Monday, October 10, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 10/10/16 - Indigo Girls' "Closer To Fine"...


"Closer To Fine" - Indigo Girls
from the album Indigo Girls (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #52

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, who came together as friends as kids in school and eventually evolved into working in music together. From Atlanta, Georgia, they grew into maturity at a time when the music scene in that area of the country was thriving, with alternative acts like the B-52's and R.E.M. went from local heroes to being national stars in the 80s. Emily Saliers and Amy Ray christened themselves "Indigo Girls" after completing college in the mid-80s, and released an independent album Strange Fire in 1987. The buzz from that set, which college-based alternative radio had taken a liking to, precipitated them being signed by Epic Records, which put out their self-titled second album in 1989. Michael Stipe and R.E.M. contributed to the set, but it was Irish folk-rockers Hothouse Flowers that were featured on the big single from the album, "Closer To Fine". Anchored by frantic yet melodic acoustic guitars, the song details their struggles going through school into adulthood, as written by Saliers...


While "Closer To Fine" reached the top-40 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart at #26, and was minor hits on their Mainstream Rock and Adult Contemporary radio charts (both with a week at #48), the single stalled on the American pop Hot 100 right under the halfway mark at #52 in August of 1989. Internationally, it did the same in Canada (#53) and Australia (#57). But the Indigo Girls album was massive, especially for a acoustic set from two "out" lesbians (although their music never was "in your face" about that aspect), reaching #22 and selling over two million copies. They also were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1990, criminally losing out to, yes, Milli fucking Vanilli, but they did take home a trophy for Contemporary Folk Album.

A year later the duo released their follow-up album, Nomads Indians Saints, and while the album failed to make the top-40, single "Hammer And A Nail" climbed to #12 on the Modern Rock radio chart. But they rebounded with their fourth effort, Rites Of Passage, which returned them to the pop chart with "Galileo", which also was their biggest rock radio hit at #10. The pair landed their first top-10 album in 1994 with Swamp Ophelia, which came "Least Complicated", was their most recent rock radio hit at #28, and their sole British charting single at #98. Their other top-10 album, Shaming Of The Sun, got them exposure on the up and coming "adult pop" format, and single "Shame On You" went to #15, spending half a year (26 weeks) on the chart. Another song from the record, "Shed Your Skin", was remixed and went to #36 on the Dance Club Play chart. In 1999, another single, "Peace Tonight", slipped in at #40 on the Adult Pop chart. They continue to tour and record successfully, both apart and together; most recently they appeared on Pink's "Dear Mr. President" single, which was a top-10 hit in parts of Europe and Australia.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the Girls appearing on the Letterman show to promote the single in 1989...


...and with an all-star back at the Lilith Fair...


Finally, in Philly in 2015...


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