Thursday, April 14, 2022

"Room to Move" by Animotion

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3806
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  9
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This band headed up by Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane scored a memorable hit in 1985 with "Obsession." The single would get to #6 and it would help their self-titled debut album reach #28. A second album, Strange Behavior, fared less well (#71), but the band was given the opportunity to record a third album. By that point in time, only three original members remained the group - Wadhams, Plane, and bassist Charles Ottavio. As sessions began, things fell apart. Plane and Ottavio (who would later marry) were dismissed from the band. Then Wadhams, who had been the band's main songwriter, decided to depart due to the label not letting him write/contribute songs to the new album. With three original key members gone, the label could have just called it a day on Animotion. However, they decided to keep guitarist Don Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Greg Smith and then augment them with two new lead singers. Actress/singer Cynthia Rhodes was hired in along with former Device frontman Paul Engemann. Flanked by session musicians, the new lineup recorded a second self-titled album. Not surprising, all tracks save for one on the LP were by outside writers including this first single. The tune found an audience and snaked its way up into the Pop Top 10 (#46 AC). The hit didn't necessarily ignite album sales and it would stall at a low #110.

ReduxReview:  When I first heard this song back in the day, it sounded so familiar, but I couldn't quite figure out why. Back then there was no internet to quickly look up things, so I did a little sleuthing and found out who wrote the song. Then it dawned on me - I actually owned the original version (see below). I had the album it was originally on and then it made sense. I like both versions. The original leaned towards blue-eyed soul while Animotion's take on it was more high-energy pop, which did make it a good candidate for single release. It was a catchy tune with energetic production. Having the female/male lead vocals was also a good choice. While this era of the band was really Animotion in name only, at least this hit helped to keep the one-hit wonder tag at bay.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally written by Simon Climie, Rob Fisher, and Dennis Morgan and recorded by Climie Fisher. It was included on the duo's 1987 debut album Everything. It was not released as a single. Everything had reached the Top 10 in many countries thanks to its hit single "Love Changes (Everything)." However, in the US the song only got to #23 and the album stopped at #120.  2) As an actress/dancer, Cynthia Rhodes started to get noticed when she secured a role in the 1983 sleeper hit Flashdance. That led to her getting a leading role opposite John Travolta in the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive. She would also get a good role in another sleeper hit, 1987's Dirty Dancing. It was after that film that Rhodes was hired on for Animotion. She ended up being the only band member to write a song that appeared on the album. Rhodes co-wrote "The Way Into Your Heart" with her soon-to-be husband and newly minted solo star Richard Marx. The pair had met years earlier when Marx was recording a demo song for Staying Alive (the song didn't make the cut). However, they didn't started dating until a couple of years later. Rhodes would appear in the video for Marx's first hit, '87's #3 "Don't Mean Nothin'." After Animotion dissolved, Rhodes appeared in one more film, but then left the business to raise a family with Marx. The couple would divorce in 2014.  3) This song was selected for use in the '88 Dan Aykroyd/Kim Basinger sci-fi comedy flick My Stepmother Is an Alien. Animotion's song did far better than the film, which became a box office dud. The soundtrack album failed to chart despite the hit.


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