Thirteen years ago this week, Paula Abdul was filling the gap between being a Laker Girl and being an “American Idol” judge by selling millions of copies of her debut album, Forever Your Girl. MTV News crashed a Los Angeles party where she was celebrating her success with several of her new Hollywood pals.
“Well, I’ve seen her on MTV and stuff,” observed actress Molly Ringwald, “and she seems like a really great dancer. I mean a really great, great dancer.”
” ’Straight Up’ is my favorite,” gushed Eddie Murphy, “and I like the album a lot. Paula’s a real sweet girl.”
“She sings it for me live, so I don’t need the record,” bragged Abdul’s then-boyfriend, John Stamos.
Eventually, MC Skat Kat’s rooftop dance partner was roped into giving a speech. “Everyone at Virgin Records, I thank you from the bottom of my heart because you believed in me when no one had to,” Abdul said, “and you really took a risk with me. … You’ve helped me live out my dream.”
So after selling 6 million records and scoring four #1 hits, what does Paula Abdul do next? Nope, not Disneyland. “As soon as I get finished with my next album, I’m gonna be doing a big [U.S.] and world tour, so I’ll be going everywhere,” she said.
While Abdul was marveling at her runaway success, karaoke kings Milli Vanilli (shh … it was still a secret in 1990) were marveling that critics had the nerve to trash their debut LP, Girl You Know It’s True. The curious Euro-pop duo — German-born Rob Pilatus and his largely silent partner, Fab Morvan — had sold 10 million albums, which has to prove something, they said.
In a Time magazine interview (in which we assume they did their own talking), Pilatus boasted: “Musically we are more talented than any Bob Dylan. Musically we are more talented than Paul McCartney. Mick Jagger, his lines are not clear. He don’t know how he should produce a sound. … I’m the new modern rock and roll. I’m the new Elvis.”
Seriously, the guy actually said that. See for yourself how the Rob and Fab musical revolution turned out next time VH1 has a “Behind the Music” marathon.
One artist who does have staying power, that butt-baring “Mask” mommy Cher, was shooting a video for the title track of 1989’s Heart of Stone 13 years ago this week. In the clip, directed by Marty Callner, the singer is surrounded by images of the people and events, both personal and historic, that have formed the backdrop of her life.
“I said, ’Marty, I have this idea,’ and he said, ’Well, I have an idea too. … You tell me your idea first.’ So I said, ’I feel like I wanna do this … ’ When I finished telling him, he said, ’All right, we’re not gonna do my idea. My idea’s nothing like that. I wanted to put you in a boxing ring and do some weird stuff.’ ”
As the video attests, Cher has seen a lot in her life.
“One time Bette Midler and I were … doing a special with Elton John and Flip Wilson, and Bette was at my house and Mick and Bianca came over,” the diva dished. “We’re all sitting around, and Bianca was acting very strange and she turned the light off, and we’re all sitting around having a party. And so Mick said, ’You’re really rude. Turn the lights back on. This is really stupid. … You know, sweetheart, you and Bette would really get along because she hates men too.’ Bianca looked at him and said, ’No, darling. No, I just hate you.’ And she got up and left. I went, ’Well, this is really interesting. They’re a fun couple. We should have them over more often.’ ”
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