Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tiffany vs Debbie Gibson

I read a couple of "news" stories this week about a SyFy movie currently being filmed called Mega Python vs Gatoroid, starring Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. The stories all had a take on it as the ultimate showdown between Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.


That war was won by Debbie Gibson so long ago that she probably has no idea anyone ever thought otherwise.

The evidence: Tiffany was a teenage singer, 17 at the time, who released overly produced pop songs and had a one-year run in 1988-89. She had four top 40 singles, two of which hit number 1. 50% of her career output were dance remakes of songs that had become classics - for the Beatles and Tommy James - before she was born.

Debbie Gibson, 16 when she released her first album, had a three-year run from 1987-1990, with nine top 40 singles, six top 10s, including two number 1s. Tiffany may have sold a similar number of albums in the 80s, but lets look at the content of Debbie's albums.

Debbie, a musical prodigy from infancy and possessor of an amazing voice, wrote all of her own material. She played keyboards on her albums. With perfect pitch, she sang most of her own backing vocals. She produced or co-produced most of her own music. In 1989, she was given ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year award, but she had to share it with some guy named Bruce Springsteen.

Her seven studio albums contain over 80 songs, mostly well crafted, great sounding music of the pop and ballad genres, including some songs that must be considered some of the greatest tunes in the history of recorded music. True, she gets a few demerits for emphasizing dance music and remixes, but I'm not perfect either.

From a musical perspective, there is no comparison between Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Truth be told, though, I have nothing against Tiffany - I have all of her hits in my collection and enjoy listening to them. And in non-musical comparisons, all bets are off. For example, Tiffany's Playboy pictorial was more than adequate while Debbie's was...well, they went out of their way to make her look... unsexy.

Nonetheless, I think I'll slip on my headphones, crank the volume to 11, and listen to Lost in Your Eyes, Ode to a Would Be Lover and Wishing You Were Here before turning in. Ultimate showdown indeed.

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