Saturday, March 23, 2019

"Don't Walk Away" by Robert Tepper

Song#:  2716
Date:  05/10/1986
Debut:  88
Peak:  85
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Tepper's career got a boost when his tune "No Easy Way Out" was selected to be on the soundtrack album to the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Rocky IV. The song would be a #12 Rock/#22 Pop hit for the artist. In addition to the soundtrack, the song was also slated to be on Tepper's debut solo album of the same name. Once the LP was set to go, this second single was pushed out. Unfortunately, it didn't get very far barely scraping the bottom of the Pop chart for a few weeks. In turn, the album faltered at a low #144. Still, his label (Scotti Bros.) thought he had the goods to do better and sponsored a 1988 follow-up album Modern Madness. Tepper and the label were at odds about the material on the record and that led to lack of label interest, promotion, etc. The issue plagued album then tanked upon release along with Tepper's chances at further chart hits.

ReduxReview: "No Way Out" was an excellent slice of radio-ready rock. This follow-up had a similar sound but the song itself just wasn't as good. This time around the heavy-handed 80s production sounded like it was necessary to make the track more interesting rather than being an enhancement. Tepper is a good songwriter and this song it not bad at all. It's just not as memorable or single-worthy as his previous hit.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Both of Tepper's albums were produced by Joe Chiccarelli. By the time Chiccarelli was working on Tepper's Modern Madness album, he had already produced a record by a new synthpop band that was signed to Atlantic Records. The band was called Y Can't Tori Read and their 1988 self-titled debut would quickly come and go to little notice. They broke up after the failure, but Chiccarelli was still in contact with lead singer/songwriter Tori Amos. After her band split, Amos wasn't sure what to do and while she was mulling over options she worked as a backup singer. Chiccarelli brought Amos in to sing background vocals on Tepper's album. She also worked for other artists like Sandra Bernhard, but she still had contractual obligations with Atlantic and finally in 1992 she issued her debut solo album Little Earthquakes. The LP steadily gained fans and established Amos' career. It would eventually become a double-platinum seller.


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