Pop music in the early 90s, while being very notable for the fracturing of the top 40 format amid grunge, rap, and even a little country, also had, as one of its features, a fair number of Christian artists crossing over. Amy Grant, of course, is the most easily remembered*, but there were others. One of the lesser remembered artists had a big hit in early 1992, but these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a secular, terrestrial station playing Kathy Troccoli.
Like many groups in the early 90s, Boy Krazy came and went rather quickly. A girl group in which all the members shared lead vocal duties, Boy Krazy had one big hit. Unfortunately, that big hit didn’t chart until well over a year after its release, and by that time, one of the members of the band was already gone. But such was the story of “That’s What Love Can Do”.
As has been said on this page more than once, the late 80s and early 90s were replete with songs which have been left behind by radio. The entire library of songs for some artists are now forgotten, when once they ruled the airwaves on top 40 stations. While that hasn’t quite happened to the artist who went by the stage name Pebbles, some of her hits have hardly been heard on American radio since the 90s. For example, when was the last time you heard a station play “Giving You the Benefit”?
In the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of new artists came onto the scene, in a lot of cases due to the major upswing in dance music during that time. Some, like Paula Abdul, have endured well into the 21st century, while many, many others have fallen by the wayside. Show of hands: who remembers the short-lived pop career of Kevin Paige?*
Power ballads have been around for decades. Some of the best known songs of all time could fall into that category. (“Stairway to Heaven”, anyone?) Quite honestly, most of the songs that would be classified as power ballads would be most at home on classic rock stations, and there are many that still get lots of airplay. With that said, there have been power ballads from groups whose music was of a different type entirely. Could you, for example, picture a power ballad from a group best known for freestyle dance music?
Enter Sweet Sensation.
Actors have crossed over to singing top 40 hits, and vice versa, almost as long as there has been a top 40 chart at all. Obviously there were Elvis and Sinatra doing quite well on both fronts, but there were many, many others who had various degrees of success. Do you remember Shaun Cassidy, Rick Springfield, Jack Wagner? You might even recall the top 40 entries by Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, and Eddie Murphy. Now – show of hands – who remembers when there was a very successful top 40 hit from…Joey Lawrence?
In my last post, I wrote about a song, “In My Dreams”, that appeared, briefly, on the Hot 100 during early 1986 for a hair metal band named Dokken. Some of my readers definitely still remember, and appreciate, that song (even if American radio doesn’t). But were you Dokken aficionados aware that another group took a somewhat similar version of that same song not only into the Hot 100 but all the way into the Top 40? Show of hands: who remembers The Party?
Listen to a classic hits station in 2017, and you might very well hear some 1990s songs. These are, for the most part, a rather recent addition to these stations’ playlists (which, until recently, were concentrated on the 1975-1989 period). You will probably notice, however, that the 1990s music that has finally started to appear on these stations does not cover all the different subgenres of top 40 music from that decade. Alternative rock, of course, makes up the bulk of 90s music heard on the radio now. Almost none of the 90s music on radio is dance songs, such as, say, the one US top 40 hit from Gina G.
By far the biggest name to come out of the huge upswing in dance music in the late 1980s and early 1990s was Paula Abdul. To give the reader a sense of how pervasive Ms. Abdul’s music was in that era, it should be noted that her debut album, Forever Your Girl, is, as of this writing and per Ms. Abdul’s website, the third longest charting album on the Billboard Hot 100.*
A few months before my last forgotten song honoree hit the charts, a California girl named Tara Kemp hit the top ten with two songs from her eponymous and only album. You probably remember the first one; do you remember a second hit? One that sounds…well…kinda a lot like the first one?
Continue reading “Piece of My Heart by Tara Kemp”