Monday, June 3, 2019

"Friends and Lovers" by Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  2788
Date:  07/05/1986
Debut:  77
Peak:  2
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Adult Contemporary, Pop

Pop Bits:  Actress/singer Gloria Loring had been a star on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives since 1980. Loring's character, Liz Chandler, was a lounge singer and that gave Loring the opportunity to sing on the show. Loring had been trying unsuccessfully to launch a singing career on her own so she thought that singing the right song on the show might entice record labels. Songwriters Jay Gruska and Paul Gordon had written a song that was already being played in the background of some scenes on the soap. Loring thought it had hit potential and wrangled for it to be woven into her storyline. She needed a duet partner and sought out Al Jarreau. After Jarreau decline due to other commitments, Loring then ask singer/actor Carl Anderson. She had seen him in a show and thought he would be perfect. The pair recorded the song and then performed it during an episode of the soap. It got a big response and was then utilized as the love theme for another couple on the show. Loring then shopped the song to labels hoping for a contract, but no one bit. Finally, the French label Carrere (which had a US division via CBS) bit and released the single. It was released in May of '86 and due to its use on the show, the single sold. Soon airplay on radio followed and the song began to climb the charts. It was a perfect fit for AC and the song easily topped the chart. Pop radio latched onto it as well and the tune topped out at #2 for a couple of weeks. It even got to #54 at R&B. Loring would then secure a recording contract with Atlantic and issued out an album titled after the song. It would reach #61. She would record one more album for Atlantic, but nothing came from it and Loring's days as a major label artist ended. Anderson would record R&B and jazz albums over the years and would place four other minor singles on the R&B chart. Yet due to this being both artists' only song to be a major hit on the Pop chart, it got them tagged as one-hit wonders (#90 on VH1's list of Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s).

ReduxReview:  I remember just loving this song when it came out. That waltzing 3/4 time, the big emphasized keyboard fills ("and I'll be your friend"....<ca-CHING>), and Carl Anderson wailing it out at the end. It was an usual ballad and Loring was right to call it out as a hit. However, the song got played so much that it started to grate on me after a while. Then as years went by I'd hear the tune and think what a sluggish, dreary, and cheezy song it was. Now I kind of think of it in a nostalgic way. I don't mind hearing the tune once in a great while and swaying back n' forth.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Quint Shot!  1) This actually wasn't Gloria Loring's first song to reach the Pop chart. In 1977, she recorded a single for the ATCO label called "Brooklyn," however it was released under a stage name of Cody Jameson. The song was able to reach #74 on the Pop chart. It also got to #35 at AC and #64 Country. Under her own name, Loring did release three albums in the late 60s/early 70s, but nothing came from them.  2) Loring is also a songwriter. She and her then-husband Alan Thicke wrote the theme songs to two hit shows - Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Loring would sing the theme to The Facts of Life. 3) As mentioned, Loring was married to actor/TV personality Alan Thicke. They were married from 1970 to 1984. The pair had two sons, Brennan and Robin. Robin Thicke went on to have his own successful music career which included the massive 2013 worldwide #1 hit "Blurred Lines." Alan Thicke died in 2016.  4) Carl Anderson originally performed the role of Judas Iscariot in the pre-Broadway performances of Jesus Christ Superstar. When it came time for the show to move to Broadway, Anderson was replaced by Ben Vereen. Anderson would be Vereen's understudy and would perform the role on Broadway. When the film version was being cast, Anderson would secure the role. It would earn him two Golden Globe nominations for New Star of the Year and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.  5) This was not the first official release of the song. Although Loring and Anderson were the first to record it, during the time Loring was trying to secure a deal for the single, the song was picked up by two country singers. Eddie Rabbitt and Juice Newton recorded the duet and pushed it out in June of '86. It would be a #1 Country hit. For the Rabbitt/Newton version, the titled was altered to "Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)."


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