Friday, May 20, 2022

"Rock On" by Michael Damian

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3835
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  89
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Throughout the 80s, Damian made a name for himself acting on the TV soap The Young and the Restless. Having been a singer/performer since a young age, the experience helped him land the role of struggling musician Danny Romalotti. After starting that job in 1980, Damian attempted a solo career and released the single "She Did It" in '81. It could only reach #69 and it left Damian without a record deal. With his popularity growing on the soap, Damian was able to secure a contract with Columbia Records in '84. He would record two solo albums that were released in territories like Canada and Japan. It seems neither of them were promoted in the US. Then in '88, Damian got another opportunity. He signed on with the A&M offshoot label Cypress Records and recorded this song for the soundtrack to the teen comedy Dream a Little Dream. It was released as a single around the same time as the film's opening and it began to climb the Pop chart. It would eventually wind its way up to the #1 spot. It would be a gold seller that helped the soundtrack album get to #94. As Damian's single gained momentum, an album titled Where Do We Go from Here would quickly be assembled and released just as "Rock On" was topping the chart. It would peak at #61.

ReduxReview:  As a kid I really liked the mysterious sounding original of this song (see below). Then I enjoyed the remake by Toni Basil that was included on her '82 debut album Word of Mouth. However, when this version came along, I wasn't having it. I didn't like the synth-rock/dance-pop arrangement and wasn't a fan of Damian's vocal. It just hit me wrong and I ignored it. These days it just sounds like a product of its time and a vehicle for Damian to try and get his singing career started. It's not all that bad, but it still doesn't do anything for me - except perhaps drive me back to the icy cool original.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally written and recorded by English singer/songwriter David Essex in 1973. The single would reach #5 on the US Pop chart and #3 in the UK. In the US, it would be Essex's only significant hit making him a one-hit wonder. However, he became a big star in the UK scoring ten Top 10 hits including two #1s.  Many artists would cover the song, but thus far only Essex and Damian have reached the Pop chart with a version. However, in 2006 Def Leppard recorded the song and pushed it out as a promo digital single. It would get to #18 on the Rock chart.  2) The fantasy teen rom-com Dream a Little Dream starred the two Coreys - Haim and Feldman. The pair were friends that were sort of the teen "it" duo of the time. They would star together in nine films. Dream a Little Dream was their third film together and second as a top-billed duo. It received negative reviews and after a good opening weekend, the film quickly tanked. Despite its lack of box office receipts, it became a sort of cult flick and later in '95 a direct-to-video sequel would be released.


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