Saturday, May 27, 2023

"A Girl Like You" by The Smithereens

Song#:  4133
Date:  12/09/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  38
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Alternative Rock, Power Pop

Pop Bits:  This band's second album Green Thoughts performed well getting to #60 thanks to three Rock Top 40 tracks including the #1 "Only a Memory." It was a good setup for their next LP 11. Switching producers to Ed Stasium (Living Colour) who gave the band a crunchier, radio-ready sound, the album got kicked off with this first single. It would become a hit at both Rock (#2) and Modern Rock (#3) while becoming their first song to make the Pop Top 40. A second single, "Blues Before and After," would make it to #7 Rock/#18 Modern Rock, but stall on the Pop chart at #94. A third single, "Yesterday Girl," would reach the Top 20 at both Rock and Modern Rock. Thanks to the success of the singles, the album would become the band's highest peaking getting to #41.

ReduxReview:  The Smithereens are a favorite of mine and it started with this song. First of all, it was a great song, but then Stasium's production really took the band to a new level. It was big, brash, crisp, and rockin'. The song hooked me from the get-go and I immediately bought the album. They'd follow it up with another great LP, '91's Blow Up. I'm glad this track made the Pop Top 40, but I wish it could have gone further. They should have had a few other hits as well. The Smithereens had a real knack of slinging out some solid power pop.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Lead singer Pat DiNizio originally wrote this song for the 1989 Cameron Crowe-written/directed film Say Anything..., which starred John Cusack. DiNizio was approached by Crowe to write what would be the title song to the film. DiNizio was sent the script and based on dialog he read, he came up with "A Girl Like You," which references the film's title in the chorus. Unfortunately, it seems like Crowe and the film's producer thought the song revealed too much about the plot and asked for some lyric changes. DiNizio chose not to make the changes and decided to keep the song for him and the band. A demo version of the song would later find its way on the 2021vinyl expanded edition of the soundtrack.  2) The backing vocals on this track were performed by Maria Vidal. She had a minor hit on the Pop chart (#48) in 1984 with the theme song to the film Body Rock. A self titled debut album for A&M Records would arrive in '87, but it disappeared quickly. Vidal continue to do vocal work including on this Smithereens hit. However, it seems that she was not the original person for the job. Apparently the Smithereens and Madonna had management folks in common and Madonna was asked to do the vocal part. It seems she agreed, but then cancelled prior to the scheduled session. Another attempt was made, but Madonna became a no-show. With the Material Girl out of the picture, Vidal was secured to do the work.


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