Sunday, May 5, 2019

"The Best of Me" by David Foster and Olivia Newton-John

Song#:  2759
Date:  06/14/1986
Debut:  89
Peak:  80
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Foster had become a well-known hit making songwriter and in-demand producer. He helped revive the band Chicago and wrote/produced hits for several artists including Boz Scaggs, The Tubes, Chaka Khan, DeBarge, Peter Cetera, and Barbra Streisand. Prior to his behind-the-scenes work, Foster had been a member of a few bands including Skylark ("Wildflower," #9 Pop, 1973) and Airplay. He did record an indie album in 1984 titled The Best of Me, but it didn't get much attention. A solo career seemed a bit more plausible the following year when a song from his score to the film St. Elmo's Fire became a left-field hit. "Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire" got released as a single and went to #15 Pop/#3 AC. With his career at a new high, it seemed like the right time to record another solo album. He signed on with Atlantic Records and assembled a self-titled major label debut. The LP was mainly an instrumental effort that contained some new material along with tracks that had been previously recorded for films like The Color Purple and White Nights. It also featured two vocal tracks including this song which Foster originally recorded for his first solo album. Foster re-recorded the tune for the new album and recruited Olivia Newton-John to be a duet partner. The two had previously worked together when Foster produced the soundtrack to Newton-John's film Two of a Kind. The ballad got picked up at AC and did well reaching #6. However, it wasn't as embraced by a larger audience and it stayed in the basement of the Pop chart for a couple of months. The album barely scraped the chart at #195.

ReduxReview:  Foster is a good songwriter and an excellent producer, but I find this song so boring. I'd easily rate its snooze-factor at a 10. Even Newton-John, whom I adore, can't save it. It's a bit rambling and there is little that is memorable. I've heard this by other artists that I love like Kenny Rogers, Barry Manilow, and Michael BublĂ©, but it still makes me sleepy. Foster probably made a good bit o' money off this tune, however I'm just not buying it. Who needs Sominex or melatonin when you can just listen to this.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Despite not being a hit, the LP generated two Grammy nominations. One was for Foster in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category. Humberto Gatica got the other nomination in the Best Engineered Recording category.  2) UK superstar Cliff Richard chose this song to record and be released as his 100th single. It was issued out in 1989 and made it to #2 on the UK chart.  3) The other vocal track on the album was "Who's Gonna Love You Tonight." Richard Page from the band Mr. Mister provided the vocals on the song. It was issued out as the LP's second single. It made it to #38 at AC, but failed to chart at Pop.


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