Friday, April 22, 2022

"Where Are You Now?" by Synch

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3813
Date:  02/25/1989
Debut:  89
Peak:  10
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Wait...didn't this song already get covered?  Yep. This Pennsylvania-based band first released this single back in '86 when they had signed on with Columbia Records. It could only manage to reach #77 Pop at the time and that result left Synch off the Columbia roster. Eventually, Synch would break up. That could have been the end of the story, but a few years later the song started to get picked up again by several radio stations. As requests started to stack up, Columbia got wind of the song's resurgence and reissued it on the WTG label, a new imprint of Epic/CBS. On its second go-round, the single was credited to Jimmy Harnen w/Synch (Harnen was the song's co-writer and lead singer). Suddenly the song picked up momentum and it was once again climbing the Pop chart. Eventually it would find its way into the Top 10. AC jumped on board this time around and the tune made it to #3 on that chart. As the single was scaling the charts, Harnen was able to secure a solo deal with WTG and work quickly began on a debut album titled Can't Fight the Midnight. Unfortunately, singles from the album failed to chart and the album quickly disappeared along with Harnen's record deal. At least he and the band got a brief unexpected moment in the spotlight that got them tagged as a one-hit wonder.

ReduxReview:  As for the song, my original assessment is still valid. The only thing I can add is that the songs on Harnen's solo album, which included "Where Are You Now?" as the last track, were nothing like that sentimental ballad. Harnen went full-on arena/heartland rock. It was like a combo of Bryan Adams and Journey. His voice was also raspier than on the hit. The styles didn't quite match up and so for those that loved the smooth AC-leaning sounds of the hit, a rockin' single from Harnen wasn't what they wanted. It was definitely going to be hard to spin a new career off of an older, unexpected hit song so the odds were stacked against Harnen from the beginning. However, he made the odds worse with the direction/sound he went with for the LP. It was actually a fairly good album, but nothing on it came close to representing what he did with "Where Are You Now" and I think that kind of sunk his recording career.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The story goes that when this song first came out, a part-time DJ at a Richmond, Virginia, radio station, JJ Wright, liked the tune and decided to hold on to the promo single. He still had it with him when he moved on to a station in Buffalo, New York. While there, another older song, Benny Mardones' "Into the Night," was beginning to have a resurgence and that gave Wright the idea to dig out his Synch record. He handed it off to the station's program director who then passed it on to a national consultant who liked the tune enough to pass it on to other radio stations. Through those channels, the song started to get airplay and it began to catch the ears of listeners who didn't catch it the first time around. It wasn't long before the former #77 single finally made it into the Pop Top 10. Oddly, this song seemed to catch fire faster than "Into the Night" as that tune would not get reissued and back on the Pop chart until May of '89.


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