Saturday, May 28, 2022

"Real Love" by Jody Watley

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3840
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  73
Peak:  2
Weeks:  18
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Watley's first solo album following her departure from Shalamar became a platinum selling #10 hit thanks three Pop Top 10 hits including the #2 "Looking for a New Love." It also earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist. For her second album, Watley chose to continue her collaboration with songwriter/producer AndrĂ© Cymone. This time around, the pair would co-write and co-produce nearly all of the tracks on Larger Than Life, which included this first single (although Jeff Lorber would lend a production hand on the track). The song would take off and replicate the results of "Looking for a New Love" by getting to #2 Pop, #1 R&B, and #1 Dance. However, this time around the single sold well enough to go gold. It was a solid way to kick off her second album. 

ReduxReview:  It was going to be difficult to come up with a hit as good as "Looking for a New Love," but Watley and Cymone came close with this track. It was a stompin' dance track that smartly incorporated a little new jack swing. It was timely and memorable. I thought Watley had a shot at hitting #1, but she got aced out by new sensation Paula Abdul and her "Forever Your Girl." It didn't quite have the lasting legs of "Looking for a New Love," but it is still a tasty track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Watley's and Cymone's professional relationship would spill over into a personal one as well. The pair became an item and in 1991 they would tie the knot. The marriage would produce one child, a son name Arie. Watley already had a daughter at the time, Lauren. She was the product of Watley's relationship with producer Leon Silvers III. Unfortunately, the Watley/Cymone marriage wouldn't last long. They were divorced in 1994. 


Thursday, May 26, 2022

"Everlasting Love" by Howard Jones

Song#:  3839
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  77
Peak:  12
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Jones' third album, 1986's One to One, didn't perform nearly as well as his #10 platinum second LP Dream Into Action. It would stall at #59 with only its lead single, "You Know I Love You...Don't You?," making any impression getting to #17 Pop. He then took a bit more time recording his follow up album Cross That Line. This first single was released and it ended up doing well nearly cracking the Pop Top 10 while hitting #1 AC and #19 Modern Rock. Still, the hit wasn't quite enough to spark interest in the album, which peaked slightly lower than his previous album at #65.

ReduxReview:  I was a pretty big HoJo fan and by this point had even seen him twice in concert. So when it came time for Cross That Line to come out, I was pretty stoked. Then I heard this single. I have to admit, I didn't really like it. I wasn't into its syncopated rhythm or its more AC-leaning tone. It just wasn't the HoJo that I liked. I remember thinking that it was not going to be a hit. Well, I was certainly wrong. Folks connected with it and the tune took off. Despite me not caring that much for it, I was certainly rooting for it to crack the Top 10. It stopped shy, but did get to #1 at AC. After buying the album, I got more hooked into the song and began to appreciate it more. The chorus was hooky and memorable and the theme of finding that lasting love was universal. It still wouldn't rank high on my list of favorite HoJo tunes, but I dig it much more now than when it first came out.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:   Jones was the eldest of four brothers all of whom had musical inclinations. The three other Jones brothers, Roy, Martin, and Paul, would form their own post-punk band in the late 70s called Red Beat. They recorded a few singles and even recorded a session for famous radio DJ John Peel's show. They would also be an opening act for bands like Killing Joke, U2, and Big Country. However, the band never fully got a break. By 1982, they were done. However, they gave it another shot under a couple more names (Wheels of Change, Red White and Phoenix), but were unable to secure a deal to record an album. They finally called it a day in 1985. Roy would join up with Howard's touring band for a few years. He would continue to record music in various genres such as Celtic and Latin jazz. Later in the 2010s, Roy would start to record electronic/dance tunes under the name dRedzella.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"Somebody Like You" by Robbie Nevil

Song#:  3838
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  81
Peak:  63
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Nevil's second album, A Place Like This, didn't have the best of starts. Its first single, "Back on Holiday", could only manage to crack the Pop Top 40 at #34. It was a bit of a disappointment following the pair of Top 10s that his debut generated. Hoping for a better result, this next single was issued out. Unfortunately, it couldn't get the job done. The song stalled in the bottom half of the Pop chart. With those results, the album stopped at a low #118. It would be the last single released from the LP. 

ReduxReview:  Nevil was a good songwriter and possessed the ability to create hits. He crafted some memorable ones for his debut, but when it came time for the follow up it just seemed he didn't have his A-game going. This track was a pleasant listen, but it was far weaker than any of his previous Top 40 entries. Even the production was low-key and a bit bland. But then the problem was that there wasn't anything much better to release as a single on the album. Not that there was anything bad about the tracks. In fact there were some nice works on the album such as the driving "Can I Count on You." It was just that there wasn't any radio-ready hits. I'm sure pressure from the label to get out a second album didn't help things. It was too bad he couldn't come up with that one surefire hit to give the album a boost.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Nevil would release a third album in 1991. While Day 1 would not chart, it did supply him with one last Top 40 hit. "Just Like You" would do well enough to reach #23 on the Pop chart. A second single, "For Your Mind," would get to #86 Pop/#93 R&B. After that, Nevil retreated from the spotlight and mainly focused on writing songs for other artists. His first major success following the close of his own solo career was "The Right Kind of Love," a song he co-wrote for singer Jeremy Jordan. It was Jordan's debut single and it got to #14 in 1992 on the Pop chart (Jordan would have only one other charting song, the #28 "Wannagirl," a remake of a 1992 Trey Lorenz track). Around 2005, Nevil began a writing partnership with Matthew Gerard. They got hooked up with Disney and began working with their stable of young artists. Their careers took a big upswing when they supplied songs for the hugely successful TV movie High School Musical. After that, they wrote songs for Hannah Montana, The Cheetah Girls, and Camp Rock. Songs from those shows would end up charting with "What Time Is It?" from High School Musical 2 doing the best reaching #6 Pop.


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

"I Only Wanna Be with You" by Samantha Fox

Song#:  3837
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  86
Peak:  31
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Hi-NRG

Pop Bits:  Fox's third album, I Wanna Have Some Fun, would follow the results of her first two and also go gold (#37). It got there mainly on the strength of the title track single, which made it to #8 Pop (#2 Dance/#19 R&B). It would also be a gold seller. To follow it up, this cover tune was selected. It would just miss out on the Pop Top 30 while peaking at a low #46 on the Dance chart. It would end up being Fox's last single to reach a US chart.

ReduxReview:  The Full Force written/produced "I Wanna Have Some Fun" got the album kicked off in a good way. The team gave Fox a more modern dance/R&B sound and it suited her well. However, she was still working with the Stock Aitken Waterman team as well and this second single was one of their concoctions. Although SAW was still having success in the US with their manufactured tracks (via Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue), the sound was wearing thin on US listeners and it made this track seem like a step backwards for Fox. She actually sounded kind of bored on it. There was little spark to the endlessly chuggin' tune and save for perhaps the nostalgia factor for those that remembered the original, there wasn't much here to attract a big audience. I was surprised it even made the Top 40. After this misstep, Fox wasn't able to recover and her hit making days came to a surprisingly abrupt end.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by English singer Dusty Springfield. Her 1963 version, titled "I Only Want to Be with You," would be her first solo hit reaching #12 Pop (#4 UK). Many artists would cover the song with four of them able to put a version on the US Pop chart. Scottish pop band Bay City Rollers would do a version in 1976 and release it as a single. Oddly, it replicated the peaks of Springfield's original in both the US (#12) and the UK (#4). The next three covers of the song to reach the Pop chart all did so in the 80s. The pre-Eurythmics band The Tourists took their take to #83 in 1980. In 1982, singer Nicolette Larson made it to #53 with a version. Then finally Fox was able to be the third artist to crack the Top 40 with the song.  Also in the 80s, Mexican singer Luis Miguel would cover the song for his '87 debut album. Released as "Ahora te puedes marchar," the single would get to #1 on the US Hot Latin Tracks chart.  2) Fox would release her fourth album, Just One Night, in 1991. As she did with her previous two albums, Fox would work with the songwriting/production team of Full Force for some of the tracks. However, she chose to not work with the Stock Aitken Waterman team who she had also worked with on her previous albums. Instead, she worked with a variety of producers including Robert ClivillĂ©s and David Cole who had just scored a big hit with their own group C+C Music Factory ("Gonna Make You Sweat," #1, platinum, 1990). Yet despite her previous success and the star producers on board, the album completely flopped. None of its singles charted and that left the album disappearing quickly. Along with it went Fox's recording contract. Since then she has only recorded a couple of indie albums in '97 and 2005. In the 2000's, Fox would appear on several celebrity-based reality shows including the UK version of Big Brother.


Monday, May 23, 2022

"Hearts on Fire" by Steve Winwood

Song#:  3836
Date:  03/18/1989
Debut:  87
Peak:  53
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Winwood's #1 album Roll with It was on track to replicate the success of his '86 hit Back in the High Life. Each featured a #1, a Top 10, and a Top 20 single. Back in the High Life boasted another Top 20 hit and it was hoped that this fourth single from Roll with It would be able to match or exceed that result. Unfortunately, it couldn't get close. The song stalled short of the halfway mark while only reaching #22 at both AC and Rock. With that result, sales of the album slowed and it halted at the double-platinum mark, which was a drop from the triple platinum success of Back in the High Life. Still, it was a solid result that wrapped up the 80s for Winwood.

ReduxReview:  While this song was a good listen and worked well as an album track, it just wasn't as memorable or catchy has his previous hits. It was a solid, standard bluesy-rock tune from Winwood that featured horns and a backing vocal group. In other words, not all that different from what he had been doing. That certainly is fine and I'm sure pleased some fans as it did well at Rock and AC, but it wasn't going to get anywhere on the Pop chart.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Winwood's next album, 1990's Refugees of the Heart, signaled a downturn in his popularity. Its first single, "One and Only Man," would only reach #18 Pop (#1 Rock, #9 AC) and would be the only song from the LP to chart at Pop and his last single to reach the chart. With that result, the album would halt at #27 and only go gold. He wouldn't release another solo effort until 1997. In between that time Winwood would reunite with his former Traffic bandmate Jim Capaldi, and the pair would record the first Traffic album in 20 years, Far from Home. The track "Here Comes a Man" would get to #10 Rock. The album would make it to #33. Between '70 and '74, Traffic would release four albums that all went Top 10 and were either platinum or gold, all without the benefit of a Pop Top 40 hit. In 2004, Traffic would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. in 2009, Winwood would reunite with his Blind Faith bandmate Eric Clapton for a tour. Their NYC shows were recorded and resulted in the album Live from Madison Square Garden. It would reach #14 and earn two Grammy nominations.