Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"The Colour of Love" by Billy Ocean

Song#:  3533
Date:  05/28/1988
Debut:  76
Peak:  17
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Adult Contemporary, Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  Ocean got his third Pop #1 with the quirky "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car," the first single from his album Tear Down These Walls. It was also a winner at R&B topping that chart. The hit helped the LP sell, but he really needed another big hit in order for the album to match the double-platinum sales of his previous two efforts. This ballad was selected as a follow-up and while it would do well at AC (#2) and R&B (#10), it could only reach the Pop Top 20. It wasn't a bad result, but it didn't bode well for further singles and indeed his next one, "Tear Down These Walls," could only get to #27 R&B while missing the other charts. That left the LP falling short of the Pop Top 10 at #18 (#7 R&B). It would go platinum, but that was a drop in sales from his previous two LPs. 

ReduxReview:  I had forgotten about this song. It was actually a lovely pop ballad that was well-written (although a smidge sentimental) and recorded. The single was perfect for AC radio and indeed it came close to topping that chart. For Pop, I think it was just a little too sweet and old-fashioned to compete with the big ballads by Whitney or even the teen-leaning ditties by pop/R&B artists like The Jets. Still, it was a nice tune and one that seems to be very rarely played these days.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Since his 1976 debut album, Ocean pretty much focused on his own recording career. He very rarely worked with or for other artists. However, when he was recorded his hit breakthrough LP, 1984's Suddenly, Ocean supplied harmony vocals for a song by an artist whose music wasn't even close to being in Ocean's comfort zone. US-born Scott Walker became famous as a member of the 60s trio The Walker Brothers ("The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," 1966, #1 UK/#13 US). The group became highly successful in the UK after they moved there in '65. After a split in '67, Walker went solo and scored four UK Top 10 albums. He also had his own BBC TV music show in '69 simply titled Scott. The early 70s were a down time for him and he mainly did cover albums that were not successful. He reunited with The Walker Brothers for three albums in the mid-70s, the last of which, '78's Nite Flights, found Walker writing more avant-garde rock tracks such as the eerie "The Electrician." This new path sent Walker on a solo path again and in '84 he would record his first solo effort in a decade. The art rock LP Climate of Hunter would featured seven Walker compositions four of which were titled after their position in the track listing, such as "Track Three." While it is unknown what linked the two artists, somehow, Walker got Billy Ocean into the studio to do the harmony vocals on "Track Three." At that point in time, Ocean wasn't a huge international star yet, but once his streak of hits started, some folks who perhaps owned the Climate of Hunter album discovered the odd credit. Walker's album would return him to the UK chart (#60) and he would go on to record several more avant-garde/art rock albums that would be critically successful and gain a cult status. Walker would pass away in 2019.


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