Saturday, December 03, 2016

Songoftheday 12/3/16 - Transmission's on and up we go, imagination high my resistance low yo...

"License To Chill" - Billy Ocean
from the album Greatest Hits (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #32 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2


Today's song of the day comes from Trinidadian-British singer Billy Ocean, whose 1988 album Tear Down These Walls had landed him a third #1 pop hit in the U.S. with "Get Into My Dreams, Get Into My Car", and a top-20 follow-up with the ballad "The Colour Of Love". (The mid-tempo title track was released as a third single and reached #27 on the R&B chart but missed the pop Hot 100.) Billy closed out the decade with a greatest hits set, with a couple new songs on it. One of them, "License To Chill", gave Billy his final pop success in the States. With a video featuring cameos from artists in the Jive/Arista stable, including Salt-N-Pepa, Whodini, and more, it seemed like they thought this would be bigger than it was (but who is that rockin' the Cubbyhole t-shirt?)...


"License To Chill" became Billy's twelfth and final top-40 pop hit in America in November of 1989. The single also climbed to #33 on Billboard's R&B chart. Internationally, the single was a top-40 hit in New Zealand at #33, but fell short in Canada at #69 and in his home of the UK at #81.

A second single from the hits set, "I Sleep Much Better (In Someone Else's Bed)", stalled down at #60 on the R&B chart, even with a featured rap from Will Smith (aka the Fresh Prince at the time). It seems like both these tracks were produced to make him seem "harder" perhaps and current, but ended up seeming out of place. Ocean wouldn't emerge with another studio album until 1993 with Time To Move On (his last with Jive Records). Lead track "Everything's So Different Without You" (a break-up ballad) was a minor hit on the American R&B (#91) and Adult Contemporary (#43) charts. Meanwhile, the house music excursion on the album, "Pressure", peaked at #55 in the UK. Since then he's released a couple of independent studio albums and mostly toured behind his past success on the oldies circuit in Britain.

Up tomorrow: Radio-friendly rock band with a generically-titled single.

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