Saturday, June 8, 2019

"Two of Hearts" by Stacey Q

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2793
Date:  07/12/1986
Debut:  89
Peak:  3
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Stacey Lynn Swain pretty much had her career picked out as a little kid. She wanted to be a dancer. By the age of five she was already in ballet classes and continued to train and perform throughout her childhood, including appearances in the Disneyland park parades. After high school, Swain secured a position with the Ringling Bros. Circus as a showgirl. For her second season in the show she switched to being an elephant rider. After her stint with the circus, Swain met recording studio owner Jon St. James. They both had a fondness for electronic music and St. James enlisted the help of Swain in producing tracks for his band named Q. They were mainly an instrumental outfit, but St. James thought a track could use vocals and had Swain step in. She then became a member of Q and a self-titled EP of their work was an indie release in 1982. Encouraged by the results, the band then worked up a full album for the alt rock label Enigma. Now under the name SSQ, their debut LP, Playback, was released in 1983. The album's lead single "Synthicide" made a brief appearance on the Dance chart at #47. While the LP didn't get a lot of attention, Swain's work and her appearance in the "Synthicide" video turned a couple of heads. That along with an indie solo EP in 1985 under the name Stacey Q ( the "Q" a reference to her original band) got her signed to Atlantic Records. She brought the SSQ members along for the ride and work began on a debut solo album. This song, which originally appeared on her EP, was redone and released as a single. It took a little time for the tune to catch on, but it eventually made the Pop Top 10 while getting to #4 at Dance and #56 at R&B. Her debut album, Better Than Heaven, would follow in the fall and get to #59. Over time it would be a certified gold seller. This song would be her only Top 10. Although some folks considered her a one-hit wonder, she would get another memorable Top 40 entry and two other songs on the chart.

ReduxReview:  Stacey Q sometimes got lumped with the Madonna clones, but I don't think she necessarily sounded like Madonna. And her material was more percolating electronic synthpop than Madonna's smoother style of dance-pop. About the only thing the two had in common was that they were dancers who just happened to find themselves in the music business. I liked this jittery tune when it came out. It was bouncy fun and Stacey Q's wispy voice went well with the bubbling staccato synths. Despite it sounding so dated and very, very 80s now, the track somehow still holds up pretty well. I get a kick out of it when it comes up on a playlist.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  To help promote Stacey Q and this song, she made an appearance on the hit NBC TV show The Facts of Life. In the episode she played "Cinnamon," a singer who was trying out for a Broadway show alongside series regular character Tootie (Kim Fields). Tootie plans on auditioning with "Two of Hearts," but quickly learns that Cinnamon is too. Stacey Q performs the song on the show. Having her on gave a ratings boost to the show and so later in the season, Stacey Q returned for another appearance as Cinnamon. It's revealed in the episode that Cinnamon had won the role in the Broadway show and became a star, but pressures from that led her to dropping out of the show and visiting Tootie. The girls encourage her to return to the show, which she does. Stacey Q performed "We Connect" on the episode. She would later do a quick guest appearance as herself on a 1988 episode of Full House and play the leader of a hard rock band in a 1989 episode of Mama's Family.



  1. Jon St. James actually had a single that Bubbled Under the Hot 100 in 1984 called “Oogity Boogity”. It peaked at No. 105. You should check it out.