Sunday, August 15, 2021

"It Would Take a Strong Strong Man" by Rick Astley

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3583
Date:  07/16/1988
Debut:  78
Peak:  10
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  Astley's debut album Whenver You Need Somebody quickly turned the Brit into a star thanks to a pair of #1s including the gold-selling "Never Gonna Give You Up." The pair of hits would send the album to #10 and it would be platinum before the summer of '88. For a third single, this more soulful track was released. It would be his second song to reach #1 at AC while getting to #8 at Dance and just squeaking out an appearance in the Pop Top 10. Since the album had been released earlier in the UK than the US, Astley nearly had his second album finished by the time this single was released in the US. Therefore, it would be the last one issued out from the album.

ReduxReview:  This was definitely a good choice for a third single. His first two were Hi-NRG dance floor workouts that were similar in sound. Had he released another one (the choice would have been the album's title track, which was a #3 hit in the UK), it might have seemed like Astley was just a one-trick pony, which might have bored audiences. Instead, the label smartly released this pop/soul ditty. The change in sound was welcomed and it gave Astley his third consecutive Pop Top 10.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Working with the Stock Aitken Waterman songwriting/production team was a blessing and a sort of curse for Astley. SAW was getting the reputation, especially in the UK, of just being a hit making factory that made stars out of capable singers looking for fame. While the team would occasionally co-write with an artist or just produce tracks, for the most part they took control and created songs for singers like Astley and Kylie Minogue, Because of this, it seems the British press started to pick on Astley mainly calling him out for just being a product of the SAW team. While it is true that the main hits from Astley's debut album were written and produced by SAW, Astley did write four of the LP's songs and worked on them with other producers. Unfortunately, none were released as singles, so that made it seem like SAW was using his face and voice to front their tunes. Despite those writing contributions, that "puppet" stigma dogged Astley into his next album even though he wrote the first single, the hit "She Wants to Dance with Me." By the time of his third album, Astley broke away from the SAW team and set out on his own.


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