Tuesday, October 4, 2022

"Talk It Over" by Grayson Hugh

Song#:  3944
Date:  06/24/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  19
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  This Connecticut-born singer/songwriter learned piano at a young age. Over the years, a variety of music experiences including a stint as a gospel choir pianist and working with jazz musicians would help shape his sound. In 1980, he was able to record an indie self-titled debut album that combined elements of rock, jazz, and blues. Nothing much came from the LP, but Hugh continued to work on projects and perform. After a move to NYC in the mid-80s, things began to take off for Hugh. He got a gig doing background vocals on an album by the UK band The Blow Monkeys. This was after they scored their one and only US chart hit, 1986's #14 "Digging Your Scene." An A&R rep for the band's label, RCA, took notice of Hugh and after working up a demo he was signed to the label. Work began on an album to be titled Blind to Reason that would be finished in '88. An initial single, "Tears of Love," would be released, but it failed to gain any support. Then this soulful tune would be released next. It would eventually find an audience and would end up cracking the Pop Top 20 while reaching #9 at AC. The hit would help the album reach #71.

ReduxReview:  This AC-leaning soulful track wasn't something that was common on the Pop chart at the time. However, there was always a market for one. It just had to be that right tune that could click with audiences and this just happened to do the trick. It was a nicely performed track with a terrific background vocal arrangement. Frankly, I wouldn't have predicted it to be a hit at Pop, but it did sound like it would do well at AC. It was the right song at the right time and it kicked off Hugh's career. However, the tune didn't seem to have legs. I haven't heard this song since it was on the chart. Another forgotten 80s relic.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Does this song sound familiar? It might not for some, but Olivia Newton-John fans might recognize it. According to Hugh, the story goes that he was looking for a song for his demo tape and happened to be at the home of composer Sandy Linzer. Hugh found one titled "Can We Talk It Over in Bed" that Linzer had co-written with Irwin Levine. He thought it had potential, so he took it home to work on it. Hugh enhanced the tune and gave it a new arrangement. He got it recorded and it was one of the songs that helped get Hugh signed to RCA. This was in 1987. Hugh then went ahead and officially cut the track for his debut album. The label then wanted it to be the first single. But then a complication arose. It seems that the newly uncovered song somehow found its way over to Olivia Newton-John. While it's not clear how that happened, it seems that Linzer certainly knew about it and perhaps because of Newton-John being an established star, Linzer arranged a "right of first release" agreement with the publisher and the Newton-John camp. That meant that no one else could legally release the song prior to Newton-John. Her album The Rumour would come out in August of '88. The title track would not do well faltering at #62 Pop. She then released "Can We Talk It Over in Bed" as the second single. It would tank not reaching any chart. Luckily, Hugh and RCA decided to wait it out and with the altered title of "Talk It Over," Hugh's version was finally released. He would end up having a Pop Top 20 hit with the song.


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