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[Whitney Houston Discussed On Fred Bronson's Chart Beat Chat]

CAST-ING CALL

Dear Fred,

In last week's Chart Beat Chat you wrote, "None of the new songs from Whitney Houston's 'The Greatest Hits' double-CD have been commercially released in the U.S. yet."

In fact, a U.S. two 12" vinyl set of remixes of "Same Script, Different Cast" has been available commercially for months. The Billboard Dance/Club Play chart entry for this song contains the catalog number.

Sincerely,
Andrew Nestler

Dear Fred,

I absolutely love your column and have written a few times before! I just wanted to mention that contrary to what was mentioned in this past week's article about what singles have been released from Whitney Houston's greatest hits CD, there IS a commercial single for "Same Script, Different Cast." Unfortunately, it's a vinyl-only release and only features the dance remixes (which are FABULOUS, by the way).

I also wanted to take this opportunity to seek your opinion on the subject of vinyl-only singles. Do you think this is an easy way for a label to say they have a single available even though most consumers probably don't even know what one is? I personally find it to be a cop-out, but your opinion is always valued.

Sincerely,
David Sanford
Valley Village, Calif.


Dear Andrew and David,

You're right. A vinyl single does count for commercial release, even if the sales of that format are so small that it hardly makes a blip on our sales radar.

If there is only a 12" vinyl single available, a title may as well not be commercially released, but that doesn't change the fact I shouldn't have included "Same Script, Different Cast" with the other tracks from Whitney Houston's greatest hits album.

And David, to answer your question, now that tracks can chart on the Hot 100 without being commercially released, it isn't important for labels to be able to say they have a single available for sale. I think in this case, Arista felt they were fulfilling a need in the dance market for remixes of the song. I'm sure they didn't think a 12"-vinyl release would boost the song up the Hot 100.

BETTER OFF ALONE?

Fred,

Reading about the lack of success for Whitney Houston and Enrique Iglesias' duet of "Could I Have This Kiss Forever," as well as her duet with Deborah Cox on "Same Script, Different Cast" made me think of all of Whitney's duets that were supposed to be huge hits, but weren't.

The first time I ever heard Whitney on the radio was in 1984, with her Adult Contemporary hit duet with Teddy Pendergrass on "Hold Me," but the lack of success for that song on pop radio caused Arista to withhold and tinker with the release of her first album for a year (By the way, exactly how well did that song do on the AC chart?).

Then there was her 1989 "superstar" duet with Aretha Franklin. Coming at the heels of two very successful albums, the song "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Ever Gonna Be" failed to make much noise either. There was her duet with Bobby Brown, which shot up the chart, but shot down the chart just as fast.

Her follow up to "Exhale" was her duet with Cece Winans, "Count On Me," which is probably her biggest hit duet to date. Her super diva duet with Mariah Carey on "When You Believe" also failed to make the noise it was supposed to.

So, it makes me wonder if Whitney wouldn't be better off sticking to a solo career, and leave the duets to others (although we do plan to use her and Jermaine Jackson's remake of "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" at my wedding next April).

Best,
Rudy Steffish
rudysteffish@hotmail.com

Dear Rudy,

Considering Whitney's luck with duets, are you sure you want to play one at your wedding?

To be fair, Whitney's duet with hubby Bobby on "Something In Common" wasn't released as a commercial single, so wasn't eligible to chart under the rules that existed in 1992. And "Hold Me" peaked at No. 5 on our R&B chart, and No. 6 on AC.

We also shouldn't forget that Houston had a No. 2 hit when she teamed with Faith Evans and Kelly Price on "Heartbreak Hotel," but I'm not suggesting that configuration for any other purpose. Have a great wedding!

 

NEWSFILE: 3 SEPTEMBER 2000

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