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There's one thing I've never figured out.
"The Lover In Me" reached US#2, but the next three singles "Days Like This", "101" and "No Deposit No Return" all failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
That's pretty "amazing", following a #2 hit if you ask me...
I know "Days Like This" made #35 on the R&B chart, and that "101" made #2 on the Dance chart, but that doesn't count really.
But that "Days Like This" failed on the HOT 100 all toghether??!! Not that it necessarely had to do as big as "The Lover In Me", but one would at least expect it to make it somewhere on the HOT 100, if only #73 or something... It was a good song, and had a very good video to support it.
Was it because the singles were aimed at the R&B market, and mainstream radio didn't pick them up?
"The Lover In Me" was a R&B hit before it made it big on the Hot 100. The single had a slow start and took almost 5 months to reach #2.
Was it pure luck?
And the album... Wasn't a flop, but not a huge success. It made it to #44, was a long-term seller and was certified gold by the RIAA on April 20. 1989.
In one way THE LOVER IN ME was a success first, but ended up as a flop, since the following singles all bombed.
It's like Sheena just got very lucky with the song "The Lover In Me", but didn't really win any new fans for herself (or keep any for that matter).
I've never found a reasonable explanation to this.
So I just wondered if anyone had an logical explanation to why THE LOVER IN ME and it's singles had such a strange fate.
days like this was not worked at pop radio. mca used this strategy with their r&b artists (jody watley's still a thrill is an example). the album was actually being promoted by the r&b dept. If days like this crossed over it would have had to the natural way - their plan was to have another top ten on the r&b charts, so that it solidified and legitimized her at r&b radio. Then they went for the more pop/rock single follow-up "101", unfortunately, it was too late - the lover in me had burnt out and 101 was perhaps just too different sounding for a follow-up to the lover in me. They then tried to get back at r&b radio with No deposit no return, but again, the steam had gone. Interestingly, they were planning on giving the album one more chance if The Arms of Orion had been a bigger hit. They were planning on releasing "Without You" as the fifth single and would have concentrated on a/c and adult r&b stations. I saw an interview with Angela Winbush, who wrote and produced "without you" when she was a guest on "Video Soul" and she said she had her fingers crossed and that the label was just waiting to see how Arms of Orion did.
I've always felt Sheena's career could have been bigger with the right single selection. Here's what i would have done with the lover in me:
The Lover In Me
No Deposit, No Return - I think this would have been the best follow-up to the lover in me. It was in the same style and would have been a hit on both THE POP AND R&B charts.
Days like this - with the momentum of two hits, i think this would have gotten a better chance at both pop & r&b radio.
101 - had she been lucky to have three hits - this would have been the time to take a chance with the incredible but eclectic 101. I haen't met anyone who actually heard this song who did not like it. The trick would be to get radio to play it, which I believe they would have coming off three hits.
cool love - bona fide hit after the above.
fire & rain - I would have finished it off with this as a single just for r&b radio, perhaps working the more pop minded without you to pop radio.
Who knows where sheena's career would have went had this album recieved the attention it deserved. It certainly was no slouch but should have at least gone platinum with two hits but mca messed it up.
As a longtime Sheena fan, I always thought MCA's choices of singles to follow The Lover In Me were bizarre. With the exception of Follow My Rainbow all the other LA Reid & Babyface produced tracks (No Deposit, Days Like This, One Love) were awful. The second single should have been Follow My Rainbow. Sheena was appearing in Miami Vice and the song was featured prominately in her plot-line. Angela Winbush's gems Without You and Fire and Rain would have also made great singles and stood out at Radio at the time. 101 was a great choice of single but it was too little too late. But that is the story of much of Sheena's career sadly. Album after album great tracks that should have been singles were passed over for lesser songs. Hard To Say Its Over should have been the third single from A Private Heaven rather than SWEAR. What EMI was thinking release Machinery as the lead single from MM&M is anybody's guess. Unfortunately Wind Beneath My Wings, Are You Man Enough, and You Do It were never released and after the Machinery debacle I Wouldn't Beg For Water never tractioned. The second single from Do You should have been Don't Break My Heart in my opinion. But that's all just my 2¢
The title track was a great single and a great re-launch for Sheena but, as an album, it didn't flow very well and was a bit patchy. It surprised me when the album was voted as the fans most favourite album on the poll conducted on the website in 2005 (it's maybe time to start a new vote.
I felt that the whole "R&B/Swing Sheena" image just didn't quite fit - even though she looked fantastic. I can understand why they went down that route as pop wasn't selling well and a change of image was needed. An even bigger mistake was to carry this style on to the WCN album.
I was so surprised that "Days Like This" wasn't a huge hit as it is my favourite song on the album - plus it had a great video. The 12" version is just amazing too.
"No Deposit, No Return" is one of my least favourite Sheena singles... it's just not that good a song. Interestingly, it didn't feature on the last list of top 40 songs voted by the fans (see "The Ultimate Chart" feature on the main website at www.sheenaeaston.co.uk)
"101" didn't do well because radio didn't play it, and it needs a few listens before to discover how good the song is.
I still prefer "Pop Sheena"!
Some tracks did pretty good several dance & r+b charts
Thanks for explaining this Steve and you other guys!
It was as I suspected then...
The US chart system is so different than in the UK (both "Days Like This" and "101" charted in the UK, though at low positions). UK chart is based on sales only, while in the US, radio airplay seems to decide how the single fares on the charts (I'm talking back in the 80's now - when we had physical singles!)
But still...it IS a bit odd that a follow-up single to a #2 hit fails to chart all together...
I remember "The Lover In Me" video was on heavy rotation on MTV, so why didn't they play "Days Like This" (which was a better video)??
I remember seing the "101" video ONCE on MTV in the summer of 1989. The song got some attention since Prince wrote and produced it. AMAZING song, but probably not very radio friendly...
I like the 7" version of "No Deposit No Return". Much better than the LP version.
What is strange is that I (and maybe many others) didn't even know "Days Like This" was realised as a single (Didn't record shops take it in???). I never saw it.
The only single from THE LOVER IN ME after the title track I saw in record stores was the 12" issue of "101".
So to many it probably seemed like there was no follow-up single to "The Lover In Me"...?
I also remember that Sheena got great medis attention in early 1989 when "The Lover In Me" began to take off. Here in Europe it was seen as a come back.
She was in all the magazines and papers, interviewed on TV etc. I remember headlines like "Sheena Easton is back - sexier than ever" and so.
So there was no lack of promotion.
I agree with the one who said "Machinery" was a terrible choice as a first single from MADNESS MONEY & MUSIC! And also "Wouldn't Beg For Water".
Just imagine how "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Weekend In Paris" could've done...
And "Don't Break My Heart" would've been a great 2nd single from "Do You"! "Jimmy Mack" is just awful - among Sheena's worst singles in my opinion.
And "Hard To Say It's Over", YES! A way better choice than "Swear".
Just came to think of something...
Have any of you ever been thinking that if it hadn't been for that Debbie Gibson and her "Lost In Your Eyes", Sheena would've hit #1 with "The Lover In Me"... Just imagine how THAT would've changed everything!
Roman great topic
I also was surprised the the 3 follow-up singles failed the Billboard 100 and my own personal opinion was that MCA did release the correct singles from "The Lover in Me" esp 101 I adore this song and its a sin this was never a hit. The 4 singles have always been my top 4 songs from the album but thats my opinion.
Surprisingly Sheena also begun to enjoy some success here in the UK, the album reaching 30, "The Lover in Me" single number 15, "Days Like This" number 43 and "101" number 54 not mindblowing chart positions but first album position since "Best Kept Secret" hit number 99 in 1983.
What was weird was the way MCA released Sheena singles
all 4 single releases from "The Lover in Me" to my knowledge given only promo CD single releases in the US when CD singles where first beginning to take of with the buying public and then no official 7" picture sleeve releases for "No Deposit no Return" & "101" again only promos. The UK were given 7" poster sleeve singles of "Days Like This (also 12" poster sleeve) and 101 which was all the rage at the time.
"What Comes Naturally" was even worst no 7" picture sleeves for all three singles "What Comes Naturally", "You Can Swing It" and "To Anyone" no official CD single releases and only a cassette single for "To Anyone". No wonder she also never charted with the last two singles. Also a big fan of "You Can Swing It" and got two different cassette singles only recently which I did not know existed of "You Can Swing It". Was well happy.
I agree with you Blair. The singles from THE LOVER IN ME are the best songs on the album.
"Follow My Rainbow" was realised as the 5th single (made Top 20 in Holland and New Zealand) christmas 1989. Don't know if it got an American realise though...
I think it wasn't THAT surprising the subsequent singles didn't chart. My theories:
L.A. and Babyface were very hot at the time, and I think "The Lover in Me" was seen more as a "producer" record than a Sheena Easton one. The record didn't sound like previous Sheena singles and could have been performed by Pebbles, etc. I think up through "Strut," all of Sheena's singles had a very distinctive sound (her voice was so high) that began to be downplayed.
Also, I don't think she ever really captured the R&B market -- "Sugar Walls" is another disc that seemed to do so well because of its connection to a hot artist (Prince, obviously). After "Lover In Me," everything record-wise seemed to be aimed at the R&B market. However, if you saw Sheena in concert during that period, her audience still seemed to be made up of mainly her old fans and casino-type audiences. The adult contemporary audience (people in their 30s and 40s) were loyal to her in terms of attendance, etc., but I think it began to dwindle when the recorded product changed gears so much.
Around the time of "What Comes Naturally," Billboard (I think) also had an interesting column about how the chameleon nature of Sheena's singles had caused her not develop a strong musical identity in the eye of the public and that much of her singles success was based on connections -- James Bond, Kenny Rogers, Prince, LA & Babyface -- so she essentially only had three top 10 hits without any surrounding hype that she could claim as her own. Or something like that, it was a long time ago. It was interesting, but I'm not sure I agree.
Interesting theory Elias.
I remember reading somewhere many years ago, a journalist wrote that "Sheena Easton really never had a career, just good luck". I don't find that to be true though, but I can see the point...
Many music journalists have stated that Sheena Easton did very good for a female pop artist.
Not many British female pop singers who debuted in 1980 still managed to have a hit record ten years later (I can only think of Kim Wilde being the other at the moment).
So though Sheena never got to be as big as Madonna or Cyndi Lauper, she had a very long high profile career.
And good luck has probably something to do with it...since she often changed musical styles (as you mentioned after "Strut"), meaning that the was the SONG people were fan of, not the artist ("Sugar Walls", "The Lover In Me").
That may even be the article I'm remembering! That is the gist of what I recall -- that her career was based on these lucky breaks, etc.
I also think it's interesting that the general public seems to be more fond of more of the earlier stuff. In terms of US radio, these days I never hear "The Lover in Me" or "Sugar Walls," but you still catch "Almost Over You," "For Your Eyes Only," "Morning Train" and "Strut" on the radio or on Muzak, etc.
Loving this topic very interesting hearing all your views.
I think Sheena had luck on her side that EMI did not drop her after Madness, Money & Music.
Looking back "You Could Have Been With Me" charted at No.47 (US) and No.33 (UK) then "Madness, Money and Music" even worse No.85 (US) and No.44 (UK) not great chart positions and comparing this to todays acts where record companies will drop you if you don't even make the Top 10. Thank goodness EMI had faith in her and then her career took a well needed boost when in 83 Telefone became a hit but then "Best Kept Secret" (a great album) hardly set the charts alight at No.33 (US) and 99 (UK).
The "Private Heaven" album was her saviour if this and the singles "Strut" and "Sugar Walls" had faired less well in the charts goodness knows where she might have gone after that.
I dread to think what life would have been like if EMI had dropped her and we never got any of the brilliant albums she made with that label after 82.
Blair, hopefully Sheena would've signed with another record company if EMI had dropped her after MADNESS MONEY AND MUSIC :)
Kim Wilde was on the same label, and they dropped her after her 3rd album CATCH AS CATCH CAN flopped by only reaching UK #90. But she signed with MCA immideatly after :)
I don't know the story with NO SOUND BUT A HEART, if EMI dropped Sheena, or she dropped EMI - but she got a new record deal with MCA.
I got in contact with Universal/MCA in the US a few years back to ask why a greatest hits collection from that lable has not been released in the states from Sheena Easton.
There reply was they would consider the request at some point but that Sheena's only had 3 top twenty songs and they are "The Lover in Me, Days Like This, and "What Comes Naturally" and that would not be enough for a hit collection. I suggested she record a couple of new tracks for the collection (like Jody Watly did) and even asked them to consider adding "U Got The Look" and "The Arms of Orion" and did not get a response. that was MCA talking.
I just wish that the US would get a new collection with her MCA hits included. It is long overdue.
The article I read was from Billboard and it was when she scored another top ten hit with Sugar walls - she had pulled ahead of diana ross with the most top 40 hits since 1980. they mentioned that her album had only made it to number 15, which meant she had yet to score a top ten album. they were asking the question as to when an artist becomes tranforms from a singles artist (which many considered sheena at that time - to a career artist. The writer of the article suggested that even though sheena had not cracked the top ten on the albums chart, you culd hardly ignore her singles successes and not say she was indeed a career artist.
as for luck, i don't think it had any more to do with her career than any other artist. If sheena had stayed in the adult contemporary mode of her first few albums, i don't think she would have had the longevity of her career.
she made a conscious effort when her radio airplay began to stiff by going in a more youthful direction. that made her record her most successful album A Private Heaven.
As for the collabs: Kenny Rogers was beginning to have resistance at pop radio with his solo singles - he chose Sheena because she was the "it" female artist at the time on a/c radio.
Sheena asked Prince to write a song for her - he responded by writing one of the lewdest songs in pop history. Sheena had the balls to record it and risked her career by making that decision. Her manger at the time Deke said in an interview he dropped her as a client because he thought it was career suicide (hariett took over that year). Prince then fell in love with her voice and asked her to record a few times after that (U got the look saved his album from flopping after the dismal 2nd single "If i was your girlfriend").
after experiencing radio resistance once again (so far so good was an undeniable hit) sheena took a chance again and recorded a ballads album. Emi changed hands her lawyers argued that they had there chance to release her album and proved she was willing to promote it with a tour and tv appearances. the judge ruled she could leave emi.
Epic and mca both courted her - mca winning because she felt they understood her more and agreed with the r&b direction being the best way to stay on the charts. Sheena is a pop singer and her interpretation of that is she sings what style is popular at that moment. She chose to work with la & babyface based on hearing "Girlfriend" by pebbles - she very wisely heard something in their songs and production before they became popular (they actually began having alot of hits while she was recording with them. Again, i don't think this was luck but rather good ears and taste.
She had a successful singles career for over ten years and was the number three female singles artist of the 80's - no easy feat and hardly because of luck. I think had she not had the business savvy to keep an eye an eye on trends and change her sound throughout the 80's, we may be looking at another in the long list of few hit wonders from the 80's who now don't have the name recognition to play Vegas and casinos throughout the country.
Robert; I totally agree with you!
Sheena deserves to have a decent compilation album out!
I started a thread awhile ago about that.
Yes. If you really think about it EMI and MCA or an independent like Cherry Pop could release a Greatest Hits and feature all her singles again and she could re introduce her sound again with a couple of new tracks.
Sheena has said that since she is not recording and promoting a new disc she would be willing to promote a retro singles collection. A tour and this could be done on her demands. Only time will tell on this one.
I think there are enough collections out there. I am tired of all those Greatest Hits releases. We need new or unreleased material. Who but her fans would be reminded of her when an MCA Best of gets a release? 2010 it's 10 years since Sheena recorded an album. I understand her personal reasons but it still makes me a little nervous that she'll never do any new recordings :-( 10 years is a long time.... Well anyway, I'd buy new stuff, soundtracks or guest CDs, but no more cheap produced Best of compilations. The japanese have done a really good job on her compiling the MCA years in Greatest Hits releases. In Europe it's always about the same tracks over and over again. Cherry Pop hold up a light of hope since they do proper re-releases!
This is such a very interesting topic! I really agree with George and Kay, after reading everyone's opinions.
I have been Sheena's fan since For Your Eyes Only. And one major reason why I always looked forward to her albums was because you just never knew what you were going to hear (or see on the cover, as Sheena used to change her image with each album). I remember tearing home with her new albums each time they were released, dying to hear what kind of sound Sheena would try. I've been disappointed before, of course -- don't like Do You much, nor Freedom, nor My Cherie. But her willingness and ability to take on different sounds and genres and pull them off was what has kept me a loyal fan.
I just wish she would release new material. I'm sure there must be songs that were recorded but stashed away somewhere in EMI's and MCA's vaults, unreleased. Every artiste seems to have such a store. I'd like to hear those too!
Kay; sure, there are more than enough Sheena compilation albums out there that only has her EMI hits, and most of those albums are also very uneven.
No-one wants more of those.
What we meant was a REAL greatest hits album that included both EMI and MCA hits on ONE disc, realised internationally by Universal Records (or another big label) Not just for her fans, but for the public in general. A greatest hits album that represents Sheena Easton's carreer.
(I mean, even Samantha Fox got Sony Records to realise her greatest hits album last year!)
As for a new album; I think we can forget it.
She hasn't realised an album in 10 years, in America not for 15 years, and there's almost 20 years since she had a hit song.
Also, Sheena turns 51 this year, so she's also too old for a pop-comeback.
I don't mean to be pessimistic, just realistic.
But IF she made another album, it would be best if it was an album of standards, like NO STRINGS (but this time WITH strings!)
But to be honest, I think it's too late for Sheena to make a comeback. Too many years has passed, and there's not enough interest.
...what's really a shame is that this wasn't done when THE WORLD OF SHEENA EASTON was realised in 1993.
They could've easily let out "Swear", "Jimmy Mack" and "Magic Of Love", and put in "The Lover In Me", "101" and "What Comes Naturally" instead.
Had they bothered to come to an agreement with MCA.
It really suprises me that "Without You" would've been the 5th single released from "The Lover In Me?" Although it is a pretty song, it is very repetitive and somewhat boring because of that. I think "Follow My Rainbow" or "Fire And Rain" were much stronger ballads. Does anyone feel that "If Its Meant To Last" would've been a good follow-up to "The Lover In Me?" I think it is such a cute song and has a great pop sound to it while still being a really good dance song. I was so disappointed that this album didn't have more charted singles on it, but it is still my favorite Sheena album. I don't think that Sheena got the radio support that she deserved on this album. It took "The Lover In Me" a long time to reach #2 and I think this was in part of fan support, the video, and most of all, the Bally's sports clubs promotions she was doing at the time. I think that helped her alot.
No, I think "If It's Meant To Last" is the worst song on the album! LOL
But we have different taste, nothing wrong with that.
"Follow My Rainbow" was realised as a single during christmas 1989, but I'm not sure it got an american release...
But I agree with you that "Without You" would've been a strange choice as a single.
And yes, "The Lover In Me" did indeed take a long time to hit #2! It was realised on October 11. 1988 and entered the R&B chart at #95 on October 29. 1988 and peaked at #5 on January 14. 1989. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles on November 5. 1988 at #99, and climed very slowly until it peaked at #2 on March 4.1989.
And the album only made it to #44, which I guess is kinda dissapointing when you have a #2 hit single...But it spent half a year on the Billboard Top 200 albums, and was certified Gold by the RIAA on April 20. 1989.