In celebration of Debbie Gibson's 46th (!!) birthday, Aug. 31, I'm putting out yet another set of her rare material -- the fifth such collection on this blog. As I've mentioned previously, I think Gibson is a much better songwriter than she gets credit for. She's enjoying something of a career revival these days with the impending airing of her much-publicized Hallmark TV movie "Summer of Dreams," which can be seen this Saturday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m., on the Hallmark Channel. But I think she deserved the long-lasting musical success that a lot of far less talented performers got that came along after her star faded.
I put together this collection myself, like I did with the Alternate Electric Youth set. As its title implies, it features all the rare tracks recorded by Debbie Gibson during the '90s. This wasn't her most commercially successful period, but she still wrote a lot of great music, some of which was hidden away.
Before getting into the track lineup, let's discuss what's not included. I left out all the songs from the 1994 soundtrack of the revival of the musical "Grease," because that would have meant including half the CD -- which is easily available anyway. Also, I didn't include remixes (with one exception) because, again, that would have meant including too many tracks.
Instead, I brought together all Gibson's non-LP B-Side tunes, plus songs from foreign edition CDs and multi-artist albums. For bonus tracks, I threw in two edits of her songs that I did myself. Info about what's what is below and also in the MP3 tags.
There is one more Gibson collection I'd like to put together in the future, and I'm calling on readers of this blog to possibly help. I'd like to create a collection of all the songs Gibson wrote for others but didn't perform herself. The problem is that I can't find any CDs by an Australian singer named JoBeth Taylor, who apparently recorded five Gibson songs. Do any of you Australians know anything about her? Some of you chimed in with info on my post about the Aussie band Cheetah, so maybe you all can help with this.
Debbie Gibson - 12-Inch Singles (1986-88)
Debbie Gibson - The Alternate Electric Youth (1989)
Deborah Gibson - Memory Lane Volume 1 (2004)
Deborah Gibson - Memory Lane Volume 2 (2005)
1. Without You
A Japanese-only single released Nov. 1, 1990. According to Wikipedia, Gibson wrote the lyrics herself, with music written by a Japanese singer-songwriter Tatsuro Yamashita. But I find it hard to believe she didn't have at least something to do with the music because it's similar to several of her other numbers, especially "Helplessly in Love" from Electric Youth.
2. So Close to Forever
The B-Side to the single "Anything is Possible." Released Nov. 13, 1990. This one showcases Gibson alone at the piano and looks ahead to the Think With Your Heart album from 1995.
3. Anything Is Possible (Remix Edit)
Released on UK picture disc and the German version of the 7-inch single (Atlantic A7735P) in 1991. There are a lot of Gibson remixes, but this one is rare enough that I thought it warranted inclusion.
4. The Most Beautiful Love Song
The B-Side of "One Hand, One Heart," which was released as a CD promo single in the US in early 1991 and as a single Japan May 25, 1991. This one could easily have been on the second side of Anything Is Possible but was left off for whatever reason.
5. Sleigh Ride
From A Very Special Christmas 2, released Oct. 20, 1992, this is a cover of the Leroy Anderson-Mitchell Parrish Christmas standard. It's also an updated take on the Ronettes' arrangement of the song. Still, she rock the hell out of it. Gibson's enthusiasm is so infectious you wonder why she didn't ever try a whole album of holiday songs -- A Very Debbie Christmas or something.
6. Love Or Lust
The B-Side of the "Losin' Myself" single released Jan. 1993. It was also the B-Side of "Shock Your Mama" which came out in March 1993. This song was easily good enough to be on the album.
7. Eyes of the Child
A Japanese-only single released March 10, 1993. It was also included on the Japanese edition of the Body, Mind, Soul CD. This one is interesting in that it presents Gibson in an a cappella setting -- and it sounds like she recorded many of the background voices herself. If so, that's pretty damned impressive. The song is retro '50s-styled ballad that would never have fit on the mother-CD, but is pretty great nonetheless.
8. Call Yourself A Lover
A bonus cut on the Japanese edition of Think With Your Heart from 1995. This probably didn't make the album because its horn-driven arrangement is too stylistically different from the piano-based sound that dominates the album. That's a shame, because it's a great song with a powerful, catchy chorus.
9. You Know Me
Another bonus cut from the Japanese edition of Think With Your Heart. As with the last track, this might have been left off because it doesn't fit in. In this case, it's a little too groove-oriented for that album. Wonder if it was an outtake from Body, Mind, Soul?
A cover of a song from the 1964 musical "Funny Girl," made famous by Barbra Streisand. It's from the early, limited edition of the Deborah CD, which was released in 1996 to fans club members.
11. Don't Rain On My Parade
Another cover from "Funny Girl," also found only on the limited edition Deborah CD. Both this tune and the previous one show why Gibson was so successful in musical theater. She can really let 'er rip and doesn't lose any of the nuances of her vocal style when she turns her voice up to eleven. Pretty impressive.
12. Light the World (Duet With Peabo Bryson)
A Japanese single from 1999 released on the Portazul label (CODY-1723). This duet version is track two of the four-track single.
13. (Get On Back To) The Basics of Love
Like a lot of songs on Anything Is Possible, I found "Reverse Psychology" to be over-written. I heard a different, better song buried within all the rap sections and various choruses. So I removed the raps, made all the choruses consistent, did some restructuring, and created a new song from the old. I do a lot of edits of songs I think could be structured better. Some people have called this "disrespectful" and/or "sacrilege." I don't care. This is how I wanted to hear it.
14. This So-Called Miracle (New Single Edit)
The original single edit of the tour-de-force closing number from Anything Is Possible didn't do it justice. It kept one verse then piled on endless choruses. I tried to improve on that. I used the first verse, the first chorus, part of the second verse, the best of the two "out-choruses," and part of the coda/fade to create a new, improved single edit. (For those who care about such things, I also slightly altered the pre-chorus and "corrected" the uneven bar structure that I think marred the song's flow.) And I brought it all in at around 4:00. Ironically, that's shorter than the real single mix which leaves out more of the song.