Wednesday, September 30, 2020

"Follow You" by Glen Burtnick

Song#:  3273
Date:  09/26/1987
Debut:  91
Peak:  65
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Jersey-born Burtnick hooked into music at an early age and began performing in his teens. In the late 70s, Burtnick starred in the west coast version of the Broadway musical Beatlemania in the role of Paul McCartney (alongside Marshall Crenshaw who played John Lennon). While in the show, Burtnick met up with composer/producer Jan Hammer who happened to be looking for a lead vocalist for his band Hammer. Burtnick signed up and Hammer's self-titled album was released in 1979 to little notice. Another Beatlemania cast member's band, Helmet Boy, got a major label deal and Burtnick was asked to front the band. Their self-titled debut came out in 1980, but quickly disappeared. Burtnick then returned to Jersey and performed with several bands before recording a demo song that got the attention of A&M Records. He got signed to a solo deal and a 1986 debut album Talking in Code was released to little notice, save for one track, "Little Red House," that was a minor entry on the Rock chart at #40. The label gave Burtnick a second chance and Heroes & Zeros was released in 1987. This first single was issued out and it did okay at Rock getting to #23. It crossed over to Pop where it spent a couple of months in the bottom half of the chart. The results combined with Burnick's dissatisfaction with A&M ended his major label solo days.

ReduxReview:  This song falls right in Bryan Adams/Richard Marx territory and I'm surprised it didn't do better on the charts. It's a hooky, melodic tune that was well-produced, exciting, and perfect for the time it was released. Burtnick sounded great as well. It was much better than anything found on Adams' Into the Fire album, yet for some reason the tune didn't get a fair shake and it stalled early. Had I heard this song back in the day, I would have bought the single. I think it may have needed an extra promotional push, but it seems A&M didn't get behind the track as well as they should have. Burtnick would grab hits as part of a group and as a songwriter later (see below), but he should have had his own solo hit with this one.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) While at A&M, Burtnick got the attention of another band on the label, Styx. That band had broken up in 1984, but by the end of the decade they were plotting a reunion. The only stickler was that original member Tommy Shaw was already committed to another band he helped form in 1989, Damn Yankees. With a spot open, Styx auditioned Burtnick as Shaw's replacement and he got the job. The band then recorded the album Edge of the Century and released it in 1990. A single from the LP, "Show Me the Way," would be an unexpected hit that would reach #3 Pop and #3 AC. A follow-up single, "Love at First Sight," which was co-written by Burtnick, would get to #25 Pop/#13 AC. The band would split again in 1991. Another reunion would take place in 1996, but after Dennis DeYoung left the band in 1999, Burtnick once again stepped in rejoined Styx. He would remain with them until 2003 following the release of the album Cyclorama.  2) As a songwriter, Burtnick would score a couple of major hits. He co-wrote "Sometimes Love Ain't Enough" with Patty Smyth. She would record it as a duet with Don Henley and it would be the first single released from her self-titled second album in 1992. The song woud get to #2 at Pop and #1 AC. A song Burtnick co-wrote and that he recorded for his 1996 indie LP Palookaville titled "Spirit of a Boy, Wisdom of a Man" would get picked up and recorded by country superstar Randy Travis. It would be released as a single in 1998 and get to #2 Country and #42 Pop. (Note: Along the way, Burtnick would change the spelling of his last name. He would drop the "c" and become Burtnik. However, when this single/album came out, he was still using his original last name.)


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