Wipe Off The Dust: The Curious Case Of Regina

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Around the mid-to-late 80's there were lots of pop super troopers that were trying to do the Material Girl Thang. Sure Madonna isn't the end all of pop stars (though she is the most fabulous) but it was obvious that Madonna has a winnable formula that every up-in-coming pop star in the making wanted, yet during her prime run in the 1980's, Madonna was quite unbeatable.

Since the music industry is mainly all about "finding the next one", there were acts that tried to capture that Madonna sound by recruiting songwriters and producers the Madge worked with or just embodied the same kind of pop sound quality. Regina Richards is one of those first dubbed "Madonna Wannabes" possibly because her hit single, "Baby Love" was co-written by Madonna's long-time writing partner, Stephen Bray.

Myths From The Pop Crypt tells us that Regina and Bray had written "Baby Love" for Madonna, but she passed on it, and Regina decided to record it herself. At the time of its release Regina dropped the "Richards" (possibly because being known for a single-name is much more decorative on album covers), and released her one and only solo album, Curiosity in 1986. Only two singles were released but "Baby Love" was the hit as it went #10 on the Hot 100 charts, even sneaking to #30 on the R&B charts the same year. 

Regina was never able to capitalize on "Baby Love", possibly because it's a top-notch slice of Bubblicious pop. With the addition of David Sanborn on sax and Siedah Garrett on backing vocals, this song is a well-rounded treat. In my opinion, it's one of my favorite pop songs from the 80's. The song did get a revival in the 90's when Dannii Minogue recorded it in 1992, making a hit for herself. Though Minogue buffs it up with a slick House/Hip-Hop groove, the original Regina version is still tops. If you're drawing a blank about the song, here's a reminder...


So maybe you've heard of it? It's one of those songs that you've heard, thought it was Madonna...or even Debbie Gibson, if you were unmoved, and just kind of went about your business. Still you're not the only one, as most of Regina's debut album was long forgotten. It's even out-of-print and insanely hard to find, unless you scour the web (Google is your amigo), but if you do happen to land across it you'll get to hear some very polished pop sounds that actually could've been hit worthy if promoted correctly. Songs like "Sentimental Love" and "Bring Me All Your Love" had hit written all over it.

There was another single from Curiosity and it came in the form of the infectious, "Beat Of Love" (a favorite album cut of mines). Here it is live on Dance Fever...those parachute pants do nothing for her...


Oh and to continue on this music nerdery ride, I found out about Regina's last breath of pop-dom as she tried to follow-up Curiosity in 1990, but to no avail with a Freestyle song called, "Track You Down" . Here she sounds like she was trying on the Latin Pop acid wash jeans of The Cover Girls and Brenda K. Starr. I'll stick to "Baby Love", Regina, thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Oh gurl, you know how much I love Dannii's version of "Baby Love". Please hit me up with some Regina!

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