Saturday, September 11, 2021

"Long and Lasting Love (Once in a Lifetime)" by Glenn Medeiros

Song#:  3610
Date:  08/13/1988
Debut:  97
Peak:  68
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After winning a talent contest in Hawaii, teenage singer Medeiros found himself in the national spotlight thanks to the single "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You," which got to #12 Pop and #4 AC. Two follow-up singles from his 1987 self-titled debut album fared less well, but the one hit gave the young singer the opportunity to record a second LP. He would work with various songwriters and producers to come up with Not Me and this first single got things kicked off. Unfortunately, the tune didn't really catch on and it stalled in the bottom half of the Pop chart. A follow-up single, "Never Get Enough of You," would get to #30 Dance, but fail to make the Pop chart. With those results, the album came and went quickly.

ReduxReview:  The folks behind Medeiros, like his label and management, did him zero favors with his second album. Yes, he broke through with a ballad, but there was no need to try and turn him into an AC crooner at the age of eighteen. Maybe Medeiros wanted to go in that direction, but it just seemed really odd to have this teenager singing mature ballads such as this one. It didn't quite make sense and it seems the public agreed. The album itself was full of a mish-mash of styles as if they were trying to find something that would stick. There was a rock tune courtesy of Michael Bolton, a couple flimsy dance-pop tracks, a freestyle effort, and a few Diane Warren co-writes. In reality, none of it was bad. In fact, a couple of tracks were quite good including "Some Day Love," which would have been an interesting single. He just really needed one producer to guide the project and make it cohesive; and the old school AC ballads like this one needed to be eliminated. Medeiros had the voice and the look. He just needed the right material and producer. He'd finally get that with his next album.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song original recorded by cabaret singer Jane Oliver. Written by Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser, the song was included on Oliver's 1980 album The Best Side of Me, which Masser had a hand in producing. It was not issued out as a single. The LP would be Oliver's best showing on the chart reaching #58.  2) After Not Me failed to chart, Medeiros sought to change direction. He hooked up with MCA Records for his third album, which would be his second self-titled effort (apparently as a way to relaunch himself). MCA matched him up with producers/songwriters Ian Prince and Antonina Armato and that pair along with Denny Diante would head up nearly all the tracks on the album, which took Medeiros in a more current new jack direction. Also on board for a couple of tracks was newly minted new jack star Bobby Brown, who was Medeiros' label mate. Brown would write and produce one track for the album, then co-write and appear on another track titled "She Ain't Worth It." That song was released as a single and in 1990 it would reach #1 at Pop. It would also be a gold seller. It seemed that Medeiros had finally found the right formula for success, but then just as quickly as he had a #1, he was gone. The first single from his next album in 1993 failed to chart and that left his album not getting released in the US. A Christmas album would come next, but then Medeiros would shift gears again and move towards Hawaiian music (Hawaii was his home state). After his time on the charts, Medeiros would work in education in Hawaii. He would teach in several schools and eventually become the principal of a Catholic school. Along the way, he would still perform shows at resorts in Waikiki.


Friday, September 10, 2021

"What You See Is What You Get" by Brenda K. Starr

Song#:  3609
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  79
Peak:  24
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Freestyle

Pop Bits:  Starr's self-titled second album would prove to be a breakthrough for the young artist when its third single, the ballad "I Still Believe," would crack the Pop Top 20 at #13. The hit would help the album make it to #58. To follow it up, this dance-oriented track was selected. The tune was actually the first single released from the album and in February of '87 it got to #6 on the Dance chart, however it failed to make the Pop chart. Due "I Still Believe" becoming a hit, Starr's label, MCA, decided to reissue this song to pop radio since it basically got ignored the first time. On its second go-around, the tune did much better getting close to the Pop Top 20 mark. Further singles failed to make an impact. Starr would then leave MCA and sign on with Epic. Her first effort for the label was a duet with Latin freestyle singer George Lamond titled "No Matter What." It would be released as the fourth single from Lamond's 1990 debut album Bad of the Heart. The song would get to #47 at Pop. Starr then got to record her third album By Heart. Unfortunately it got nowhere and Starr was dropped from the label.

ReduxReview:  This was a dance hit the first time around yet for some reason it didn't gain a pop audience. I'm not sure if it had to do with promotion or something else, but it really should have caught on when first released. It was a solid track with good production and a hooky chorus. Freestyle was beginning to take off when it was initially released, so the market was ready for the track. Luckily, it got a second chance after "I Still Believe" broke. It really should have made the Top 20.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After her third album tanked, Starr floundered throughout the 90s. She recorded several one-off singles for indie labels, but nothing clicked. Starr's roots were in Puerto Rico and after learning Spanish she decided to make a career shift from freestyle/dance-pop to Latin pop. In 1997, she signed on with Miami-based Parcha Records and recorded the album Te Siga Esperando. Its first single, a cover of the 1990 Miriam Hernández hit "Herida," would reach #1 on the US Tropical/Salsa Tracks chart. Other hits would follow including a second #1 in 2002, "Por Ese Hombre." It was from her #3 Tropical album Temptation. Both the song and the album would earn Starr two Latin Grammy nominations.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

"Staying Together" by Debbie Gibson

Song#:  3608
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  84
Peak:  22
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This teenager's debut album, Out of the Blue, was basically an out-of-the-blue major success. By this point in time it had reach #7, gone double-platinum, and spawned four Pop Top 10 hits including the #1 "Foolish Beat." Since that chart topper was the fourth single released from the LP, it seemed logical to release a fifth single to capitalize on the momentum. This next track was selected, but it didn't catch on as well as her previous singles and stopped shy of the Pop Top 20. Still, it seemed to boost album sales a little and by December of '88 the LP would reach the triple-platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  I highly doubt that Gibson or her label planned on having to release a fifth single from the album. I'm sure they were even surprised by the three Top 10s and then shocked by the #1 peak of "Foolish Beat." The rest of the tracks on the album were pretty good pop tracks, but none really stood out as singles, so it was a crap shoot as to what to push out for a fifth single. This one wasn't a bad choice as its urgent beat and production was different from her previous hits. It actually did better on the chart than what I thought it would. It was a good tune, but it didn't make for a memorable single.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The cover of the album shows Gibson with a stuffed animal on a white background. Gibson is sitting on the floor with one leg down and the other bent toward her face. For the shoot with British-born photographer Adrian Buckmaster, Gibson wore a pair of faded jeans that were worn and torn at the knees. With her one leg bent up towards her face, Buckmaster thought that her exposed knee was competing for attention with her face. Gibson like the pose a lot, but it wasn't quite right for Buckmaster. As an experiment to keep her knee from drawing focus, the shoot's makeup artist drew a face on Gibson's knee. That bit of distraction seemed to work for both Gibson and Buckmaster and the final cover features the little knee face. Apparently, fans noticed the minor addition on the cover and it wasn't long before teen girls all over were doing imitations on their knees, especially when attending Gibson's concerts.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

"The Dead Heart" by Midnight Oil

Song#:  3607
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  88
Peak:  53
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  The Aussie band reached the US Pop chart for the first time with "Beds Are Burning," the first single from their album Diesel and Dust. The song would reach #17 while getting to #6 at Rock. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. Although it would do well at Rock nearly making the Top 10 at #11, it would stall on the Pop chart just outside of the Top 50. A third single, "Dreamworld," would get to #37 Rock and #16 Alt Rock, but it failed to crack the Pop chart. The album would top out at #21 and go platinum. In 1990, the band would release their next LP Blue Sky Mining. Its first single, "Blue Sky Mine," would reach #1 at Rock and Alt Rock while making it to #47 Pop. The album would get to #20 and go gold. Things then cooled off for the band in the US with their next two albums performing successively less well on the Pop chart. In Australia, all of their studio albums since 1982 made the Top 10. In 2020, their album The Makarrata Project became their fourth to reach #1.

ReduxReview:  I liked "Beds Are Burning," but it was this single that made me buy the album. I thought it was an amazing song. It was intense and had terrific production with that low buzz growl heard on occasion for emphasis along with the reverb-laden drum fills in the background. The majority of the song was dark and dense, but then the long outro flipped the song into a major key and sweeter sounds like bells and (synth) strings were introduced. While the tune did have a chorus, it didn't include the title and wasn't necessarily catchy. That along with the ominous sound of the track and political-leaning lyrics were not going to do the song any favors on the Pop chart, which was too bad as it was an incredible track. It still sounds amazing.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song was written for a documentary called Uluru: An Anangu Story. The band, who was supportive of Aboriginal issues including land rights, was approached to write a song for the film's soundtrack. The documentary was to focus on the Australian government returning ownership of Uluru, also knows as Ayers Rock, to the original Aboriginal people, which was to happen in October of 1985. Midnight Oil agreed to contribute a song. They wrote three songs including "Beds Are Burning" and "The Dead Heart" and submitted them. "The Dead Heart" was selected by the filmmakers for use. It would also be pushed out as a single in Australia in 1986. It would reach #4. The band then went on to make Diesel and Dust, which included the song. Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, is one of Australia's most famous landmarks located in the Northern Territory. The sandstone formation stands over a thousand feet high and has been a tourist attraction for decades. Uluru and the national park were the setting for the 1988 film "A Cry in the Dark" starring Meryl Streep. The drama was about the real life story of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain and the disappearance of their daughter while camping near Uluru. The Chamberlains was convicted of killing their daughter based on circumstantial evidence. They were later released due to evidence discovered that pointed towards their innocence. The film is perhaps most well known for Streep's line "the dingo's got my baby." However in pop culture the phrase somehow got misquoted and turned into "the dingo ate my baby." Streep would receive and Oscar nod for Best Actress for her portrayal of Lindy Chamberlain.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Forever Young" by Rod Stewart

Song#:  3606
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  12
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  After the lackluster performance of his 1986 album Every Beat of My Heart, Stewart got some help from Power Station members Andy Taylor and Bernard Edwards for his next effort Out of Order. The change began to pay off with the LP's first single, "Lost in You," reaching #12 Pop/#3 Rock. Next up for release was this track. It would take a little bit of time to catch on, but it would eventually peak just outside of the Pop Top 10 while getting to #3 AC and #13 Rock. The hit would help the album reach #21 in October of '88, but that would not be its highest position on the chart. A third hit single would make the album rebound to a higher peak in '89. By the end of '88, the album would already be platinum certified; a sales level Stewart hadn't seen since 1981's Body Wishes.

ReduxReview:  This rolling track pushed the sentimentality button for a lot of folks. Although it wasn't a loud, in your face type of arena song, it did come off as an anthem of sorts. The composition sounded like a folks song, but it was pushed into the late 80s with a nice rock production by Stewart and Andy Taylor. It was certainly memorable with Stewart singing "forever young" scads of times throughout the track. There was no doubt as to what the song title was! It was a lovely tune from Stewart that I thought would crack the Top 10, but it stalled just short. He would get over that threshold with his next single.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The initial inspiration for this song was Stewart's kids. He realized that time was passing by quickly and his work was taking him away from watching his kids grow up (his two younger ones with first wife Alana Hamilton - he would have a newborn in June of '87 with new then girlfriend Kelly Emberg). He altered his lifestyle to spend more time with his kids including taking them on tour. Stewart would write "Forever Young" with his band member Jim Cregan and Kevin Savigar. However, once the song was finished and recorded, someone mentioned that Bob Dylan had a song called "Forever Young." Stewart and his team dug up the track and realized that there were similarities between the two songs. To avoid any potential issues, Stewart's manager sent the song to Dylan to see if he had any problems with Stewart releasing the song. Dylan didn't, however he wanted a cut of the royalties. Stewart agreed. Although Dylan would get royalties from the song, he wouldn't receive a composer credit so further pressings of the album or the songs appearance on any collection usually show just Stewart, Cregan, and Savigar as writers. Stewart would donate his royalties from the single to healthcare organizations for the homeless in the US. Dylan's original "Forever Young" appeared on his 1974 album Planet Waves. It would actually be included twice on the album; once as a slow version and then as a faster one. Neither were released as singles, but the song quickly became a favorite in Dylan's catalog. The album would be Dylan's first to hit #1. Its only charting single was "On a Night Like This," which he recorded with The Band. It got to #44.


Monday, September 6, 2021

"Off on Your Own (Girl)" by Al B. Sure!

Song#:  3605
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  93
Peak:  45
Weeks:  12
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  This singer/songwriter nabbed his first R&B #1 hit with "Nite and Day," the first single from his debut album In Effect Mode. The song would also be his first to make the Pop Top 10 getting to #7. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. Over at R&B, the tune would replicate the success of his first single and hit #1. Unfortunately it didn't do as well at Pop where it stalled short of the Top 40. The album had already reached #1 R&B and #20 Pop and a week after this song debuted on the Pop chart, the LP would be certified platinum.

ReduxReview:  "Nite and Day" was a sleek and sexy track that was prime for crossover action. This follow-up didn't quite have the same mainstream appeal. The hook wasn't quite as memorable or catchy and then it kind of veered off in various directions including a pseudo rap section. The whole back end of the tune was kind of scattered and odd. "Nite and Day" was crisp and clean whereas this song was a bit messy and unfocused. There were good elements in it, but as a whole the track didn't fully come together.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The success that Albert Joseph Brown III, aka Al B. Sure!, had with his first album allowed him to branch out and work with other artists. Among his first ventures was writing and producing for the R&B vocal quartet Jodeci. Brown co-produced six tracks for their 1991 debut album Forever My Lady co-writing two of those tracks; the title track and "Come and Talk to Me." Both songs would be singles and would reach #1 at R&B (#25 and #11 Pop, respectively). The album would hit #1 R&B/#18 Pop and sell over three million copies. He also worked on the debut albums of Prince protégé Tevin Campbell and Usher.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

"Lead Me On" by Amy Grant

Song#:  3604
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  96
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Contemporary Christian

Pop Bits:  This popular Contemporary Christian singer/songwriter edged towards the mainstream with her sixth album Unguarded. The LP would yield a pair of Pop chart entries including the #29 "Find a Way" (#7 AC) and become a platinum seller that reached #35. While it significantly raised Grant's profile, some in the CC community were not necessarily thrilled with her more secular approach. It didn't help matters when she reached #1 Pop with "The Next Time I Fall," a love song duet with Peter Cetera. Whether the minor backlash was a factor or not, for her next effort, Lead Me On, Grant shied away from the mainstream pop she dabbled in and returned to her CC roots. The reversal was welcomed by her core crowd with both the album and its first single, "Saved By Love," hitting #1 on the CC charts. Over in the Pop world, that initial single didn't click and it failed to chart, although it did reach #32 at AC. This second single got to #5 CC while making it to #34 AC. It was able to gain some very slight support at Pop and became a blip on the chart for a couple of weeks. Two more tracks from the album would get to #1 at CC while another would reach #8. Even though mainstream support wasn't as prevalent this time around, the LP got to #71 Pop and became a gold seller. It would also earn her a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Female.  In 2001, CCM Magazine would place Lead Me On at #1 on their list of the greatest albums in Christian music.

ReduxReviewUnguarded had pop-leaning tracks that were fun and catchy. It took Grant's music in a different direction and it paid off. Because of its success, I think most folks were looking for her to do something similar or move even further towards the mainstream music. So the fact that she retreated a bit to more overt CC music with Lead Me On was a bit of a surprise. It was a more serious and mature effort with tracks given a rock production sheen that was different from the synthpop feel of Unguarded. The rolling folk-ish opening track "1974" set the tone with this grand title track showcasing soaring guitars and echoing drums. The album sounded powerful and is arguably Grant's best work. The only problem was that it didn't have any catchy pop hooks so its commercial viability at mainstream radio was limited. This title track is a terrific song, but it just wasn't Pop Top 40 fare. In the long run, it didn't matter because the album was so strong. She would return to hook-laden pop with her next LP and it would become her biggest success featuring some fun pop hits, yet it paled in comparison to the majestic and affecting Lead Me On.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Although it seemed like Unguarded was just a diversion into the mainstream pop world, Grant would push the envelope even further with her 1991 album Hearts in Motion. It featured far less Christian themed tracks than even Unguarded with music and production that rivaled any songs on the Pop chart. The first single, "Baby Baby," caught fire and got to #1 at Pop. In doing so she became the first CC artist to have a solo single top the chart. The song also got to #1 at AC. The album would generate three more Pop Top 10s and another Top 20. The hits would send the album to #10 and over time it would sell over five million copies. "Baby Baby" would get Grammy nods for Song and Record of the Year while Hearts in Motion would get one for Album of the Year. Her next album, House of Love, would also be a pop/CC mix that would reach #13 and go double-platinum thanks mainly to the #18 Pop/#2 AC hit "Lucky One." Her 1997 album Behind the Eyes would get to #8 and go gold. After that, Grant would return to Christian music and on occasion dabble with more secular tunes. Her Christmas albums would be popular with 1992's Home For Christmas hitting #2 Pop and selling over three million copies. As of this posting date, Grant had won six Grammys over nineteen nominations. Her success has often gotten her dubbed as The Queen of Christian Pop.