Tag Archives: Debbie Gibson

Red, White and “Out Of The Blue”: A Delightful Debbie Gibson Post

Lost in your hits.

Lost in your hits.

Happy Friday everybody! If you’re in central Massachusetts like I am, you may know that there’s an 80’s Prom going down tonight in Worcester and it’s going to be like, totally awesome, for sure. 80’s attire, 80’s music, and our special guest of the evening is Debbie Gibson, the singer and songwriter who started cranking out hits at the age of sixteen with her debut album, Out Of The Blue. Of course, Team Debbie Gibson triumphed over Team Tiffany when it came to their rivalry (at least in the chart presence and sales department.) With a total of eleven titles hitting the Hot 100 (nine in the top 40) and three certified albums, the girl had some major hit factor for several years. So, in honor of this special occasion, it’s time to take a look at my favorite songs from the singer. It’s not exactly a Friday Forty, but hey, I don’t exactly know forty Debbie Gibson songs. (She has more than forty, I know.) Since Debbie and Gibson both have six letters in them, I reckon that’s a good enough reason to highlight six songs of hers. So, here we go!

“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” (from Anything Is Possible, 1990)
At the point when this was released, top-40 radio had changed dramatically from when Gibson first started out. A more dance and urban sound began to take over the mainstream, including a huge boost in rap music, and thus, she had to adapt. For her, that meant the addition of a new songwriter and producer, classic Motown contributor Lamont Dozier. The title track and first single combined some bubblegum pop sweetness with a new R&B sound and a good message. However, the single peaked at #26 in early 1991; the album just missed the top 40 that same year. Some things just weren’t possible back then.

“ELECTRIC YOUTH” (from Electric Youth, 1989)
She was zappin’ it to us for a hot second. After the soft “Lost In Your Eyes” tore up the pop survey, Gibson returned with this energetic second single and title track from her second album. It was an anthem for teens during that era who believed “the future belongs to the future itself/And the future is electric youth.” Cue the dancing! It was definitely one of her most fun videos ever. Though “Youth” was a top ten hit on the airplay chart, it only went to #11 on the Hot 100 before zipping and zapping its way down the survey at record speed. Blame it on all the initial hype for her album; it, sadly, had to lose its youthfulness.

“FOOLISH BEAT” (from Out Of The Blue, 1988)
The “Beat” went on for our young singer with the fourth single from her debut album. Given her previous track record, the singer was due for another big hit, but it was this song that carried her all the way to the top of the Hot 100 in June 1988, dislodging another hot singer’s second single, “Together Forever” by Rick Astley. When it made the climb, Gibson became the youngest singer in the chart’s history to produce, record and write a number-one song at the tender age of seventeen. Though it only spent a week at the top, it still managed to do well on the year-end chart and prepared her for a huge second era.

“NO MORE RHYME” (from Electric Youth, 1989)
“Rhyme” is my clear favorite from Gibson when it comes to her ballads. While “Foolish Beat” and “Lost In Your Eyes” both hit #1 and got played out, “Rhyme” only managed a meager #17 and is definitely under-appreciated in the scheme of things. I’m not quite sure why exactly I prefer it, but you can’t help but recognize the sincerity in both her vocal and lyrics; she questions, “I always felt the rhythm/What happens when there’s no more rhyme?” Well, at least she rhymed in this song. It also helped that Winnie Cooper was in the video. It was the last top-40 hit from the era, charting in the summer of 1989.

“OUT OF THE BLUE” (from Out Of The Blue, 1988)
I mean, it would be hard to put it in the title of this post and not include it somewhere on this list of songs. “Blue” was another collaboration between her and Fred Zarr, who co-produced the majority of her first two albums in the 80’s. It’s a harmless piece of pop and a light-hearted love song about a girl who finds her perfect boy in an instant; to her, “love appeared before my eyes…/I never thought I’d realize what love was.” Realize, she did, and so did the national charts in the spring of 1988. After two consecutive #4 singles on the Hot 100, “Blue” managed to sneak into the #3 spot, a new high for her at the time.

“SHAKE YOUR LOVE” (from Out Of The Blue, 1987)
The fall turned into winter in 1987 and 1988, but Gibson kept things hot on the charts with this dancey ditty. I’m sure you remember the video. The tye-dye colors, the classic car, the dance routines, etc. Looked like a pretty good time out there. Again, it’s not a song that you need to overanalyze lyrically, just a cute piece of fluff to get you up and moving. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t physically shake your love because you might get dizzy and disoriented and nobody wants that, do we? Right. Like her first single, “Only In My Dreams”, “Shake Your Love” eventually went to #4 on the Hot 100.

Of course, her catalog goes further than that, but I hope you enjoyed this look back down memory lane and have fun if you’re heading out to our fun and festive 80’s event! For more music news and chart action, keep it here and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Retro

FRIDAY FORTY: Just A Fool Or Forty

Happy Friday! Welcome to another special edition of an occasional segment I’m putting together called The Friday Forty. Consider it a definitive list on all sorts of music-related topics (and much better than those VH1 lists!)

It’s still a few days before you have to put your April Fool’s Day pranks into action, so make it a good one this year. I’m sure you’ll come up with something extra special. In the meantime, there’s been some foolish behavior on the music charts for years, from dancing fools to fools in the rain. We’ve kissed them and believed them. We’ve even questioned ourselves about being the fool. Everybody plays the fool, and we played these records a lot, even if they didn’t peak around the Day. (Some of them indeed did.) So, instead of my yapping and fooling around, I present to you the Friday Forty: The Top 40 Fools of the Rock Era.

(I’m still figuring out the best way to compile these lists. In this case, songs are ranked by peak from the Hot 100 (1958-1973) or the CHR airplay chart (1974-present.) Ties in peak are broken up by year-end positions on the respective survey. Enjoy!)

40. The Impressions – Fool For You (#22, 1968)
39. James Ray – If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (#22, 1961)
38. Lulu – Oh Me, Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby) (#22, 1970)
37. Styx – Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (#21, 1978)
36. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry (#19, 1976)
35. Frankie Valli – I Make A Fool Of Myself (#18, 1967)
34. Eddie Money – Maybe I’m A Fool (#18, 1979)
33. Dino, Desi and Billy – I’m A Fool (#17, 1965)
32. Sammy Davis, Jr. – What Kind Of Fool Am I (#17, 1962)
31. Wilson Pickett – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (#17, 1971)

30. Larsen-Feiten Band – Who’ll Be The Fool Tonight (#16, 1980)
29. Quarterflash – Find Another Fool (#16, 1982)
28. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (#15, 1971)
27. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool) (#14, 1980)
26. Andy Williams – A Fool Never Learns (#13, 1964)
25. Luther Vandross – Don’t Want To Be A Fool (#12, 1991)
24. Rick Nelson – Fools Rush In (#12, 1963)
23. Steve Perry – Foolish Heart (#10, 1985)
22. The Tams – What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am?) (#9, 1963)
21. Aaron Neville – Everybody Plays The Fool (#9, 1991)

20. Chris Rea – Fool (If You Think It’s Over) (#9, 1978)
19. Rick Springfield – What Kind Of Fool Am I? (#9, 1982)
18. Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb – What Kind Of Fool (#7, 1981)
17. Diana Ross – Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (#7, 1981)
16. Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – The Fool On The Hill (#6, 1968)
15. George Michael – Kissing A Fool (#6, 1988)
14. Kenny Loggins – Nobody’s Fool (#6, 1988)
13. Lesley Gore – She’s A Fool (#5, 1963)
12. The Shirelles – Foolish Little Girl (#3, 1963)
11. Brenda Lee – Fool #1 (#3, 1961)

The top ten:
10. The Main Ingredient – “Everybody Plays The Fool”
PEAK: #3, 1972

9. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around And Fell in Love”
PEAK: #3, 1976

8. Elvis Presley – “A Fool Such As I”
PEAK: #2, 1959

7. Aretha Franklin – “Chain Of Fools”
PEAK: #2, 1968

6. Ashanti – “Foolish”
PEAK: #2, 2002

Not just a "Little" hit.

Not just a “Little” hit.

5. RICKY NELSON – “Poor Little Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1958

Teen idol Ricky Nelson blew up at an early age, starring on the 50’s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet along with the rest of his family. In 1957, Nelson began his recording career with a #1 album, Ricky, and a #2 single, “A Teenager’s Romance”. “Poor” was issued in the spring of 1958 and went to #1 for two weeks in August. It holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on the then newly introduced Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nelson had a number of big singles into the early 60’s, but by the middle of the decade, his success experienced a sharp cutoff. “Garden Party” became his final top-40 hit in 1972, peaking at #6, his biggest single in nearly a decade. He had 35 top-40 hits total. Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1985.

"Somebody" familiar to the top ten.

“Somebody” familiar to the top ten.

4. CONNIE FRANCIS – “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1960

She was on the last Friday Forty about fashion-themed hits, and now, Connie Francis is back again. Like Nelson at #5, Francis also hit the charts for the first time in 1957 with the #4 “Who’s Sorry Now?” but her track record was a little more inconsistent. “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” was originally the b-side of another single, “Jealous Of You”, which only went to #19. However, in this rare case, the song that was demoted to a b-side actually went to the top spot, spending two weeks there. Francis followed it up with “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own”, which also went to #1. She last hit the top 40 in 1964, but she occasionally made the Hot 100 until the end of the decade. Francis is now 74 years old and sometimes performs.

Couldn't quite "Beat" the top two.

Couldn’t quite “Beat” the top two.

3. DEBBIE GIBSON – “Foolish Beat”
PEAK: #1 in 1988

New Yorker Debbie Gibson wanted to make it big very young, performing in community theater and playing multiple instruments. In 1987, Atlantic Records signed her, and her debut album Out Of The Blue became a multi-Platinum success. This fourth single from the effort became the only #1 hit from it, and, at the tender age of 17, made her the youngest act to write, produce and perform a chart-topping single. Electric Youth, released in 1989, went to #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart on the strength of “Lost In Your Eyes”, but her sales slowly diminished at this point. Gibson last cracked the national charts in 1993, though she’s made some genre-specific surveys since then. She still performs today; in fact, I’ll be seeing her on April 12 at a local event here.

For your chart, your intuition...

“Games” people play.

2. JEWEL – “Foolish Games”
PEAK: #1 in 1997

After two big singles from her Pieces Of You album, this dark track from the Batman & Robin soundtrack was one of two from it to make the mainstream radio chart. (The other was the mid-charter “Gotham City” by R. Kelly.) “Foolish Games” spent four weeks at #1 in the fall, the most out of any song on the list. Jewel scored hits for a number of years afterwards, including 1998’s “Hands” and 2003’s “Intuition”, and also leaped into the world of Country music. Still, her days of big national hits are behind her. She recently put out a Greatest Hits album and a new song from it, “Two Hearts Breaking”, is receiving some minor airplay at the adult contemporary format. She’ll be on tour through the late spring and early summer.

You better "Believe" it.

You better “Believe” it.

1. THE DOOBIE BROTHERS – “What A Fool Believes”
PEAK: #1 in 1979

Now, the most foolish of the fools at #1 on the countdown. After lead singer Tom Johnston fell ill in 1975, The Doobie Brothers took on a different sound with new leader Michael McDonald. “What A Fool Believes” was the first single from Minute By Minute and was a huge and unexpected hit, spending three weeks at #1 on the airplay chart (including over April Fool’s Day) in the spring of 1979. (It only spent one week atop the Hot 100.) The group had a handful of other charting singles, then disbanded in 1982, until they reunited in 1987. They managed to take one more single into the top 40, 1989’s “The Doctor”, though McDonald had left the band at that point. The group still tours today with different lineups and Johnston reinstated as lead singer.

Thanks for logging on and checking out another of the Friday Forty posts and if you have any suggestions for themes or a favorite song on the list, let me know! Post away in the comments or find on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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