Sunday, June 19, 2011

The #52 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era: "Wilson Phillips" by Wilson Phillips

Any child of 10 can make a list of their favorite albums or the albums they think should be included amongst the best of all-time--to wit Rolling Stone magazine's list.  What makes this list different is that it is based on what the American public likes, in terms of sales, airplay, chart performance and awards, and not what someone wishes the top albums to be.  Inside the Rock Era* is featuring one album per day as we give each of The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era* their due.  We are up to #52.

It's by a group that opened with so much promise but fell far short in efforts to continue the success of their debut album.  Buoyed by four Top 5 singles, "Hold On", "Release Me", "You're in Love" and "Impulsive" and another smash ("The Dream Is Still Alive"), Wilson Phillips made their presence known by dominating airplay on both Top 40 and Adult Contemporary radio stations.  Since those two were the most popular radio stations in the United States, the airplay naturally led to great sales and chart performance.  Those singles attracted attention initially but the entire album is a home run--"Next To You" and "Eyes Like Twins" are solid tracks and there is no filler on the album.  The trio saved everything for this album.

The album received all kinds of recognition.  "Hold On" won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year.  The group was nominated for Grammies in 1990 for Song of the Year  ("Hold On"), Album of the Year, Best Pop Duo or Group and Best New Artist and in 1991 for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("You're in Love").  They were also nominated at the American Music Awards for Favorite Single ("Hold On" and Favorite New Artist.

With this one album, Wilson Phillips overtook the Supremes as the top-selling female group of all-time.  Their debut didn't reach #1 but any top albums list that goes strictly by chart performance is ridiculous.  Case in point right here.  It was #2 for 10 weeks and #3 for 6 more.  16 weeks in the Top 10 is far superior to a #1 album for 7 weeks that plummets precipitously.  Not only that, but this album spent an incredible 52 weeks in the Top 10 (#16 all-time) and 125 on the chart.  It was also #1 in Canada and was a Top 10 album in five countries.  To date, it has sold 5 million copies and has one of the better Track Ratings* (9.15) in the Top 100*.

Wilson Phillips:

1.    "Hold On" (Chynna Phillips, Glen Ballard, Carnie Wilson) --4:27
2.    "Release Me" (Wilson Phillips) --4:56
3.    "Impulsive" (Stephen Kipner, Cliff Magness) --4:34
4.    "Next to You (Someday I'll Be)" (Darrell Brown, David Batteau, Madeline Stone) --4:57
5.    "You're in Love" (Wilson Phillips, Glen Ballard) --4:51
6.    "Over and Over" (Wilson Phillips, Glen Ballard) --4:40
7.    "A Reason to Believe" (Tim Hardin) --4:04
8.    "Ooh You're Gold" (Wilson Phillips, Glen Ballard) --4:19
9.    "Eyes Like Twins" (Rupert Hine, Jeanette Therese Obstoj) --5:03
10.  "The Dream Is Still Alive" (Glen Ballard, Wilson Phillips) --4:05

Wilson Phillips consisted of Carney Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips.  Carney and Wendy were the daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson and Chynna Phillips was the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & Papas.

Glen Ballard, Randy Kerber and Clif Magness played keyboards for Wilson Phillips, the organist was Bill Cuomo, Basil Fung, Michael Landau, Magness, Steve Lukather from Toto and Joe Walsh of the Eagles played guitar.  Jimmy Johnson, Abraham Laboriel and Neil Stubenhaus played bass, John "JR" Robinson played drums and famous percussionist Paulinho Da Costa lent his fabulous talent as well.  Magness also helped with rhythm arrangements.

Charles Koppelman was the Executive Producer for Wilson Phillips, although Glen Ballard was a major contributor.  Ballard wrote half of the songs, played keyboards, arranged the vocals and rhythm section, produced the album and was the top engineer.  Tom Biener, Francis Buckley, Julie Last, Clif Magness, Gabriel Moffat and Rail Jon Ragout were the other engineers while Francis Buckley mixed the album and Bernie Grundman mastered it.

The album was recorded from July of 1989 to March of 1990--it was quite a project.  It was released May 8, 1990 on SBK Records, a division of EMI.

At #52 for All-Time--Wilson Phillips.

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