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Whitney Houston

Discussion in 'Comeback corner' started by IotV, Dec 19, 2011.


  1. This lie needs to stop being told. Billboard even acknowledged that Whitney achieved only six consecutive chart toppers in their massive Book Of Number Ones:

    [​IMG]

    The first two paragraphs of the entry for "So Emotional":
    You cannot erase flop singles released between hits just because they missed the Hot 100 chart entirely.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    Terminus likes this.
  2. Well, I was following the US charts fairly closely at the time, and reading the Billboard charts, but I had no idea Thinking About You had even happened. I don't know if it can be called a flop single. It's like counting Prince's Hot Thing as a bonafide A-side during the Sign.. campaign.
     
    WhatKindOfKylie? likes this.
  3. It's not a lie though, because of the peculiarities of the Billboard system. This was what I said about it a long time ago in this thread:

    The 'Thinking About You' single in the US is an odd one - it was 'officially' released but because of the way music in the US was divided into categories and how the Billboard charts are compiled, because the single was issued only to R&B radio stations and record stores, unless Pop radio started playing it (and they didn't because they were playing other singles from the album), it couldn't chart on the Hot 100. I suppose it might be more clear-cut if it had been released at a time when Whitney didn't already have a single on the charts and then hadn't charted - it wasn't a 'flop' as such, it was just that the Pop audience probably didn't know it existed.​

    The timing of the release of the 'Thinking About You' also gives the game away that this wasn't a 'proper' single as such. It first charted on the R&B chart in September 1985, after 'Saving All My Love for You' had hit number 1 on the R&B chart, but while it was still climbing the Hot 100 (which it would top in late October). There's no way a record company would release two singles simultaneously by a new artist and expect them to compete with each other on the Hot 100, particularly when they already had one single on its way up the charts and doing well.

    The liner notes in the anniversary edition of her debut album quote Clive Davis stating that the release of 'Thinking About You' was to maintain interest in the album on the R&B market while 'Saving All My Love for You' was going up the Hot 100, as they weren't going to release a follow-up for a while and he also wasn't sure how well 'How Will I Know' (the next projected single) would work with the R&B audience. As it turned out, 'How Will I Know' topped the R&B chart anyway, so there was no real need to put 'Thinking About You' out in any case (even though it's a great track).
     
    londonrain, Pop Life and Eric Generic like this.
  4. That's certainly a heavy, problematic footnote anchoring a long-standing and fabled chart record.

    [​IMG]

    "Thinking About You" wasn't just a promo or B-side or double A-side. It was edited and fully released as an A-Side single in a picture sleeve, backed with "Someone For Me". It was issued as a 12" maxi single, too.

    Regardless of where Arista sent their promotional copies or who they intended them for (a bit gross, init?), every retailer had the same opportunity to stock and sell the 7" single...and did. It was hardly obscure; you could find it at mall record store chains. (There are plenty of copies all over eBay and discogs, too).

    It also failed to come affixed with a strict warning label stating that one must have exclusively heard the song on an R&B station before buying it.

    As far as I recall, the Hot 100 chart was intended as the cross section of all genres reported on by Billboard and measured by both sales and airplay. Just as a commercially released rock or country single wouldn't rely on hitting or missing the Hot 100 to validate its status as "legitimate", neither should have an R&B release.

    The only requirement of a song to qualify for the Hot 100 at that time was the presence of a commercial 7" single. Ideally you'd have both, but a song that received little or no airplay but that was available to purchase in shops had essentially the same chance at the Hot 100 as a song that was doing well with DJ's yet sold poorly, so long as there was an existing commercial single. Right?

    Had "Thinking" sold enough copies to land at #100, or even bubbled under for a week, this debate wouldn't even take place. It's clearly only because a rather significant chart achievement is in question.

    Yes, it was dealt a weak promotional hand with competing songs and a missing pop airplay factor that worked against its chances on the Hot 100 chart, but none of that changes that the "Thinking About You" single exists. It doesn't matter who did or didn't receive, play, stock or buy it, the single was manufactured and shipped to shops, a point made in one of Billboard's own books.

    It wasn't canceled or withdrawn and could theoretically have been found and purchased by the same consumer thumbing through new singles in October of 1985 alongside Miami Sound Machine's "Conga", Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin's "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves", Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy", Prince's "America", ZZ Top's "Sleeping Bag", titles by Laura Branigan, KISS, Simple Minds, etc...regardless of if they were driven there by radio or the sheer desire to peruse records. It just didn't sell enough copies to enter the Hot 100.

    Has Billboard actually ever spelled out that they routinely disqualified commercial single releases from the all encompassing Hot 100 based on a perceived or assigned airplay genre? I'd like to read more on that but can't find anything. It doesn't make sense.

    Doesn't it seem a bit more likely that Billboard, perhaps with Arista, decided to whip up a publicity-worthy angle proclaiming that Whitney Houston had bested The Beatles on their chart because an under performing -for whatever reason- release had conveniently failed to show up on the Hot 100 making it appear as though all of those #1's she'd enjoyed were consecutive ?
     
    phoenix123 likes this.
  5. I'm usually a bit OCD about these things but if Thinking About You wasn't even eligible for the Hot 100 and was charting on the RnB chart before Saving All My Love For You even made Hot 100 #1 then I don't see how it interrupts the consecutive Hot 100 run of number ones in any way?

    On a side note, 30-odd years later, and as someone who considers myself a fan, I still have no recollection of how this song goes which is quite telling.
     
    londonrain and Eric Generic like this.
  6. Guys the '6 Consecutive No 1s' thing was Clive having a wank all over his PR desk, and back then nobody would refute claims like this - so it stuck.
     
    Eric Generic likes this.
  7. I'd agree it does create a slight qualification to the record, but the point is that it was all down to Billboard's chart methodology (seems bizarre in a market like the UK that never had this genre separation). Billboard itself recognises the seven consecutive number 1s record, which says it all. Check out the Chart Beat column on p 6 of the Billboard issue for the week when 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' made #1:

    http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Billboard/80s/1988/BB-1988-04-23.pdf

    You seem to be implying that 'Thinking About You' didn't make the Hot 100 because it didn't sell enough copies, but the fact that it made the Top 10 on the R&B chart shows that it must have sold enough in that market to do so - thus, had it been able to properly cross over, it surely would have done. The idea that a single following a number 3 single and a soon-to-be number 1 single with a single that didn't sell enough to make #100, but was then followed by two further #1 singles just seems absurd. In a way, it was never intended that it should make the Hot 100 - just to keep the R&B market happy because the Pop charts had taken longer to react to the first two singles than the R&B charts, which created a gap in the release schedule on the R&B side.

    All the pop stations were at that time playing 'Saving All My Love for You' and weren't serviced with 'Thinking About You', so didn't play it. I couldn't tell you about which record shops were stocked with the single, but back in that era, if nobody knew the single was out (that is, if it wasn't being played on the radio), then they'd never seek it out in a shop to buy, so whether mainstream record shops stocked it or not, it hardly mattered, because all attention was on 'Saving All My Love for You'. Whitney never promoted it on TV either.

    It's almost what might be termed a pre-'buzz' single, albeit that in those days, you had to physically release it as a single in order to get some proper traction with radio in the market you were aiming for.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  8. I kind of always forget about Thinking About You in general anyway, one I've only really warmed too in recent years.
     
  9. MLIYL is my favourite Whitney era, and I'd definitely consider it her prime. The look, vocals, and music were all on point.



    Amazing!
     
    londonrain and WhatKindOfKylie? like this.
  10. Perfection!
     
  11. I just bopped to My Name Is Not Susan (again!), and think it was such a shame it stalled at #29 in the UK and became her first big solo flop since Saving All My Love for you reached #1 in 1985. Perhaps both the combination of New Jack Swing and the big gap between that and All The Man That I Need didn't help.
     
    Terminus, londonrain and Pop Life like this.
  12. The single version remixed by John Waddell is SUBLIME. One of Whitney's best singles, in that mix.

     
  13. Susan really is such a massive banger. Love the feisty lyrics.
     
  14. Double agreed! Top 10 Whitney for sure for me.
     
    Pop Life likes this.