Recording Artists Who Released A Strong Debut Album -- Then "Disappeared" From the Scene

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
According to Wikipedia:

Exile went Country and had three consecutive top ten albums on the Billboard Country Albums chart (Exile, Kentucky Hearts, and Hang On to Your Heart, with the second of those reaching number one), and from 1983 to 1987 ten out of eleven singles reached number one on the Billboard Country Singles chart, making them one of the biggest country artists of the decade.
They must not have been well liked by the country station in this area that I would listen to as I never heard any country songs by them on the radio. The office I worked in while at school only had the country station on and I never heard Exile played.
 

Rudy

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They must not have been well liked by the country station in this area that I would listen to as I never heard any country songs by them on the radio. The office I worked in while at school only had the country station on and I never heard Exile played.
I can't remember particular artists offhand, but some of the stations I listened to would have a handful of artists they would never play on the air that fit into their format, yet I would see some of them listed in various places (books, compilations, etc.) as having had hits. Must have been up to the whims of the program directors at those stations.
 

Michael Hagerty

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They must not have been well liked by the country station in this area that I would listen to as I never heard any country songs by them on the radio. The office I worked in while at school only had the country station on and I never heard Exile played.
What station in what market, Rockdoctor?

Seven songs at #1 on the Country chart in a row, which would have been ten in a row had it not been for one song peaking at #14, followed by four more that made the Country top 20, seems like way too much for any station to ignore.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
What station in what market, Rockdoctor?

Seven songs at #1 on the Country chart in a row, which would have been ten in a row had it not been for one song peaking at #14, followed by four more that made the Country top 20, seems like way too much for any station to ignore.
WCMS here is eastern VA. If Exile was played by this station it was never when I was listening.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
It occurs to me that since you thought Exile had disappeared after the debut album, you might not have known the country hits were Exile if you had heard them. Here’s a playlist:

 

Rudy

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It occurs to me that since you thought Exile had disappeared after the debut album, you might not have known the country hits were Exile if you had heard them.
Or it could have been like our local stations where they rarely announced the songs...
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Two additional artists that had great debuts and then the later releases never matched the promise of the first was Christopher Cross and Cyndi Lauper.
Cross got the curse of the best new artist grammy. His follow up Another Page did well in sales but did not get the airplay that the debut album. His early songs still get played now and then on the AM station I listen to. Lauper's first four singles only get airplay here and Girls Just Want To Have Fun get played nearly every day. I like this single the least of the first four.
 

Michael Hagerty

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Two additional artists that had great debuts and then the later releases never matched the promise of the first was Christopher Cross and Cyndi Lauper.
Cross got the curse of the best new artist grammy. His follow up Another Page did well in sales but did not get the airplay that the debut album. His early songs still get played now and then on the AM station I listen to. Lauper's first four singles only get airplay here and Girls Just Want To Have Fun get played nearly every day. I like this single the least of the first four.
Most stations that play older music have narrowed it down to three or four of an act’s biggest hits. Even if that act had ten number ones, it’s rare to find a station playing them all.
 

Rudy

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Two additional artists that had great debuts and then the later releases never matched the promise of the first was Christopher Cross and Cyndi Lauper.
Cross got the curse of the best new artist grammy. His follow up Another Page did well in sales but did not get the airplay that the debut album.
That first Christopher Cross album was huge back in the day. And the follow-up was a good album but didn't do much of anything beyond "Alright" and "Think of Laura" (which was used in one of the daytime soaps). The really big smash would be the theme from Arthur. He's done further albums (13 more, if I'm counting them correctly) but they've all flown waaay under the radar, some being the usual hits re-recordings or live gigs. And honestly, if I want to listen to Cross, it's that first album I'll put on in its entirety. It was the one that captured lightning in a bottle. Not that the others I've heard are bad, but they just didn't grab me like the debut. Like you say, it must have partly been a Grammy curse--he won five Grammys for that first album.
 

Michael Hagerty

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That first Christopher Cross album was huge back in the day. And the follow-up was a good album but didn't do much of anything beyond "Alright" and "Think of Laura" (which was used in one of the daytime soaps). The really big smash would be the theme from Arthur. He's done further albums (13 more, if I'm counting them correctly) but they've all flown waaay under the radar, some being the usual hits re-recordings or live gigs. And honestly, if I want to listen to Cross, it's that first album I'll put on in its entirety. It was the one that captured lightning in a bottle. Not that the others I've heard are bad, but they just didn't grab me like the debut. Like you say, it must have partly been a Grammy curse--he won five Grammys for that first album.
This is also---minus the Grammy curse--pretty much the Stephen Bishop story, though Stephen also wasn't as hot out of the box as Cross.

He gets a lot of airplay in 1977 with "Save It For A Rainy Day", which ends up being a turntable hit that peaks at #22, very nearly makes the Top 10 with "On and On" at #11 and the debut album CARELESS, while only making #33, suggests between his material, his sense of humor and his ability to attract key players (dude had Chaka Khan and Natalie Cole as backup singers in 1977), the next one will be a smash.

The next one, BISH (1978), again leads off with a turntable hit, "Everybody Needs Love", which gets decent airplay, but stiffs at #32 and lacks the follow-up hit of CARELESS. The album stalls at #35, despite having Chaka, Natalie, Art Garfunkel, Michael McDonald and Princess Leia herownself, Carrie Fisher as backups.

Album three is RED CAB TO MANHATTAN (1980), his first for Warner Bros. Going to a major after riding out the last gasps of ABC Records has to be a huge step up, right? Bish adds Eric Clapton and Phil Collins to his set of studio musicians. No doubt wondering why he's not scoring, he turns everything the people who love him love about him way up to 11, while simultaneously branching out to sounds people don't associate with him. There are traces of Steely Dan and the more self-indulgent aspects of Harry Nilsson. Neither RED CAB nor any of the singles issued from it charted.'

In 1982, he gets his other hit----in the sense that everyone knows it (it only made #25 in Billboard), "It Might Be You" from the TOOTSIE soundtrack. He didn’t write it—-Dave Grusin, Marilyn & Alan Bergman did.

The real success comes in 1985, when Phil Collins and Marilyn Martyn take the Bishop-written "Separate Lives" from the WHITE KNIGHTS soundtrack to #1 and Stephen is nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. He lost to Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" from the same movie.

Full disclosure---I was a big Stephen Bishop fan through those first three albums. A fourth, SLEEPING WITH GIRLS, was rumored to be coming in 1982. I was eager. It never showed up. Come to find out, Warner Bros. refused to release it in the U.S. It was an Asia-only release in 1985. I found it on YouTube while writing this (it's not available on Spotify). Sampling the tracks, I get Warners' decision. It's good---but it's a mix of what everything Stephen had been doing sounded like, with early-80s production and electronic instruments and no small amount of having been influenced by Phil Collins. There wasn't a hit there.

The next album, BOWLING IN PARIS, was 1989, on Atlantic, and it having been nine years since the last album available in the U.S., I was long gone. I'm not sure I was aware of its release and I only heard it last year on Spotify. It suffers from late 80s production. Way overdone.

Stephen's recorded seven more studio albums between 1996 and 2019, as well as three live albums and three collections of his demos. I've sampled some of it on Spotify. He's still clever, still has a way with a melody, and Jason Mraz owes him big.
 
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Michael Hagerty

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P.S. Did a bit more reading on Stephen Bishop. He was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist and lost to Debby Boone. Twelve years later, Debby sang backup vocals on BOWLING IN PARIS, brought the Grammy with her and gave it to Stephen, telling him he should have won it in the first place.
 

jazzdre

Well-Known Member
I'm glad we're on this subject because there's an artist who I always wondered what happened to her because she was an A&M artist as well. In 1988, the music trade magazines such as BILLBOARD, RECORD WORLD, etc were RAVING about this young lady. Her name was Toni Childs, and you should have read how the critics were going on about her! "new hope for music", "if you are tired of formulaic pop music, then this is the artist for you", "cutting edge music for a stagnant music age"; well, you get the picture. I believe that I heard her her music on one of the stations here in NY, and while it sounded a little different from what was on the radio, it didn't quite grab me like the critics had hyped her.

As far as I know, she made that one album, but I don't think that she followed up with a second one(most likely the sales weren't that great despite the hype) One other thing: I think that her name was used to name one of the characters on the Black sitcom, "Girlfriends" the Tracie Ellis Ross(Diana Ross' daughter)starrer. Does anybody know what happened to Ms.Childs? Like I always say: WOULD LIKE TO KNOW!!!

Jazzdre
 

Michael Hagerty

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Contributor
I'm glad we're on this subject because there's an artist who I always wondered what happened to her because she was an A&M artist as well. In 1988, the music trade magazines such as BILLBOARD, RECORD WORLD, etc were RAVING about this young lady. Her name was Toni Childs, and you should have read how the critics were going on about her! "new hope for music", "if you are tired of formulaic pop music, then this is the artist for you", "cutting edge music for a stagnant music age"; well, you get the picture. I believe that I heard her her music on one of the stations here in NY, and while it sounded a little different from what was on the radio, it didn't quite grab me like the critics had hyped her.

As far as I know, she made that one album, but I don't think that she followed up with a second one(most likely the sales weren't that great despite the hype) One other thing: I think that her name was used to name one of the characters on the Black sitcom, "Girlfriends" the Tracie Ellis Ross(Diana Ross' daughter)starrer. Does anybody know what happened to Ms.Childs? Like I always say: WOULD LIKE TO KNOW!!!

Jazzdre
Toni has been recording, but her second album sold poorly in the U.S. and she was dropped by A&M. She’s been very successful in other countries, including Australia, where she now lives.

 
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AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
Canadian singer Jane Child made a strong debut in early 1990!! The follow up "Here Not There" in late 1993 was a failure. Her 3rd & final album "Surge" in 2002 & "Surge Remixed" in 2004 also failed in the U.S.. Jane is married to the TV announcer for the game show "Let's Make A Deal" starring Wayne Brady. Jane also appeared on "Wayne Brady Talk Show" in 2004.
 

AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
Singer Tara Kemp (born in San Francisco) made her debut on Reprise in 1990 with 3 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Then disappeared from sight & not to be heard from again!!!
 

AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
Singer Dana Glover in 2002 did a CD called "Testimony" & what a great debut on Dreamworks BUT she also disappeared. Saw her performed on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno"!! Produced by Matthew Wilder (of 1983 "Break My Stride")!!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
80’s Pop Star Tiffany also had a great debut, but then she quickly disappeared. Aside from one big hit on the dance scene in 2008, she’s essentially disappeared.
 

AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
Tiffany released the song "All This Time" (from 1989 "Hold An Old Friend's Hand") & also in late 1990 "New Inside" album which failed to chart.
 

jazzdre

Well-Known Member
Hey Michael, thanks for the info on Toni! I always wondered what happened to her; the critical acclaim/hype that she got was really off the hook at that time! So in the next year when I didn't hear anything about her, I thought that she disappeared from the music scene because of all the hype that she got from the critics that her next album was a letdown for them, then they started to lambast her.

It's a game that music critics(or any other critics for that matter)play: first we elevate said artist, then when they make something that we don't like, we must tear them down...IMMEDIATELY! So that's what I thought when I didn't hear from her again, and I didn't even know that she made a second album! Well, when you can't succeed here, you can make it somewhere else! I'm glad that she found success in other countries, and I'm glad her new homeland, Australia welcomed her with open arms.

Thanks again, Michael!
 
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