American Top 40 PastBlast, 3/19/88: Debbie Gibson, “Out of the Blue”

In the great teen singer wars of 87-89 pitting Tiffany Darwish against Debbie Gibson, I was very much on Team Debbie. It’s not that I didn’t hear the appeal of “I Think We’re Alone Now” or “Could’ve Been,” but they both came pretty close to pegging the kitsch-o-meter.  There was just charm in Gibson’s hit songs though; I’m pretty sure I was aware that she was writing her own material, which likely boosted her cred with me. I enjoyed all of the first four releases from Out of the Blue, and figured she was on her way to a decade-plus-long career. It was more than a little surprising when her pop career stalled out following her second album. She has done plenty of recording, theater, and some B-grade movie acting in the time since (even co-starring in something called Mega Python vs. Gatoroid with Tiffany).

Those two are locking horns on this week’s rebroadcast, both with their third hits. The title track from Gibson’s album is at #7, headed toward #3, while Darwish has the fairly awful “I Saw Him Standing There” at #28 that would get to #7 (the original was one of my father’s very favorite songs, and I can’t cut her any slack for taking it on).

They both wound up with two #1 songs, but Debbie won the battle of Top 10 singles, 5-4 and Top 40 hits, 9-5.


On a completely unrelated note, it was right around this time in March 88 that I bought a CD player for my own (I’d been taking advantage of Jim’s since the summer). The race to build my collection started very soon thereafter. Somewhat foolishly, a number of my early purchases were albums I already had on vinyl: the first two, bought at the store the night I got the player, were Foreigner’s 4 and Al Stewart’s Time Passages. I don’t regret the latter, but I was definitely less interested in the AOR of my earlier days by this time, and getting even less so.

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