Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, February 11th

On this day in 1989: Paula Abdul started a three week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Straight Up’, the first of three #1’s for Paula in 1989.

‘Straight Up’ was released off her debut album ‘Forever Your Girl.’ It is a mid-tempo dance-pop song with influence from the pop-rock and new jack swing genres. The song finds Abdul asking her partner to “straight up now tell [her]” if he was genuinely in love with her or not. Written and produced entirely by musician Elliot Wolff, the single version was released as the album’s third single on November 22, 1988 by Virgin records.

“Straight Up” eventually became a breakthrough success for Abdul in the States, earning the singer her first chart-topper on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, further catapulting its parental album to reach the top-twenty on the Billboard 200 chart, before it finally reached #1 after a record-setting 64 weeks on the market.. “Straight Up” was also one of Abdul’s signature hits, brought her to widespread public attention, and is her biggest international hit to date, reaching the top-ten region in over eleven countries.

According to Paula Abdul, her mother found this song for her. She says that her mother knew someone whose boyfriend was an aspiring songwriter, and she got “Straight Up” as an 8-track demo. The demo version was “so bad” that Abdul’s mother was “crying laughing” at it, and threw it in the trash. But Abdul heard something she liked in it, and retrieved it. At that time she was a full-time choreographer, and on the side, late at night she was recording music. The record label didn’t think the song was any good but Abdul offered to record 2 songs they wanted, which she didn’t like, if they would let her do “Straight Up”. The song was recorded at a cost of $3,000. Later a friend of hers told her that somebody with her same name was being played on a northern California radio station. “Literally, within 10 days I [it] sold a million copies.” The song was originally recorded in a bathroom, and in the masters of the recording, someone in the next apartment can be heard yelling “Shut up”

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1989:

1 2 STRAIGHT UP –•– Paula Abdul – 11 (1)
2 1 WHEN I’M WITH YOU –•– Sheriff – 19 (1)
3 5 WILD THING –•– Tone Loc – 11 (3)
4 4 BORN TO BE MY BABY –•– Bon Jovi – 12 (4)
5 3 WHEN THE CHILDREN CRY –•– White Lion – 15 (3)
6 9 ALL THIS TIME –•– Tiffany – 15 (6)
7 12 THE LOVER IN ME –•– Sheena Easton – 15 (7)
8 11 I WANNA HAVE SOME FUN –•– Samantha Fox – 14 (8)
9 14 SHE WANTS TO DANCE WITH ME –•– Rick Astley – 9 (9)
10 15 WALKING AWAY –•– Information Society – 12 (10)

11 16 WHAT I AM –•– Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – 12 (11)
12 21 LOST IN YOUR EYES –•– Debbie Gibson – 4 (12)
13 7 THE WAY YOU LOVE ME –•– Karyn White – 18 (7)
14 17 ANGEL OF HARLEM –•– U2 – 9 (14)
15 18 YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) –•– New Kids On The Block – 13 (15)
16 20 SURRENDER TO ME –•– Ann Wilson & Robin Zander – 8 (16)
17 19 DIAL MY HEART –•– The Boys – 10 (17)
18 6 ARMAGEDDON IT –•– Def Leppard – 13 (3)
19 8 DON’T RUSH ME –•– Taylor Dayne – 15 (2)
20 23 A LITTLE RESPECT –•– Erasure – 10 (20)

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