Saturday, July 3, 2021

"Feelings of Forever" by Tiffany

Song#:  3543
Date:  06/11/1988
Debut:  90
Peak:  50
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop


Pop Bits:  After a pair of #1s and an additional Top 10, the #7 cover tune "I Saw Him Standing There," Tiffany's self-titled #1 debut album had reached the quad-platinum sales mark in April of '88. It seemed that after four singles (the first one, "Danny," did not chart), it was a good time to wrap up the LP. However, the label decided to try and eke out one more hit from the album and they chose this track. It didn't really work out with the single barely cracking the top half of the Pop chart and stalled at #43 AC. Still, it was probably worth the gamble. Now with her debut LP behind her, Tiffany could get back into the studio to record the dreaded sophomore album.

ReduxReview:  I'm pretty sure no one predicted that Tiffany's debut album would be a 4-million selling #1. Along with that, I doubt anyone gave it a thought that even if it did well they would need to make sure there were at least five single candidates. Frankly, they were lucky to get the three Top 10s. After that, there was nothing much else on the album that was single-worthy. It was full of capable, yet forgettable, pop tracks. In other words, filler. That's what I'd label this track. It was fine to put on the album, but it did not make a good single. I think a better idea would have been to do a remix of the first single "Danny," which didn't chart. That would have had more potential to crack the Top 40 than this sluggish ballad.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  We've seen time and time again where sudden fame brings sudden problems and that happened for Tiffany. She and her mother signed a contract with manager/producer George Tobin. Perhaps no one really thought that the teenager could all of a sudden sell over 4 million albums, so when Tiffany's career suddenly took off, a battle ensued between Tobin and Tiffany's mother regarding her career decisions and finances. Tiffany and her mom didn't necessarily have the best relationship to begin with and the rebellious teen was not thrilled when mom wanted to call all the shots. However, being a minor Tiffany was more or less saddled with her mom being legal guardian and with mom and Tobin not agreeing, Tiffany's life behind the scenes became a battlefield. Tiffany then decided to take matters into her own hand. She filed a lawsuit to be emancipated from her mother. She also left her mom's house to live with an aunt, which technically made her a runaway. After the dust settled, Tiffany didn't get full emancipation, but it was decided that until she was 18, her grandmother would become her temporary guardian. It seems that Tiffany and her mom made amends afterwards, but by the time she was 18, she was also done with Tobin and she would dump him for new management.

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Friday, July 2, 2021

"Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make It Right)" by Denise Lopez

Song#:  3542
Date:  06/11/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  31
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Latin Freestyle, Dance-Pop


Pop Bits:  This singer from Queens, New York, had her sights set on making it in the music business and her first attempt came in 1984. She recorded the dance track"Best of Me" under the moniker Neecy Dee, which was issued out on TNT Records. It didn't get anywhere, but it led to some work over on the 4th & B'way label where she co-wrote and did some vocals for a dance/rap track called "Love Patrol." It was sort of a "project" effort and was credited to Love Patrol. It also failed to generate much interest. Her next stop was at RCA where she recorded the single "If You Feel It" under her own name. The song got a little bit of attention and was able to reach #35 on the Dance chart. Apparently, that wasn't quite good enough for RCA and so Lopez moved over to A&M who gave her the opportunity to release this next single. It performed much better getting to #6 on the Dance chart. The action there helped the song cross over to Pop where it just missed out on the Top 30. A debut album titled Truth in Disguise would then be recorded and released in the fall of '88.

ReduxReview:  This has some good freestyle production that was similar to hits by Exposé. The song itself is pretty good with a nice chorus hook and it seems that Lopez had some good vocal chops, although she gets just a tad too excited or out of control at certain points. It was perfect for the dance floor at the time and I think its Pop peak was about right. It was a good listen and fun to dance to, but it just didn't have that extra special something that made it as memorable as some of the other freestyle hits of the day.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Being on A&M Records and having a Top 40 record gave Lopez gave her an extra opportunity. The label would be pushing out a soundtrack to the '88 holiday comedy flick Scrooged starring Bill Murray and they assigned the singer a job. She would be Dan Hartman's duet partner on a track he wrote for the film titled "The Love You Take." It would be the second single from the soundtrack released following the #9 remake of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart by Annie Lennox and Al Green. The Lopez/Hartman duet would not make any Billboard chart, but it did register at #75 on the Cashbox Pop chart. The Scrooged soundtrack would get to #93 on the strength of the Lennox/Green hit. The movie itself would receive mixed reviews and would do moderately well at the box office. It wasn't the holiday blockbuster that was predicted, but it has become a bit of a cult movie over the years.

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Thursday, July 1, 2021

"I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love" by Chicago

Song#:  3541
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  71
Peak:  3
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary


Pop Bits:  The band's first album after the departure of long time lead singer Peter Cetera, Chicago 18, nearly did a nose dive upon release when its first single tanked. Luckily, the the second single, "Will You Still Love Me," became a #3 Pop/#2 AC hit and salvaged the LP, which peaked at #35 and went gold. Taking hints from what worked from that album, the band chose to continue down the commercial pop/AC road and record songs with hit potential from outside writers. They also selected to change producer moving from David Foster, who had been with them since their 1982 comeback LP, to Ron Nevison (Heart). Nevison would helm the potential hits while the other tracks would be produced by Chas Sandford. Up first for release was this power ballad written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond. It fell right in line with Chicago's new signature sound and that seemed to please listeners. The song would peak at the same #3 as their previous Top 10 while getting to #5 at AC. The hit, however, didn't really send album flying up the chart. Initially, it peaked at #43. Sales stayed fairly consistent though and by the end of summer it would go gold. That wouldn't be the end of the story though as a late-career #1 would help boost sales.

ReduxReview:  At the time this came out I was so over with the whole Chicago thing. It seemed the only thing they could hit with was big ballads and they just all started to blend together. I got bored with them and basically began to ignore the band. Since a few decades have gone by, I can view the songs a bit differently. While the run of hits still kind of meld into one gigantic ballad pop symphony of sorts, some of the tunes I can appreciate a little more. This Warren/Hammond tune was well-written and had a hook that was instantly memorable. If Chicago hadn't picked it up, it would have been an easy hit for someone else. It was also a good idea to move on from David Foster. Ron Nevison's production was beefy and added in a bit of a rock edge. It made the song even more thunderous than their previous power ballad hits. In retrospect, the song was pretty good. Still, a little Chicago from this era goes a long way for me.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song featured vocals by band member Bill Champlin. Champlin began working with Chicago in the early 80s and it even seems that it was him who suggested they work with David Foster for what would be their comeback album, 1982's Chicago 16. He began working with the band as keyboardist, vocalist, and composer with that album. Over the next two albums, Champlin's role increased and he would provide lead vocals on a couple of album tracks while doing some co-leads with Peter Cetera including some of their big hits like "Hard Habit to Break" (#3 Pop, 1984). When Cetera left the band, they hired in Jason Scheff as a replacement. Still, Champlin would head up an album track or two while providing vocals alongside Scheff. By the time Chicago 19 came around, Champlin was lead singer on half of the tracks, which included this hit and its follow-ups. Champlin would remain with the band until 2009.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

"1-2-3" by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3540
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  76
Peak:  3
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop


Pop Bits:  Estefan and MSM's 1987 album Let It Loose proved to be another big seller for them. It would be their first to go Top 10 and their second to achieve multi-platinum status. It got there thanks to three Pop Top 10 hits including "Anything for You," which became the group's first #1. That song was the fourth single from the album and since it did top the Pop chart, it was a logical move to capitalize on the momentum and push out a fifth single. This album track was given a bit of a remix and released. It would be another winner for Estefan and MSM making it to #3 at Pop. It would also be their third consecutive #1 on the AC chart. The hit did help album sales and eventually it would sell over three million copies.

ReduxReview:  I was always annoyed with the title of this song. The first part of the chorus, Estefan sings "1-2-3-4." That is the complete melody of that section. Yet for some reason they decided to title the track "1-2-3."  Where is the 4? The OCD in me demands that there be a 4 in the title as that is the phrase the chorus uses. I'm guessing they shortened it because 1-2-3 is a somewhat universal thing like ABC and it was easier for people to say and recognize. Poor number 4. It deserved a better fate! Anyway, I'm not sure if the band or their label expected they would go five singles deep into the LP, but they chose correctly for the last one and it was also smart to give it a boost with a remix as it was better than the album version. It was a fun, fluffy little track that easily added to their collection of Top 10 hits.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  By the time Estefan and the band wrapped up the tour in support of Let It Loose, there were no original members of Miami Sound Machine left. The final member to leave was Enrique "Kiki" Garcia. In addition to being the band's drummer, he also wrote or co-wrote songs for the band including this track, which he composed with Gloria Estefan. It was Garcia's song "Conga" that became the band's first mainstream hit (#10 Pop). Since MSM had become more of a supporting band for Estefan rather than a solid, sustainable unit, the Estefans decided to retire the Miami Sound Machine moniker. Therefore, Gloria Estefan's next album would be her first official outing as a solo artist.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

"Rag Doll" by Aerosmith

Song#:  3539
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  86
Peak:  17
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Hard Rock, Blues-Rock


Pop Bits:  Aerosmith had been struggling throughout the 80s and were nearly on the verge of calling it quits when they decided to clean up their act and dial in on making a concentrated comeback effort. Their rally paid off when the first two singles from their album Permanent Vacation made the Pop Top 20, which included the big #3 hit "Angel" (#2 Rock). For a follow-up, this next track was issued out. It would be another solid winner for them cracking the Pop Top 20 while getting to #12 at Rock. By this point in time, the album had already peaked at #11 and gone double-platinum. Eventually it would sell over five million copies. It was quite the comeback for the band, but it was only the beginning. Their next two albums would do even better.

ReduxReview:  The one-two stomp that opened this song became instantly memorable. When the first measure played on the radio, you knew exactly what it was and the volume got cranked. Everything about the song worked. The big beat, the chorus, the production, and Steven Tyler's ad libs at the end. It was just a fun track and I truly thought it would go Top 10. Although it stopped short, the song remained popular for quite a long time and it is still one in their catalog that gets airplay.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was first developed by lead singer Steven Tyler, guitarist Joe Perry, and hit making songwriter Jim Vallance. It was originally titled "Rag Time" as the song's feel was reminiscent of the ragtime music of the early 1900s. It was also a side reference to the many scarves that Tyler had on stage. Geffen Records exec John Kalodner heard the new tune and thought it was terrific, however he was not sold on the whole "Rag Time" thing. He didn't think a younger 80s audience would understand the references and suggested that they change a few things including the title. Tyler and Vallance attempted to come up with a new title, but nothing was working. So Kalodner brought in hit songwriter Holly Knight to see if she could help. After hearing the track, she suggested "Rag Doll" for the title along with a couple minor updates to the lyrics. Her suggestions made the difference and it earned her a songwriting credit on the tune.

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Monday, June 28, 2021

"Rhythm of Love" by Scorpions

Song#:  3538
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  89
Peak:  75
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal


Pop Bits:  Partly due to extensive touring, it would take the Scorpions four years to follow up their most successful album to-date in the US, 1984's Love at First Sting. It was a #6 triple-platinum seller that featured the #5 Rock/#25 Pop hit "Rock You Like a Hurricane." For their next studio album, Savage Amusement, the band and long time producer Dieter Dierks would try to stay in step with other glam bands having success, such as Def Leppard, and adopt a more polished, commercial-leaning sound. This first single was pushed out and it was greeted well at Rock where the track got to #6, however it couldn't make an impact at Pop and stalled in the bottom quarter of the chart. A second single, "Believe in Love," got to #12 at Rock, but failed to make the Pop chart. Although there was little to promote the album in a more mainstream way, the LP still managed to reach #5 and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  This mid-tempo rocker was a good track with a solid chorus, but I just don't think it was quite in-line with other glam metal hits happening at the time. This was a more serious tune whereas some of the other glam hits were party/arena style anthems or big power ballads. Obviously, this track worked well for rock radio, but it wasn't quite the polished crossover tune that they perhaps thought they had or wanted. Still, their popularity kept them afloat with a platinum album, but that was quite a drop from the three-plus million sales of the superior Love at First Sting.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The band's next album, 1990's Crazy World, would spawn their most successful single. The power ballad "Winds of Change" would be released as the third single from the LP. Written by lead singer Klaus Meine, the song was inspired by the band's participation in the '89 Moscow Music Peace Festival along with "glasnost," the new shared openness expressed by the Soviet Union, which was on the verge of collapse. The message of the song resonated worldwide and the single became a Top 10 or #1 hit in many countries. In the US, the song got to #4 Pop and #2 Rock. Sales were strong with the single going gold. While the album would only reach #21, it would end up being a double-platinum seller. The band's success on the charts would dwindle after the album, but they remained a top concert draw over the years and continue to record and release albums.

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

"Do You Love Me" by The Contours

Song#:  3537
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  11
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Soundtrack


Pop Bits:  The '87 film Dirty Dancing was an unexpected hit that generated a massively successful soundtrack album. It would spend eighteen non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart thanks to three Top 5 singles. After a fourth single failed to crack the Pop Top 40, it seemed like the soundtrack and film were all set to happily ride into the sunset. However, it seems fans and those behind the movie and soundtrack were not ready to let go. While the soundtrack only contained twelve tracks, the movie featured many other songs. With interest still high, it was decided that a sequel album with more songs from the film would be culled. Titled More Dirty Dancing, it would be released in March of '88. One track on the LP, the classic "Do You Love Me" by The Contours, seemed to be a fan favorite so it got issued out as a single. The oldie began to climb the Pop chart and it eventually wound up peaking just outside the Top 10 at the dreaded #11 spot. The revived hit helped the album reach #3 and eventually it would sell over four million copies.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that this song drove me crazy back in the day. I was working as a DJ at a skating rink at the time and it was a highly requested song by younger kids and older adults, so I was constantly playing it at every session for a long while. I just got so tired of the song. Now that a lot of time has gone by, I can easily hear it again and enjoy it. The song is a Motown classic along with being a darn good party song thanks to the song's driving groove and Billy Gordon's boisterous lead vocal. They never got another song as good from Berry Gordy, but at least they got this one that made them stars not once, but twice.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The Contours were a Detroit vocal group that got signed to Motown in 1961. Their first two singles didn't chart, but then Berry Gordy wrote "Do You Love Me" and had the group record it. It would become a major hit for them reaching #1 R&B and #3 Pop. Unfortunately, the group was unable to score another major hit. They were able to get four songs into the R&B Top 20, but nothing that truly pushed their career forward. By '67, the group's contract with Motown expired and they split. They would reform several times over the years with original member Joe Billingslea heading up various lineups. Of course when "Do You Love Me" hit again, there was interest in the group and they would reform to participate in a Dirty Dancing tour. In 1990, they would record a new album, Flashback, but it failed to chart.  2) For anyone who still hadn't had enough of Dirty Dancing, in the summer of '88 a live concert show was assembled that toured the US. Dirty Dancing: The Concert Tour featured acts that appeared on the soundtrack albums including Bill Medley, Eric Carmen, Merry Clayton, and The Contours. There were also, of course, dancers...well...dirty dancers I guess. Although critics did not like the show, fans showed up in droves and the tour was highly successful.

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