Monday, April 4, 2022

"A Shoulder to Cry On" by Tommy Page

Song#:  3797
Date:  02/11/1989
Debut:  91
Peak:  29
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This singer/songwriter from New Jersey began to try and break into the music business during his teen years. He and his brother Bill formed a trio called Broken Promises with drummer Tiger Senif. They issued out a self-titled indie EP in 1985. It didn't result in any kind of break for the trio, so Tommy moved to New York, attended college, and worked at a NYC nightclub in hopes of maybe catching a break somehow. That actually happened when Page got the DJ to play one of his demos when a Sire Records exec happened to show up. The tune caught his ear and it got Page the break he was looking for. Around that time, Sire was assembling the soundtrack to the 60s-themed comedy Shag. Needing a title song, the label asked Page to come up with one. He wrote and recorded "The Shag" and it made the soundtrack, the film, and was even issued out as a single, although it failed to chart. Sire then gave Page the opportunity to release another single. The synthpop tune "Turning Me On" would be pushed out, but it failed to chart. However, it ended up doing well in Asia and that afforded Page the opportunity to record a self-titled debut album. For a second single, this track that was produced by Arif and Joe Mardin was issued out. It took a little time, but the song caught on enough to crack the Pop Top 30. Follow-up singles failed to chart at Pop, but "A Zillion Kisses" did become a blip on the Dance chart at #45. Without a bigger hit single, the album stalled at a low #166. 

ReduxReview:  Page didn't necessarily have a strong voice, but he had an interesting boyish tone that elevated his tepid synthpop tracks. He sounded best on this song, which also got a boost from the Mardins' production. It was a lovely, sweeping, sentimental tune that reflected his young age and served as a good introduction for the teen market. It probably should have done a bit better, but a Top 30 showing wasn't too bad. He would earn a #1 the following year with a little help from some new music stars (see below), but that would be it. I just don't think he had the material necessary to take him to the next level.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  While promoting his debut album, Page was sent out on tour with New Kids on the Block and Tiffany. During the tour, Page and NKOTB member Jordan Knight had an opportunity to play some of their compositions for each other. One that Knight had started to come up with was "I'll Be Your Everything." Page liked the tune and when Knight said it wasn't really right for NKOTB, Page asked if he could finish it off and perhaps record it. The pair got with other NKOTB member Danny Wood and completed the song. Page would then record it with NKOTB backing him (and Knight and Danny Wahlberg co-producing) for his second solo album, 1990's Paintings in My Mind. It would be the LP's first single and it would end up becoming a #1 Pop song (#31 AC). It would also be a gold seller. The hit would help the album reach #38. The only other single from the album to do anything was the #42 "When I Dream of You," which would end up being Page's last on the Pop chart. His third and fourth albums failed to gain any attention and that left Page off of the Sire roster. However, with a loyal following, Page would get to record two more albums for the Asian market. By the 2000s, Page had switched to the business side of music and became an A&R exec at Warner Bros. He would also do a stint as publisher of Billboard magazine. Sadly, in 2017 Page committed suicide.


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