Saturday, July 11, 2020

"Love Power" by Dionne Warwick & Jeffrey Osborne

Song#:  3191
Date:  07/11/1987
Debut:  66
Peak:  12
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Warwick's 1985 album Friends was a gold-selling #12 hit mainly thanks to the Grammy-winning #1 charity single "That's What Friends Are For." The album helped to repair and reignite her working relationship with Burt Bacharach, who (along with Hal David) wrote and produced many of her earlier hits. This time around Bacharach was working with his wife Carole Bayer Sager and they wrote/produced half of Warwick's Friends album. The trio then decided to continue their work together on Warwick's next LP Reservations for Two. Bacharach and Sager would contribute three songs to the album including this first single. The duet with Jeffrey Osborne hit all the right notes at AC and it easily topped that chart. It also got to #5 at R&B while just missing out on the Pop Top 10. While it was a solid hit, it didn't necessarily translate to sales of the album, which topped out at #32 R&B/#56 Pop. Unfortunately, it would prove to be Warwick's last single to make the Pop Top 40 and last album to crack the Pop Top 100. Oddly, this song would also be Osborne's last to hit the Pop Top 40.

ReduxReview:  Even though I liked this song when it came out, I was quite surprised it did so well on the Pop chart. It was a sophisticated track that was perfect for AC radio, but I didn't think it was current or "hip" enough to lure in younger listeners at pop radio. Let's face it; Bacharach wrote hits in the 50s, Warwick had her big streak of hits in the 60s, and Osborne's music attracted a more mature crowd. How the heck were they gonna get airtime next to Madonna and Bon Jovi? But sometimes a good song is a good song and if it was meant to be, it will break through. This one has a lot of latter-day Bacharach touches with the odd phrasing and added measures, but he always seemed to make it work. I always kind of chuckled at the first line of this song, "Saw s psychic in L.A.," because only a couple years later Warwick would be hawking the Psychic Friends Network. I'm guessing Bacharach/Bayer Sager wrote that line with Warwick in mind since Warwick had been seeking advice/readings from psychics and astrologists since at least the early 70s.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  While not necessarily a concept album, several tracks on Warwick's Reservations for Two did feature a second vocalist. In addition to Jeffrey Osborne on this single, Warwick recorded tracks with Kashif, Smokey Robinson, Howard Hewitt, and June Pointer. There would be three singles released from the album and all three were duet tracks. Also on the album was the song "No One in the World." Warwick had originally recorded the track for her 1985 album Finder of Lost Loves. Although it was the lead off track on the LP, it was not issued out as a single. The following year the song was picked up by Anita Baker. She recorded it for her LP Rapture. Perhaps seeing that Baker's album was shaping up to be a major hit, Warwick chose to include her version of the song on Reservations for Two. Whether or not she had intentions of trying to release it as a single is unknown, but she was beaten to the punch anyway by Baker who released it in August of '87. It would #5 R&B/#9 AC/#44 Pop.


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