Saturday, January 8, 2022

"Back on Holiday" by Robbie Nevil

Song#:  3720
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  87
Peak:  34
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Nevil's 1986 self-titled debut album did well reaching #37 thanks to three Pop Top 20 hits. Two of those would reach the Top 10 including the #2 "C'est La Vie." After that success, Nevil then focused on making his second LP A Place Like This. Once completed, this first single was issued out. The song was able to make it into the Pop Top 40, but it stalled soon after and was unable to reach the heights of his three previous singles. It would also be a minor #52 entry at R&B. That result didn't help sell the album, which could only get to a low #118. It was a disappointment coming after a well-received debut.

ReduxReview:  Nevil's first three singles were winners because they were well-written tunes with strong hooks. To keep his momentum going, Nevil needed at least a couple of tracks on his next LP that were just as memorable, but he couldn't get that accomplished. The album itself was quite good, but the problem was that Nevil wasn't able to include at least one song that was as instantly catchy as his first hits. This one probably came closest, but with a less engaging chorus that sounded like it was done by a crowd rather than Nevil, the tune didn't fully take flight.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Nevil's younger brother Alex chose entertainment for a career as well, but Alex would go the acting route. Big fans of the hit show Cheers might recognize Alex from one of his early roles. For a two-part episode in the show's seventh season (1988), Alex Nevil would play the character Rebecca's (Kirstie Alley) new boss Martin Teal who she nearly marries. Nevil would get a potentially bigger break in 1992 when he became a regular side character on the Fox sitcom Shaky Ground, which starred Matt Frewer (of Max Headroom fame). Unfortunately, the show only lasted one season. Since then, Nevil has steadily made appearances on episodes of TV shows like Law and Order, Star Trek: Enterprise, NCIS, and That 70s Show.


Friday, January 7, 2022

"(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me" by Paula Abdul

Song#:  3719
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  88
Peak:  88
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Abdul's first single, "Knocked Out," did well at R&B (#8) and Dance (#14), but it didn't make much of an impression on the Pop chart where it stalled just shy of the Top 40 at #41. Still, it did well enough for her to finish off her debut album Forever Your Girl. Hoping for a better mainstream result, this second single was issued out. It was a remixed version of the album track and for the single release the "(It's Just)" was added to the title to help avoid confusion with the similarly titled Karyn White song "The Way You Love Me," which was already riding the charts. Once again the song was a winner at R&B reaching #10 while getting to #18 Dance. Unfortunately at Pop the song was virtually a non-starter. It peaked where it debuted on the chart and floated around the bottom for a few weeks. With those results, Abdul's album hit an initial peak of #43 R&B and #155 Pop. That easily could have been the end of the story for the album and even for Abdul's singing career, but then a third single would turn things around in a way that perhaps no one, not even Abdul, could have imagined.

ReduxReview:  If you are thinking - hey, wasn't this a Top 10 hit? - you'd be right. But not at this point. It would be reissued in 1989 after Abdul had scored three consecutive #1 hits. It deserved to be a hit when first issued out, but I think there may have been some obstacles at the time. "Knocked Out" scored at R&B, but it really wasn't that great of a single and it faltered at Pop. Since she broke through at R&B first, then I think this next single was pushed out to keep that audience, which it did. However, pop radio might have then ignored it because she may not have been as strongly marketed there. Regardless as to what happened, this should have been a hit from the get-go. It was well written and produced by Oliver Leiber and he does his best to get a good vocal from Abdul who could carry a tune, but was not a strong singer. Obviously, Abdul's next single was the one to really break her through, but this one should have gotten the job done first.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was written and produced by Oliver Leiber. He is the son of Jerry Leiber, who with writing partner Mike Stoller were one of the most successful songwriting teams in the early days of rock ("Hound Dog," "Yakety Yak," "Stand By Me," "Jailhouse Rock"). Oliver Leiber had moved from New York to Minneapolis and while there started to work on music. He met up with former Time/The Family member Paul Peterson, who was making a solo album at the time. The pair wrote "Rich Man," which ended up being Peterson's only solo entry on the R&B chart in 1987 (#32). When Peterson went to L.A. to do a video for the song, Leiber gave him a demo of a song he was working on. As it happened, Paula Abdul was at the video shoot and started talking about how she was signed to Virgin Records and was looking for songs in a Janet Jackson/Minneapolis style. Peterson then played her Leiber's demo song and Abdul flipped for it. That song was "The Way You Love Me" and it wasn't long before Leiber had his first major job as a songwriter/producer working with Abdul. Leiber would end up writing and producing three songs for Abdul's album. All three would be singles with two of them hitting #1 and this one (later) getting to #3.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

"I Wanna Have Some Fun" by Samantha Fox

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3718
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  89
Peak:  8
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Freestyle, House

Pop Bits:  Fox's first two albums both became gold sellers thanks to each sporting a Top 10 hit including the #3 "Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)." Could she make it three in a row? Fox gave it a shot with her third LP I Wanna Have Some Fun. To kick things off, the title track would be released as the first single. The tune got off to a slow start, but it would eventually wind its way up the chart and finally crack the Pop Top 10. It would also reach #2 Dance and #19 R&B. The single would sell well enough to go gold. In turn, the album would reach #37 and eventually go gold. Fox was able to make it three in a row, but unfortunately her luck ended here as this song would be her last to reach the US Top 10.

ReduxReview:  Full Force once again developed a solid track for Fox. It was fun, current, groovy, and highlighted the best of Fox's capable voice and personality. It was a track that moved Fox's sound and career forward. Unfortunately, it would be her last gasp as a hit maker. I'm not sure if anyone placed a big bet on the former Page 3 model becoming a pop star, but she managed to pull it off and along the way was able to toss out some pretty good dance-pop tracks.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Fox had success working with the writing/production team of Full Force on "Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)," so she hooked up with them again for two tracks on her third album including this first single. Full Force wrote the tune, but they did choose to use some samples in their production work. Perhaps the most prominent sample comes from the 1980 #1 Dance hit "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway. That song was written and produced by future pop star Dan Hartman. Fox's track used vocal samples from Holloway's hit. It wasn't the first nor the last time Holloway's vocals from the tune would be sampled. More famously, her vocal was used in the 1991 #1 Pop hit "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Fresh Bunch. Because the sample was so prominent, Holloway got a featured artist credit on the track and even appeared in the video. Holloway was never able to score a significant mainstream hit during her main recording days of '73 to '84. Her best showing on the Pop chart was 1975's "Cry to Me" (#68). At R&B, she nearly cracked the Top 10 in 1978 with the #11 "Only You" (with Bunny Sigler). However, in that time period she was able to get four songs in the Dance Top 10 including the #1 "Love Sensation." While Marky Mark gave Holloway proper credit for her contribution to their hit, British act Black Box did not. They used Holloway's vocals from "Love Sensation" for their #1 UK hit "Ride on Time" without her permission or that of writer Dan Hartman. For their appearances, Black Box hired a singer to mime Holloway's vocal part, which just made things worse. Legal action was taken that earned Hartman royalties and writing credit and Holloway receiving a payout. Black Box would then rerecord the song with vocalist Heather Small.


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

"I'm Gonna Miss You" by Kenny Loggins

Song#:  3717
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  90
Peak:  82
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Loggins hadn't released a solo album since '85's gold selling Vox Humana (#41). However, he wasn't sitting around idle. From '86 to the summer of  '88, Loggins would place four singles on the Pop chart that were all from film soundtracks. Included in the batch were the #2 "Danger Zone" from Top Gun and the #8 "Nobody's Fool" from Caddyshack II.  While the one-off soundtrack hits were great to have and helped to keep his career going, Loggins needed to return to non-movie solo work and by the fall of '88 he had completed his sixth studio album Back to Avalon. While it contained two of his previously released soundtrack hits, the LP still needed to be promoted with a new single and this track was selected. Unfortunately, it didn't get the job done. The tune stalled low on the Pop chart and disappeared after a few weeks. It didn't get any support at AC and missed making that chart. The failure didn't bode well for the future of the album and indeed it would only get to #69 and become Loggins' first solo effort to not at least go gold.

ReduxReview:  This song had that late-70s soft rock/blue-eyed soul feel that helped to kick off Loggins' solo career. Unfortunately, that wasn't something that was going to light up the charts in the late 80s. It also didn't help that Loggins had won over folks with heavily produced rockers and big ballads from soundtracks and this tune was nothing like those. This doesn't mean it was a bad song. It was just slightly too far astray from what Loggins had been doing and it wasn't what folks wanted to hear from him. And even though it was a pleasant little tune, it was a bit unremarkable and not all that single-worthy. Back to Avalon was a bit of a transition album for Loggins. It was as if he was trying to bridge his soundtrack hits with songs that he really wanted to write and record. It didn't really work out, but his next LP would do better at moving his career into a new phase.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In his solo career, Loggins scored five Pop Top 10 hits. Only one of those, 1978's "Whenever I Call You Friend" (featuring Stevie Nicks), would come from one of his solo albums. The remaining four all came from film soundtracks. Loggins would also place three more movie songs on the Pop chart along with one that topped the AC chart (1996's "For the First Time" from One Fine Day). His streak of film hits began with 1980's "I'm Alright" (#7) from Caddyshack. However, he initially kicked off his soundtrack contributions first as a songwriter. In 1976, Loggins co-wrote the song "I Believe in Love" with Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It would be recorded by Barbra Streisand and included on the soundtrack to her remake of A Star Is Born. In addition to being on the #1 soundtrack album, the tune was selected to be the b-side to the LP's first single, the #1 Oscar-winning "Evergreen." Around that time, Loggins had split from his long-time musical partner Jim Messina and was embarking on a solo career. For his debut LP, Loggins would record his own version of "I Believe in Love." It was selected to be the first single from the album Celebrate Me Home. It would become Loggins' first charting single reaching #66 Pop/#32 AC.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

"If You Feel It" by Denise Lopez

Song#:  3716
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  94
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Latin Freestyle, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  After a few attempts to get a career kicked off, this Queens, NY, native finally got a break when her first single for A&M Records, "Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make It Right)," got to #6 Dance while cracking the Pop Top 40 (#31). The good performance of the song gave Lopez the opportunity to record her debut album Truth in Disguise. Included on the LP was a song she had previously recorded for RCA Records "If You Feel It." That track had been released back in '87 by RCA, but it could only get to #35 Dance. Feeling that the song still had some life left to it, A&M decided to do new remixes of the track and issue it out as the next single from Lopez's album. It would do a little bit better the second time around, but not by much. It would get to #22 Dance while scraping the bottom of the Pop chart for a minor few weeks. A third single, "Too Much, Too Late," would get to #21 Dance, but miss the Pop chart. The album would end up peaking at a low #184.

ReduxReview:  Just like "Sayin' Sorry (Don't Make It Right)," this is a nicely done freestyle track that was typical for the day. It had hooks, Lopez sounded good, and the production was tight and professional. I actually like it just a bit better than "Sayin' Sorry," but it still wasn't a song that was going to push through the clutter and come out in the Top 10. It just wasn't all that memorable. Still, it was a nice freestyle tune and a fun listen.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) A&M gave Lopez a second shot and in 1990 she recorded her second album Every Dog Has Her Day. Its first single, "Don't You Wanna Be Mine," would only make a short appearance on the Pop chart peaking at #86. With that failed single, the album didn't chart and that seemed to have brought an end to Lopez's days at A&M. Save for a guest appearance on a '93 single by Status Control titled "Ain't You Happy (With What You Got)," it seems Lopez left the music biz after her two albums.  2) While virtually unknown in the US, there is another famous singer by the name of Denise Lopez. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, the other Denise Lopez would later relocate to Sweden and would begin in the music business as a backup singer/dancer. That led to a contract with Columbia Records in Sweden and in 1995 she issued out a debut album under her nickname DeDe titled TBA (Totally Bombastic Anecdotes). It was successful with her single "Party" reaching #8 in Sweden. She also gained a large following in Japan. A few more albums would follow including later ones under her given name of Denise Lopez or by DeDe Lopez. She would grab a #2 hit in Sweden in 2007 with "Turn You On," which was a collaboration with former Fugee member Pras Michel.


Monday, January 3, 2022

"You're Not My Kind of Girl" by New Edition

Song#:  3715
Date:  11/12/1988
Debut:  100
Peak:  95
Weeks:  4
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  The vocal group's '88 album Heart Break was their first to featured new member Johnny Gill and their first working with the production/songwriting team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It started off well with the first single, the new jack swing tune "If It Isn't Love," reaching #2 R&B and #7 Pop. The hit helped send the album to #3 R&B/#12 Pop and becoming a platinum seller. Next up for release from the LP was this second single. It would do well at R&B getting to #3, but at Pop it couldn't find an audience and fell off the chart after a short month at the bottom.

ReduxReview:  This song does even more than "If It Isn't Love" in moving the group in a more mature direction. Jam & Lewis came up with a song and a production job that provided a more sophisticated base for the vocalists. It nearly comes together with the background vocals being the best part. However, some of the sophistication is lessened by the still young sounding and less nuanced lead vocals. Then the spoken word part comes in and nearly ruins the whole song. For me it just wasn't necessary and it cheapened the whole thing. The tune was also less hooky/memorable than "If It Isn't Love" and that did it no favors at Pop. It was a half-step in the right direction that perhaps could have been better.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  While Johnny Gill would supply co-lead vocals for a few tracks on the album, the one song he fully headed up was one he didn't like. Gill was not a fan of the LP's final track "Boys to Men." At the time  the group was wanting to move in a more mature direction and Gill thought "Boys to Men" was a step back towards the group's earlier teen sound. Despite his objections, the song got recorded and became the last track on the LP. While Gill may not have been a fan of the tune, a group of young guys from Philly loved it enough to name themselves after the song. Boyz II Men first started to form in '85 under the name Unique Attraction. By '88, they had a steady line-up as a quintet and had updated their name to Boyz II Men after the New Edition song. In 1990, a friend of theirs happened to be doing body guard work for rapper Will Smith, who was going to be attending a local concert where the New Edition offshoot group Bell Biv DeVoe was to perform. The guy told the group to show up and he would put them in front of Will Smith and they could quickly perform for him. When they got to the venue, their contact wasn't there. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, they somehow sneaked backstage and ran into Bell Biv DeVoe. They seized upon the moment and sang for the trio. Michael Bivins was so impressed that he decided to manage the group. Pared to a quartet, Bivins got them signed to Motown and in 1991 their debut album Coolyhighharmony appeared. It would end up selling over 9 million copies. They would go on to be one of the biggest selling R&B acts of the 90s.