Tag Archives: Tiffany

Turn It On Again: Spending A While On The Dial

Active on the airwaves.

Active on the airwaves.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons. Their first single, “It’s Time”, was a decent-sized hit nationally, and now they’ll at least be a two-hit wonder with their latest release, “Radioactive”. It’s already gone to #1 on the Alternative survey and to #7 on the Hot 100, making it the tenth such title to make the Hot 100’s top 40 portion with the word “radio” in it. Whether it’s on AM, FM, or satellite, millions of us turn to the radio every day for music, news, sports and more. Let’s see what songs freshened up the frequencies from the 1970’s up until now.

Joni Mitchell, “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio” (#25)
She’s probably best known for originating the song “Big Yellow Taxi” back in 1970, but it was “Turn” that was Mitchell’s first of three top 40 hits in the U.S., peaking at #25 for two weeks in early 1973. Parent album For The Roses went to #11, and she would do even better with her next release, the #2 Court And Spark, featuring top ten single “Help Me”. She last recorded original material in 2007.

Reunion, “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” (#8)
One of the big one-hit wonders from the 70’s, the band consisted of studio musicians and led by vocalist Joey Levine, who previously sang with groups like The Ohio Express. The unusual song was essentially rap-sung, with Levine name-dropping over 100 references in music history from the 50’s to the 70’s, including disc jockeys, singers, songs and musical instruments. It was the only song to chart for the group.

Al Stewart, “Song On The Radio” (#29)
Scotsman Stewart was already known for the top ten hits “Year Of The Cat” (1977) and “Time Passages” (1978) at this point in his career, but the followup single to “Passages” wouldn’t do so well, just making the top 30 at #29. It was written by Stewart and produced by Alan Parsons. Though he continued to record well into the 2000’s on different labels, his charting days were over on the Hot 100 by the end of 1980.

The Buggles, “Video Killed The Radio Star” (#40)
Ah, yes, the first video ever to be played on MTV. That was in August 1981. “Video” actually charted at the end of 1979, peaking at #40 for one week in December. Though several minor followup singles charted in European territories, nothing ever matched the success of their most well-known single release. It was also sampled in the 2010 hit by will.i.am and Nicki Minaj, “Check It Out”, peaking at #24.

Donna Summer, “On The Radio” (#5)
This is the biggest song with the word “radio” in it to make the Hot 100 so far in its nearly 55-year history. Even as disco experienced a backlash by the fall of 1979, the late Summer was able to hit the charts with a string of thumping dance numbers, including this one, co-written by her and longtime collaborator Giorgio Moroder. A greatest hits album named after the song went to #1 in January 1980.

Queen, “Radio Ga Ga” (#16)
From their album The Works, this is one of the group’s most remembered hits, even influencing Lady Gaga‘s stage name. “Ga Ga” was ultimately the last top 40 single for the band while lead singer Freddy Mercury was alive, though a handful of other songs made the Hot 100 before he died in 1991. Following his passing, a 1992 rerelease of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which appeared in Wayne’s World, went to #2.

The Firm, “Radioactive” (#28)
This British supergroup combined the rockin’ powers of Paul Rodgers (Bad Company/Free), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Chris Slade (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band/Urian Heep) and Tony Franklin. Their self-titled 1985 album hit the top 20, and this song became their only top 40 hit on the Hot 100, peaking at #28. They charted three songs in total. They group split up the next year.

Autograph, “Turn Up The Radio” (#29)
Out of Pasadena, CA, this quintet released this single as the first from their Gold-certified debut album, Sign In Please. The album peaked at #29 and single peaked at the same spot on the Hot 100. The band was dropped from RCA Records after three albums and broke up in 1989, but they recorded a few records together independently with different lineups years later. They last played together in 2003.

Tiffany, “Radio Romance” (#35)
After taking ballad “All This Time” to #6 earlier that year, Tiffany decided to dance it up with her fifth and final top 40 hit. It leapt into the top 40 at the #35 spot during the first week of April and then crashed immediately afterward, spending one forgettable week in the top 40. Luckily, radio is still love with her #1 hits like “I Think We’re Alone Now”, which still get some play on 80’s mix shows now and again.

Some other “radio” ready titles I like:
“Who Listens To The Radio?”, The Sports (#45, 1978)
“Mexican Radio”, Wall Of Voodoo (#58, 1983)
“AM Radio”, Everclear (#101, 2000)
“…On The Radio (Remember The Days)”, Nelly Furtado (DNC, 2002)
“Radio Nowhere”, Bruce Springsteen (#102, 2007)

What’s your favorite tune that I highlighted in this salute to the stations? Any other “radio” song that I forgot to rank among the rest? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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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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