Saturday, August 22, 2020

"No One in the World" by Anita Baker

Song#:  3234
Date:  08/22/1987
Debut:  95
Peak:  44
Weeks:  17
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Baker's second album, Rapture, became an unexpected a multi-platinum hit that would win two Grammys. By this point in time, the LP had spawned three R&B and AC Top 10s. Of those, only one would make the Pop Top 10, Baker's breakthrough hit "Sweet Love" (#8). The other two could only manage to make the Top 50. Hoping to lure back pop listeners, this fifth single from the album was released. As like her previous three singles, the song was a hit at R&B (#5) and AC (#9), but like the last two it stalled on the Pop chart after hoping over the halfway mark. Despite the result at Pop, the album continued to sell and eventually 5 million copies would be purchased.

ReduxReview:  I adored this track the first time I heard it and was convinced it was a hit. I thought it should have been the LP's third single after "Sweet Love." It finally ended up being the fifth single and it still did well at R&B and AC, but it really should have been a much bigger hit at Pop. At the time I didn't know that Warwick originated the song (see below) as I didn't have the album it was on, but I did get her Reservations for Two album and figured it out from there. Her Manilow-produced version stayed in the pop realm along the Burt Bacharach lines and had a dramatic arrangement for the bridge/final chorus. Warwick sounded great on it as usual. However, just by a nose, I have always preferred Baker's version. It had a sleek, R&B feel and the arrangement for the song's big moment gave Baker's voice a chance to really soar, which is different from Manilow's choppy, theatrical take. Either way, it was a terrific song and one of those that should have given someone a major hit.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Any big fan of Dionne Warwick's at the time would recognize this song. Warwick was the first to record the tune. It was a track on her 1985 album Finder of Lost Loves. The song, written by Marti Sharon and Ken Hirsch, was produced for Warwick by Barry Manilow. It was not issued out as a single. The Finder of Lost Loves album did not sell well. Neither of its singles reached the Pop chart and that left the album peaking at a minor #106 Pop/#50 R&B, her worst result in a decade. Warwick would roar back later in the year with her gold selling Friends album. In 1986, Anita Baker would choose to record the song for her Rapture LP. Baker's version would be produced by one of the song's writers, Marti Sharon, along with Gary Skardina. Around the time that Baker's album was taking off, Warwick was readying her next effort, Reservations for Two. Strangely, Warwick decided to include her unchanged, original version of "No One in the World" on the LP. Reasons for doing this are unclear. I speculate that it may have had to do with the popularity of Baker's LP and folks not knowing that Warwick had done the tune first. Since the LP it was on tanked and few people had heard it, Warwick may have wanted to let people (and perhaps even Baker) know that the song was originally hers and placing it on an album with gold-sales potential might help reestablish the fact. While some folks did realize Baker's version was a remake, in the end it didn't matter because it became a hit for Baker and has long since been associated with her.


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