Sunday, September 27, 2020

"Waterfall" by Wendy & Lisa

Song#:  3270
Date:  09/19/1987
Debut:  80
Peak:  56
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin had known each other since childhood. Their fathers, both musicians, were good friends and the families spent a lot of time together. Their relationship changed in their late teens from friends to girlfriends and both had picked up the music bug from their fathers. Through a friend, Coleman landed an audition to be in Prince's backing band for the tour supporting his album Dirty Mind. She got the job and continued to work with Prince over the next few years. When sessions started for Purple Rain, Prince's guitarist left the band. Melvoin was able to step in. Wendy & Lisa then became official members of the Revolution. In addition to singing and playing instruments for Prince's projects, the pair would also co-write a few songs and do arrangements. However, after three albums with Prince, the duo were feeling like they were not getting the proper credit for their contributions and after the sessions for Prince's shelved Dream Factory album, they decided to leave the Revolution. After their departure, Prince then fully disbanded the backing band. Having already been working on their own material, Wendy & Lisa signed on with Columbia Records and recorded a self-titled debut album. This first single was issued out and it started to get a little attention, but it ended up fizzling out before it could reach the top half of the Pop chart. The album would make it to #88. The song would be the duo's only one solely credited to them to reach the Pop chart. Their follow-up album, 1989's Fruit at the Bottom, would featured the song "Are You My Baby?," which made it to #26 on the R&B chart. A third album, 1990's Eroica, failed to generate any charting songs in the US. Over in the UK, the duo's three albums would generate nine singles that reached the chart, but only one of them would crack the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  What I liked about Wendy & Lisa is that they took things they learned with Prince and applied some of it to their own tunes. They didn't overwhelm their songs with Prince-isms or the Minneapolis sound like other ex-Prince stable artists. They had their own sound and I really dug it on their debut album. I immediately loved this single and bought it followed by the album. I was disappointed that both didn't do better. I still listen to the album quite a bit. I think it has grown in esteem over the years and is appreciated more now. It's just too bad it didn't get the recognition it deserved back in the day.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) While their personal relationship would come to an end, Wendy & Lisa would continue to be musical partners. In addition to working as session musicians and songwriters for many artists, the pair branched out into the world of scoring. Their first major job was writing the score for the hit 1995 movie Dangerous Minds. While their score would not be issued out, songs featured in the film were assembled into a soundtrack album and it would hit #1 thanks to Coolio's #1 hit "Gangsta's Paradise." A track from Lisa & Wendy's debut album, "The Life," would be re-recorded and included on the soundtrack. The pair would go on to do more score work and also write themes to several TV shows including Crossing Jordan, Heroes, and Nurse Jackie, for which they won an Emmy.  2) While this song would be Wendy & Lisa's only Pop charting song credited just to them, they would reach the Pop chart again in a more featured role. They would perform on the theme to the 1992 Robin Williams flick Toys. The song was called "The Closing of the Year (Main Theme)" and it would be credited to The Musical Cast of Toys featuring Wendy & Lisa. The tune was released as a single and it would get to #53. The fantasy-comedy film directed and co-written (with Valerie Curtain) by Barry Levinson was a critical failure and a box office bomb. It cost $50 million to make and only grossed $23 million. (Note: I'm the rare person who really liked the film along with the soundtrack.)


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