Tuesday, October 12, 2021

"Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3641
Date:  09/10/1988
Debut:  83
Peak:  5
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This husband and wife duo of George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam first hit the Pop chart early in '85 with their song "Oh Girl." Taken from their self-titled debut album, the tune would just crack the Pop Top 40 at #39. The album would get to #76. Following that result, it seems that things didn't work out all that well at A&M and the duo lost their contract. Even though their recording career was floundering, the pair found success writing songs for other artists. They basically hit the jackpot twice supplying two songs for Whitney Houston, both of which became #1 hits; "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)." Those successes boosted the couple's profile and helped them secure another recording contract this time with RCA Records. They would record their second album, Reel Life, and this first single would be issued out. The song would become a major hit for them making the Pop Top 5 while hitting #1 on the AC chart. In turn, the album would make it to #50. The single would end up being their only one to make the Pop Top 10.

ReduxReview:  This song finally got matched with the right artist, who just happened to be the ones who wrote it (see below). It was a tune that was meant for them to record. It definitely had hit potential, but it was one of those songs that not everyone could perform. I can't imagine Houston doing this tune and Carlisle's demo proved it wasn't a good fit for her either. Sometimes the best person to record a song is whoever composed it and I think that was the case here. This was just a delicious slice of late 80s pop pie. Expertly written with sparkling, spot-on production by Arif Mardin, it was a catchy, urgent, sentimental song that was hard to resist. I also loved how the track progressed and built from the bridge to the sax solo to the climactic break. Oh, but that was just the first one. A second, bigger one came along giving the song its ultimate peak. A terrific late 80s pop tune that still sounds great.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Rejection can often hurt, but in the case of this song and Boy Meets Girl, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When Clive Davis was gathering songs for Whitney Houston's second album, the pair were asked to submit a tune since their "How Will I Know" from Houston's debut album was a hit. Apparently, Merrill and Rubicam got an idea for a song when they went to see Houston perform at L.A.'s Greek Theater. During the show, they happened to see a falling star and that prompted them to write this song for Houston. They presented the demo to Clive Davis, who then rejected the song. Dejected but not defeated, the couple then went on to write "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," which Davis liked enough not only to send it over to Houston, but to have it be the lead single from her second album. The song would hit #1. Meanwhile, "Waiting for a Star to Fall," got picked up by MCA Records and they pushed it over to Belinda Carlisle to record for her second solo album. She did a halfhearted demo (can be heard on YouTube) and quickly decided that the song was not a fit for her and rejected it despite label pressure. The song was then reportedly picked up by Robert Palmer either for his use or for an artist he was producing. Around that time Boy Meets Girl got signed to RCA and approached famed producer Arif Mardin to work with them. They played him the song and he agreed to produce them as the thought the song was a hit. The only stickler was that Palmer had the tune. So Mardin gave him a call and asked him to hold off on doing anything with it and Palmer agreed. The song finally got recorded and became a hit. Had it not been for the song getting rejected, who knows if Boy Meets Girl would have been able to secure a Top 10 hit. The tune was obviously meant to be for them.


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