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. The first, “Hold You Tight”, went gold and is, to my knowledge, still somewhat familiar to people. For years, this song was the only Tara Kemp offering available for request at, for example, Austin’s Bob FM. (Since then, they now show all tracks from her album as being available. Yeah, right. I’ve never even heard them play “Hold You Tight” in eight years of operation.) Continue reading “Piece of My Heart by Tara Kemp”
There were a couple of years when the tide of pop music turned so completely that a lot of songs, and even a lot of artists, were eventually forgotten by both American radio and a good portion of the listening public. A lot of talented artists, with a fair number of big hits, were swept away by the tides of history. 1979 was one year, when the anti-disco backlash finally boiled over, and a lot of the big artists of the day disappeared quickly. The other year I can think of in which such a dramatic change came was 1991, and one of the artists left behind in that transition was Stacy Earl.