Monday, December 27, 2021

"Baby Can I Hold You" by Tracy Chapman

Song#:  3712
Date:  11/05/1988
Debut:  84
Peak:  48
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Contemporary Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Pop Bits:  Chapman's self-titled debut album was an unexpected smash that earned her three Grammy awards including one for Best New Artist. It all came about thanks to her #6 single "Fast Car." She followed it up with "Talkin' bout a Revolution," but that tune just didn't resonate as well and stalled at #75. Looking for a better result, this third single from the album was released. It did indeed do better, but it still wasn't able to put Chapman back into the Pop Top 40. However, it did do a bit better at AC where it reached #19. It would be the last single released from the album.

ReduxReview:  This really should have been the LP's second single. If it had been, I think it would have easily made the Top 40. However, I think the label wanted something more upbeat for a second single instead of another ballad and chose "Revolution," which was a good song, but not as single-worthy as "Baby Can I Hold You." It was a missed opportunity. This was a lovely track that had a different feel and mood from "Fast Car" and was truly the only other track on the album that had a chance at becoming a hit. Sadly it got relegated to the third single and with a little momentum lost, the tune wasn't quite strong enough (or promoted well enough) to get Chapman higher up on the charts.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In 1997, this song was remade by the Irish boy band Boyzone. The assembled group of five male vocalists kicked off their career in a big way when their first single, a remake of The Four Seasons #9 1966 hit "Working My Way Back to You," got to #3 in the UK. From then on, Boyzone mania hit. Between 1994 and 2010, the group would amass nineteen UK Top 10s with nine of those hitting #1. Four of the five associated albums during that time frame would reach #1 while the fifth would peak at #2. Among their hits was their remake of Chapman's song. It would be issued out as a double-sided "a" single in 1997 along with the track "Shooting Star." It would be a #2 hit. Boyzone had become superstars in the UK and parts of Europe, but in the US they remained virtually unknown. Attempts were made to break them in the US, but the only song that did anything was their 1988 single "No Matter What" (#1 UK). It was able to reach #12 AC while bubbling under the Pop chart at a very minor #116. Maybe because during that time frame the US already had a glut of popular boy bands that there just wasn't space for one coming in from the UK. Another hugely successful boy band from the UK in the 90s, Take That, also had difficulty breaking in the US. However, they at least became a one-hit wonder in the States thanks to one lone single making the Pop chart, 1995's "Back for Good," which got to #7 (#2 AC/#1 UK). Other UK boy bands that were successful in the UK but were barely blips in the US were Westlife, East 17, and 5ive.  2) This song was the subject of a lawsuit. In 2018, rapper Nicki Minaj used an interpolation of Chapman's song for her track "Sorry." At the time Minaj was recording the tune, she apparently thought the sample of the song she was using was from reggae artist Shelly Thunder's version of Chapman's tune titled "Sorry." However, it was actually Chapman's original. Minaj's team sought to get clearance for the sample, but Chapman denied the request on more than one occasion. Minaj was then forced to leave the song off of her album. However, the song got leaked and that was when Chapman sued for copyright infringement. After all the court proceedings, Minaj agreed to pay Chapman $450,000 to settle the case.


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