Sunday, September 12, 2021

"Don't Walk Away" by Toni Childs

Song#:  3611
Date:  08/13/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  72
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This singer/songwriter's strict religious upbringing could have easily kept her from pursuing a career in music, but the pull was so strong that she ran away from home at the young age of 15 to discover what she had been missing. It didn't take long for her to decide that music was her path. She moved to L.A. and started to gain experience as a performer. She briefly became the lead singer in Berlin prior to Terri Nunn taking on that role and then went on to form her own band Toni and the Movers, which included future Bangle Michael Steele. After a few years of trying to figure out her own musical niche, Childs signed on with a publisher as a staff writer and took off for England where she continued to perform and develop a taste for world music. After that experience, she returned home with better focus and in 1985 signed on with A&M Records. She met David Ricketts of David+David and after doing some work on that duo's 1986 album Boomtown, began working on her own debut with Ricketts (by this point they were in a relationship). The pair would co-write and co-produce most of the songs on Childs' debut LP Union. This album opener, written by Childs and Phil Ramacon, would be issued out as a single. It would be her first and only song to make the US Pop chart peaking a low #72. It would do better on the Alternative Rock chart where it reached #17. Although the single wasn't a big hit, the album received lots of critical praise and that along with two Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female), helped the album reach #63. It would take until 1995, but eventually Union would go gold. Childs' second album, 1991's House of Hope, would not fare as well (#115) and she would lose her contract with A&M. She would release a third album in 1994 titled This Woman's Boat. It wouldn't chart, but it did have the #13 Dance hit "Lay Down Your Pain."

ReduxReview:  If I remember right, I bought this album based on reviews. It sounded fascinating to me and I wasn't disappointed. The album opening track was just a huge blast of (synth) horn-driven soul-rock that was impactful and exciting. Adding to it was Childs' unique booming alto voice. I thought for sure this song would at least crack the Top 40, but it just didn't catch on in a bigger way. The balance of the album had some wonderful tracks and it was easy to hear why she nabbed a Grammy nod for Best New Artist. Her second LP was darker and a bit more difficult to digest, but it still had some excellent tracks. Both albums are worth seeking out.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In 1997, Childs would retreat from the spotlight due to developing Graves disease. In 2003, she was lured back into music when asked to write a song for the TV documentary V-Day: Until the Violence Stops. With David Ricketts and Eddy Free, Childs would write and record "Because You Are Beautiful." The song would go on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. In 2006, Childs would recover from Graves and has since toured and recorded three albums.  2) Childs would remain a sort of fringe, cult artist in the US, but she became a star in Australia and New Zealand. Her debut album would generate a pair of Top 20 hits, reach #8 and go double platinum. In New Zealand the LP would reach #1. Her second album would reach #4 Australia (#5 New Zealand) and go double-platinum. The single "I've Got to Go Now" would get to #5 in Australia. In 2012, Childs would make the move to Australia and take up residence in New South Wales.


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