And now for something literally evergreen. Cuz it’s Throwback Tuesday ya’ll!
I’ve often discussed this time and again, that flawless Goddess Vanessa Williams has one of the most criminally under-rated back-catalogs of all time. A multi-faceted entertainer par excellence, Vanessa’s remembered – rather unfairly – for her roles in shows like Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, as well as movies like Soul Food, Eraser and Dance With Me. It’s rather unfortunate that her stunning discography, comprising of 10 albums – recorded over a period of over 2 decades – has been largely ignored. Apart from her signature song, and our Throwback Tuesday song of the week, ‘Save The Best For Last‘, and probably the Academy Award winning ‘Colors Of The Wind‘ from the original soundtrack of the film Pocahontas – few remember the ridiculously amazing gems hidden away in her discography, including the Billboard # 3 peaking ‘Love Is‘ with Brian McKnight, ‘The Sweetest Days‘, ‘Oh How The Years Go By‘ and ‘You Are My Home‘ – the lush and sexy duet with Chayanne for the movie Dance With Me. Another classic ballad was the single ‘Where Do We Go From Here‘ – the theme song from the movie Eraser, which Vanessa starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger – which was her last charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at # 71 in 1996.
Adult-Contemporary was Vanessa William’s forte, and I feel this particular genre, along with Country, remains timeless – never going out of style. Listening to Vanessa’s balladry sounds refreshing – rather it helps me reminisce – even today, amidst the occasional electro-cackling saturating airways these days. The haunting, heartbreaking-ly lush and gentle ‘Save The Best For Last‘ is Vanessa Williams’ biggest hit of her career. Taken from her RIAA triple platinum certified 1991 sophomore album ‘The Comfort Zone‘, ‘Save The Best For Last‘ topped the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart for 5 weeks in 1992 – earning Williams an astounding 5 Grammy nominations, unfortunately none of which she won.
Either way, the song ascertained Vanessa’s position as a bankable pop force. Following her infamous Miss America scandal in 1983 (when she became the first black woman to win the title, eventually giving up the crown after the release of her nude photos in Penthouse Magazine) – Vanessa Williams resurrected her career as a bona fide pop superstar with a string of hit singles and gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums to her credit – and ‘Save The Best For Last‘ was undoubtedly instrumental in her global fame, as apart from the US, the song eventually topped the charts in Australia, Canada and entered the top 3 in the UK, and the top 10 of most countries including Japan Ireland, Denmark etc.
It’s a pity that she never really gets her due credit as a Pop diva today – I mean she could have easily done a few songs for the TV soundtrack of Desperate Housewives – that could have definitely racked up enough digital sales if played on the show, easily giving her a hit. Her last album, a rather amazing collection of Jazz/R’n’B/Soul tinged gems written by Stevie Wonder and Babyface (give a listen to ‘Breathless‘), was released in 2009 without much promotion – but eventually sold over 150,000 copies in the US alone. Now that Adele’s brought back Adult-Contemporary in a big way, Vanessa’s comeback is something that I would totally go cray-cray about! In case you’re into timeless love songs, ballads and the occasional R’n’B/Soul tinged Pop, I’d suggest you pick up ‘Greatest Hits : The First Ten Years‘ – a collection of some of Vanessa’s biggest hits released in 1998. That’s how I discovered most of her hits myself when I brought the album back in the day, although it was ‘Save The Best For Last‘, ‘Colors Of The Wind‘ and ‘Where Do We Go From Here‘ that made me buy the album in the first place.
Check out ‘Save The Best For Last‘ right here :