Monday, July 4, 2022

"Miss You Like Crazy" by Natalie Cole

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3868
Date:  04/15/1989
Debut:  75
Peak:  7
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, R&B

Pop Bits:  After earning seven consecutive gold or platinum albums in the 70s, Cole's career took a downturn in the 80s. Her first four albums of the decade failed to get close to gold level sales and none of them would supply her with a Top 10 Pop or R&B hit. She would switch labels twice, but that didn't help things. In 1987, she'd switch labels again and record the LP Everlasting. Working with a variety of hit making songwriters and producers, the album would finally revive Cole's sagging career. Its first two singles would make the R&B Top 10 with each one making it to #13 Pop. She then solidified her comeback with the #5 Pop/#9 R&B remake of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac." The album would then go gold. With the ship righted, Cole went back into the studio to record her next album that was appropriately titled Good to Be Back. This first single would be released and it would become her sixth R&B #1 and her first to top the AC chart. The tune would also be Cole's fifth Pop Top 10. A second single, a duet with Freddie Jackson titled "I Do," would make it to #7 R&B and #15 AC, but it would failed to make the Pop chart. Another track, "Starting Over Again," would get to #5 AC. With the album only featuring one major crossover hit, it would only get to #59 Pop/#21 R&B and miss out on gold status. Still, it was a better result than her first four albums of the 80s.

ReduxReview:  This tune was written by Gerry Goffin, Preston Glass, and Michael Masser. It was produced by Masser who had supplied tunes for Whitney Houston including the #1 "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (co-written with Will Jennings). It wouldn't surprise me if this song was originally written with Houston in mind. It sounded like something Houston would have recorded at the time. Cole luckily ended up with the tune and it worked out well for her. I liked this song better than "Didn't We Almost Have It All," which was an interminable track that had Houston screaming all over it. By contrast, this big ballad is a more succinct, easy listen with a powerful but tasteful vocal from Cole. It would end up being her final Pop Top 10 hit, but her next album would send her career to a new all-time peak.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Cole's next album would become the most successful of her career. In 1991, she would release the LP Unforgettable...with Love. The project found Cole paying tribute to her father Nat King Cole. She recorded a set of pop standards that had been performed by her father including signature hits like "L-O-V-E" and "Mona Lisa." For one of his most enduring songs, "Unforgettable," a bit of studio magic was done that had Natalie performing the track as a duet with Nat. It would be the first single from the album and it would do surprisingly well getting to #14 Pop, #10 R&B, and #3 AC. The concept album would become an unexpected smash hit reaching #1 Pop/#5 R&B. Eventually it would sell over seven million copies. The album would win two Grammys including one for Album of the Year while "Unforgettable" would win four Grammys including Record of the Year, Song of the Year. Cole's next two regular studio albums would consist of jazz and pop standards with each one earning Cole a Grammy. Her return to contemporary pop, 1999's Snowfall on the Sahara would fall flat (#163), so she would return to doing cover albums with the jazz effort Ask a Woman Who Knows (2002, #32 Pop), the R&B/pop covers LP Leavin' (#16 R&B), and the sequel to Unforgettable, 2008's Still Unforgettable. That album would get to #19 Pop/#8 R&B and would earn Cole her ninth and final Grammy award. Around that time Cole would go through health issues including having hepatitis C and getting a kidney transplant. She would die in 2015 of congestive heart failure.


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