Friday, March 3, 2023

"License to Chill" by Billy Ocean

Song#:  4065
Date:  10/07/1989
Debut:  76
Peak:  32
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  The 80s were a great time for Billy Ocean. Over the course of three platinum selling albums (two double-platinum) , Ocean earned seven Pop Top 10 hits including three #1s. It was enough for Ocean's label to call for a compilation and Greatest Hits was assembled. Along with Ocean's top singles, two new tracks were added to the LP including this first single. While it got some attention, it would only make the Top 40 on both the Pop (#32) and R&B (#33) charts. The other new track, "I Sleep Much Better (In Someone Else's Bed)," would only get to #60 R&B. The album would top out at #77 Pop/#65 R&B and by summer go gold. A few years later it would turn platinum. So while the 80s were great for Ocean, his career took a quick downturn in the new decade. This single would end up being Ocean's last one to make the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  Hmmm. Was it a coincidence that this song and the James Bond flick License to Kill were out at the same time? I think not. Another Ocean/Mutt Lange collaboration, basically sounds and feels like a couple of Ocean's late 80s hits. It does sound like the song was meant for a film and it didn't help that it definitely had a "Ghostbusters" feel. It was kind of a cheezy track with the "go Billy!" shouts and certainly wasn't as memorable as his other hits. With the tune petering out inside the Pop Top 40, it was a sign that the Ocean formula was quickly wearing thin. He did try to change it up with his next LP, but after an extended hiatus it seemed no one was interested and Ocean's hit making days came to an end. He had a good run though.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Ocean would choose to take a break from music following his Greatest Hits album. After a few years off, Ocean would finally get back to the studio. Working with a new set of writers and producers, including R. Kelly, Ocean would return in '93 with his eighth album Time Moves On. For the LP, Ocean tried to incorporate new sounds such as new jack swing and even changed up his look. The new and improved Billy Ocean didn't go over very well. The LP's first two singles failed to chart while a third one barely scraped the R&B chart at #91. With those results, the LP failed to chart. It was a major disappointment following his string of 80s successes. Management and label issues would follow and it all spurred Ocean to go on another hiatus. While he would still perform and tour during his extended break, Ocean wouldn't record another album until 2009's Because I Love You.


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