Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Top Ten Records I Bought Because I Fancied The Singer #2: Houston, We Have A Problem...

I don't think this one's too embarrassing. I was 15 when I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) was released and I still think it's a great pop song, thirty years later. Yes, it does suffer from tinny 80s production, but it bounces along joyfully and gives voice to the unspoken truth of every 15 year old, boy or girl, in its title (brackets all important). You listen to lyrics like those, sung by a pretty girl just a few years older than you... and she might as well be singing to you. It's a fun pop song made heartbreaking when you're stood up against the wall at the school disco, trying your best to look cool and not bothered.

2. Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)

This was 1987 too, of course, the zenith of the music video, and the succession of short, figure-hugging dresses Whitney wears throughout doubtless sold quite a few copies to boys my age who might not otherwise have liked this kind of music. I think it's fair to say though that I loved this unashamedly at the time, by then I'd quickly worked out that my taste in music was all over the place and couldn't really be kept in a nice, neat, carefully labelled box. Yes, Whitney, for a very brief moment in time I fancied the pants off you. Then I guess you cut you hair and I stopped loving you, as Billy Bragg famously sang.

Apparently Whitney was never comfortable with being a pop star, and as this was her biggest "pop" hit, you have to wonder if she grew to hate it. I hope not, because there's an innocence to it you rarely see in pop music these days, and the fact she looked like she was having such great fun in the video made her even sexier. If she was putting that on, she was a far better actress than The Bodyguard ever allowed her to show.

I bought the album too, in case you were wondering. I must have had it bad.


  1. I'd be interested to hear someone like Maria McKee to have a go at it, stripped back to just her voice and an acoustic guitar.

    1. TS - that's one to submit to Martin at New Amusements - a great fantasy cover version!

    2. I've had a few in mind for a while C & Martin - I'll get around to it soon!

    3. Looking forward to those, Swede.

  2. My schoolmates and I all fancied WH too. Can't say I bought any of her records though. I remember listening to a concert broadcast on Radio 1 - I think it was a Free Nelson Mandela type thing - and in between songs poor Whitney was subjected to a section of the Wembley crowd chanting "get yer t*** out, get yet t*** out, get yer t*** out for the lads". All broadcast live on national Radio 1. I don't think it can be a coincidence that her slide into the arms of Bobby Brown followed soon after...

  3. Beautifully put, Rol. It's still a cracking pop song and it now possesses greater depth to see Whitney so young and untroubled, clearly enjoying herself.

  4. I was in love with her from her 1st album when she sang a duet with Jermaine Jackson called "Take Good Care of My Heart". 30 and more years later I still get weak at the knees when Whitney sings "Come and make your magic 'till you have me hypnotized
    If we get any closer I'll be drowning in your eyes"

    Check it out and see if you feel the same...

  5. I was about your age when I saw her for the first time too. She had "it". That indescribable aura. So fresh faced and beautiful. What a smile. The only cover I have of this one is by David Byrne from a live album. Not too bad.


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