I’ll readily admit that some of what inspires me to call out specific songs is the appearance of the artist (or a member of the group) in the news. Once already this year, unfortunately, I have done so because of the news of a divorce after a long marriage. Sadly, this is the case a second time, this time the dissolution of the 25-year marriage of Richard Marx (who has been mentioned on this blog before for reasons not related to his own hit music) and actress/singer Cynthia Rhodes, of the group Animotion.
The shakeup of Animotion
Animotion was, and is, best known for 1984’s “Obsession”, which hit #6 and is still heard on radio today. In about the same timeframe (around 1988 or so), Astrid Plane (whose voice was heard on “Obsession”) and two others departed the group.* Cynthia Rhodes joined the group during the recording of the group’s third album, replacing Ms. Plane. With all the upheaval, in effect, Animotion had become almost a totally different group from the one that had formed in 1983.
Perhaps because the group was so different when this third album was released in 1989, the album was self-titled, just as Animotion’s first album had been. To help distinguish the two eponymous albums, the 1989 album was informally known by the title of its first single (but only informally; the title of the single does not appear on the album cover, as seen below).
(Animotion (1989) peaked at #110 on Billboard’s Top Pop Albums Chart. Album ℗1989 Polydor Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)
The first single, “Room to Move” (a remake of a song recorded a year earlier by another 80s group, Climie Fisher), received plenty of airplay in early 1989 and spent a healthy 18 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100. (Per the always-reliable Wikipedia, the song was helped by an appearance on the soundtrack for the movie My Stepmother Is an Alien.)
“Room to Move” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at #88 for the week ending February 18, 1989 (chart). It peaked, almost three months later, at #9 for the week ending May 6 (chart). Surprisingly (at least to me), its success in early 1989 was not enough for the song to make the year-end chart.
After “Room to Move”, one further single, “Calling It Love”, was released from Animotion; it only made it to #53. The group broke up soon afterward.
As I said earlier, the only song from Animotion that seems to get any airplay whatsoever now is “Obsession”. The last time I recall hearing “Room to Move” on the radio was, in fact, during its original chart run. In my opinion, it’s worth giving this song a few more spins.
* Some of these departures, such as Ms. Plane’s, were apparently not voluntary.
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