Friday, February 26, 2021

"All Right Now" by Pepsi & Shirlie

Song#:  3417
Date:  02/20/1988
Debut:  89
Peak:  66
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  The former backup singers for Wham! stepped out on their own and scored a bit #2 hit in the UK with "Heartache." The song was taken from their debut album All Right Now. In the US, the track was a hit on the Dance chart getting to #2, but it didn't play as well at Pop where it stopped at a minor #79. For a follow-up, this cover song was released. In the UK, it was the fourth single from the album and it got to #50. In the US, the song did a little bit better than "Heartache" on the Pop chart, but it still couldn't get close to the Top 40. It did not make the Dance chart. A third US single, "Goodbye Stranger," did not get on the Pop chart, but did reach #26 at Dance. The duo didn't capitalize on their success at home immediately. It took them four years to record their follow-up, 1991's Change. It's first single, "Someday," was written and produced by George Michael. Unfortunately, that connection didn't help and the song failed to chart. The album disappeared quickly and was not even issued out in the US. Those results brought an end to their recording career and partnership.

ReduxReview:  With "Heartache" and their second UK single "Goodbye Stranger" (#9 UK) firmly planted in dance-pop territory, I thought that this track was going to be a dance-oriented over of Free's classic rock track (see below). So it surprised me when I heard the duo's version done in a heavy, 80s synth-rock style. It was quite a beefy production and it easily could have overrun the pair, but they ended up performing it quite well. Rod Stewart tried to synth-up the tune in 1984 and it was just meh. The song was definitely more in his wheelhouse, but it didn't quite work. Oddly, I like the Pepsi & Shirlie version. In some ways, they rocked it up more than Stewart did. They gave the song a tough, bluesy edge that was more in-line with the feeling of the original. Still, it can't hold a candle to Free's original.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by UK rock band Free. Written by band members Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers, their 1970 single would get to #4 on the US Pop chart. It would be the band's only Top 40 entry in the US. In 1975, soul singer Lea Roberts would cover the tune for her second album Lady Lea. It would be released as a single and get to #54 R&B and #92 Pop. Then in 1984, Rod Steward would cover the song and release it as a single. It would get to #72 Pop. Thus far, the only other act to chart with the song has been Pepsi & Shirlie. (Interesting side note on Lea Roberts. For her Lady Lea album, she recorded the Neil Sedaka/Phil Cody-penned song "Laughter in the Rain." In 1974, Sedaka had recorded the song and it was issued as a single in the UK in the summer. It got to #15. Despite doing well there, US radio stations refused to play it. Sedaka hadn't had a charting song since the mid-60s and DJs weren't keen on helping to revive his career in the US. Around this time, Roberts had recorded the track and it was released in the late fall of '74 as her album's first single and it started to get airplay. Meanwhile, a panicked Sedaka, who was signed to Elton John's Rocket Records, pushed John and the label to rush release and promote his version. They did and it got released in December of '74. With John's help, the single finally got airplay and it would eventually climb to #1. Sedaka's hit completely overshadowed Roberts' version, which could only get to #69 R&B and #109 Pop. Roberts would then release "All Right Now," which was her last charting single.)


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