Released today in 1988: I Think We’re Alone Now

MCA MCA1211

MCA MCA1211


There was a supposed rivalry between teen singers Tiffany and Debbie Gibson at the time of their debuts, but beyond being female, American and in their mid-teens when they signed their recording contracts, they actually had little in common. One only has to look at the titles of their second albums to see that they were quickly marketed to different audiences. Tiffany’s Hold an Old Friend’s Hand, a title in keeping with her mature-beyond-her-years vocal style, earned a placing in the US Adult Oriented Rock chart, while Gibson’s (and never has the Americanism for a follow-up set ever been more appropriate) ‘sophomore effort’ was Electric Youth, firmly fixing her in the bubble-gum pop arena.

Supporters of Gibson pointed out that she wrote her own material; her fourth single, Foolish Beat, made her the youngest person to write, perform and produce a US #1 single. And when she did begin to co-write at the start of the 90s, it was with no less a talent than newly-signed label mate Lamont Dozier, who as one third of Holland-Dozier-Holland created several #1 singles in the 60s. Tiffany, meanwhile, relied on covers of hits from that era such as (a gender-changed version of) The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There and the track shown at the top of this article. The critics of the day had their favourite, but with the benefit of hindsight we can now review whose musical career was the most successful:

Item Debbie Gibson Tiffany
Date of birth 31 August 1970 2 October 1971
First single released Only In My Dreams
Atlantic 7-89322
23rd February 1987
Danny
MCA MCA-53076
15th June 1987
Number 1 singles 2 (US) 3 (2 US, 1 UK)
Other hit singles 9 US, 11 UK 4 US, 5 UK
Weeks on singles chart 168 US (1987 – 1993)
70 UK (1987 – 1993)
101 US (1987 – 1989)
45 UK (1988 – 1989)
Studio albums released 9 (1987 – 2010) 8 (1987 – 2011)
RIAA certified awards Gold albums: 1
Double Platinum albums: 1
Triple Platinum albums: 1
Gold singles: 4
Platinum albums:
1
Quadruple Platinum albums:
1
BPI certified awards Gold albums: 2 Silver albums: 1
Gold albums: 1
Gold singles: 1
Smash Hits covers Nil 2

So, Tiffany’s star shined brightest, with #1 singles on both sides of the Atlantic and a four-times platinum debut album, but Debbie Gibson’s shined longest with hit singles through to 1993 (albeit with the law of diminishing returns applying regarding chart placing). Both women remain active in the entertainment industry today, and their careers have continued on similar trajectories. Both posed for Playboy (Tiffany in 2002 and Gibson in 2005) and both diversified into acting, culminating in them both starring in the knowingly dreadful schlock horror Mega Python vs Gatoroid (2011), where they resurrected their fictional feud of the 80s for another generation.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 4
1988
BREATHE Hands To Heaven (Siren SRN68)
TIFFANY I Think We’re Alone Now (MCA MCA1211)

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