliminates the rolling effect and turns it into a more straight ahead pop tune, which does make it better. However, no matter the version, I've suffered enough with the song. Please just make it stop...please...

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  This song wasn't just a chart topper in the UK. It became the best selling single of the year there in addition to being the biggest selling single ever by a female artist at the time. With that much attention and sales, it seems nearly assured that the song would be a hit in the US as well. Weirdly, it ended up being a dud even as our neighbors to the north, Canada, took it to #1 there. So why was this a hit around the globe yet a miss in the US? There may be several reasons that all contributed. First, when CBS in the US was approached to release the album, they chose not to citing that it sounded to European for the US pop market. They might have been right. Not everything that works in other countries like the UK will appeal to American ears and audiences may not have been ready for this chugging ballad, which definitely had a European feel. Another reason may be that the song had already been a US AC chart hit. As Rush's version was beginning to break overseas, Air Supply got wind of the song and got it recorded and released in the US in late summer of '85. Their version only got to #68 Pop, but it was a hit at AC getting to #3. With the song already having its chance in the marketplace, another version released soon after was going to have a difficult time. Promotion may have also been at play. Since CBS wasn't hot on Rush's album to begin with, it was doubtful they would do heavy promotion on something they weren't keen on in the first place. Combine all this together and basically Rush got the shaft in her home country. However, as a co-writer of the song she can't be too sad as two more versions of the song would do much better on the US chart. Laura Branigan's 1987 take would get to #26 while Celine Dion would take it to #1 in 1994.


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