Friday, January 08, 2016

Songoftheday 1/8/16 - You look in my eyes and I get emotional inside, I know it's crazy but you can still touch my heart...


"I Still Believe" - Brenda K. Starr
from the album Brenda K. Starr (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day comes from freestyle singer Brenda K. Starr, who comes from a musical background; her father, Harvey Kaplan (yes, Kaplan's the K in the Brenda K Starr) was a member of the band Spiral Starecare, who had a top twenty pop hit in 1969 with "More Today Than Yesterday". Her first big break came in 1984, when she appeared in the breakdancing movie Beat Street. The following year, Brenda released her first album, I Want Your Love. The single from the set, "Pickin' Up Pieces", written and produced by club legend Arthur Baker, went to #9 on the dance chart and #83 on the R&B list in Billboard magazine. After switching labels to MCA, she put out a self-titled second record in 1987. With "Starr" added to her name as an homage to the comic strip character, the moniker gave a vaguely familiarity to her, which helped her next club hit, "What You See Is What You Get", climb to #6 on the dance chart (it would later cross over to the pop chart). For its followup, she released a ballad, "I Still Believe", written by Antonia Armato and Guiseppe Cantarelli about an extinguished flame trying to burn again. Produced by Eumir Deodato of 2001 and Kool & The Gang fame, the heartbreak with hope song featured background vocals from one Mariah Carey...


"I Still Believe" became the first top-40 pop hit for Brenda in July of 1988, spending half a year's time in the Hot 100. The single also crossed over to #14 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


There was also a Spanish-language version of the song, "Yo Creo En Ti", which peaked at #10 on Billboard's Latin Songs chart...


...while another version done in the salsa style made it to #20 on the Tropical Latin Songs chart...


Now without "I Still Believe", there's a chance we would never have had the chance to experience the diva that is Mariah Carey. After singing backup on Brenda's album, she passed Mariah's demo tape to record exec Tommy Mottola, who would go on to sign Carey, and, well you know. In 1996, Mariah honored Starr by covering "I Still Believe" for her #1s hits album. It ended up surpassing the chart performance of the original, going to #4 on the American pop chart, #3 R&B, #8 Adult Contemporary, and #1 on the Dance Club Play chart (as a remix)...


On the other side of the coin, in one of the most cringeworthy moments in its entire run, the musical show Glee had stars Darren Criss and Jane Lynch (why?) doing a "mash-up" of "I Still Believe" and, of course, "Super Bass", because reasons... God, everyone involved in this should be slapped.


....and finally, back to Brenda, performing live in 1988...


Up tomorrow: the youngest person to write, sing, and produce a #1 pop hit in America. Suck it, Beliebers.

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