Back in 1987, two teenage sensations dominated the pop music charts with an impressive string of hits.
Tiffany Renee Darwish or simply Tiffany was only 16 when she topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts with her feet-stomping remake of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now” and her follow-up ballad, “Could’ve Been.” She went on to score two more Top 10 hits in “I Saw Her Standing There,” another remake, this time of a popular Beatles classic and another syrupy ballad in “All This Time.”
Deborah Ann Gibson, who found fame as Debbie Gibson, was only 17 when her first two singles, the bouncy dance-oriented ditties “Only In My Dreams” and “Shake Your Love” reached Billboard’s Top 5. By the time she was 18 the following year, Debbie had two more big hits in “Out of the Blue” and “Foolish Beat” which became her first number one. She topped the pop charts one more time with “Lost in Your Eyes” in 1989.
Because of their phenomenal rise to fame that took place at right about the same time, some kind of rivalry similar to the one involving Katy Perry and Taylor Swift as of late, have developed between Tiffany and Debbie. But unlike the rivalry of the latter two pop stars which involved a very public and personal feud, the two ladies say they never had any personal animosity between them.
“It was very much a media-fabricated thing. You know, pick a team, who’s your favorite? Come on, people can’t own more than one album? Why do they have to pick?,” exclaimed Debbie during the press conference at The Theatre at Solaire lobby to promote their Manila concert happening this Saturday, September 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“All I remember are the good vibes and camaraderie that Tiffany and I had whenever we performed together, like we did on Top of the Pops and other shows, I was like ‘Oh, it’s the only other girl doing what I’m doing right now’ and there was this instant camaraderie and support that we’ve always had for each other,” she further pointed out.
Tiffany agrees although she said she also saw the good side of that so-called rivalry.
“I think that maybe some fans felt the need that they have to choose and they kinda worked off each other a little bit. Now, it’s more that they can have the best of both worlds. We still love what we’re doing and we’re proud to share the same fans for the last 30 years.”
Although they were quite cordial and complimentary towards each other during their hitmaking years, Tiffany revealed that it wasn’t until both of them were cast in the monster sci-fi disaster film, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (“very serious stuff!,” she quipped) that they truly became close.
“Doing a movie together allowed us to really get to know each other more. That was when we were able to talk about our lives outside of music and really developed a friendship,” she noted.
Being both actively involved in music to this day has allowed Tiffany and Debbie to explore other genres and diversify their repertoire.
In 2011, Tiffany released Rose Tattoo, her first full country album recorded in Nashville. That same year, she also released Greatest Hits of The ’80s & Beyond which not only featured her biggest hits but also included cover versions of 80s favorites like Blondie’s “Call Me,” Quarterflash’s “Harden My Heart” and Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield.”
During the press conference, she happily talked about her new album, “Pieces of Me” which she said is more rock-oriented and is influenced by rock icons like Stevie Nicks, Heart and Led Zeppelin.
“I’m very excited to be here to show off my new music. I feel like this is the best album I’ve ever made,” she beamed.
Debbie’s musical odyssey is equally fascinating. In 2003, she released Colored Lights: The Broadway Album, a tribute to popular show tunes. This was followed in 2007 by the premiere of Electric Youth: The Musical that was based on her big hits. And in 2010, she returned to the studio for Ms. Vocalist, an album of English covers of popular Japanese tunes.
She stunned many fans back in 1995 when she sang backup vocals in the song, “I Wanna Destroy You” by the legendary American punk rock band, the Circle Jerks. She remembers the time when she performed the song live with the band at the seminal punk club, CBGC in New York.
“I was trying to get into the stage door from the alley and it was locked and they’re announcing my name and I was like ‘let me in’. It was all very rock and roll and it reminded me that I just like being in the moment onstage and I love that feeling when anything can happen. I stage dove that night so yes, Circle Jerks were a great influence on me,” she fondly recalled.
But even with their musical forays, Tiffany and Debbie had never forgotten the well-loved songs that got them to where they are now.
“The original songs are the moments everyone is waiting for. That connection, that’s why they love you. We want to bring it up to date and give it a little edge but we also want to retain that 80s retro vibe. So yes, fans are going to have their 80s moments from our music to the songs that we love and grew up with,” Tiffany mused.
“My show is going to be more upbeat, it’s high energy with several costume changes and all the fun stuff. I’m going to sing some ballads accompanied by the piano. And there are going to be some updated arrangements but we’re going to do the hits mostly the way people remember them,” added Debbie.
Presented by Random Minds together with Solaire Resort and Casino and CTK Inc., Tiffany and Debbie Gibson Live in Manila is happening this Saturday, September 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena. Tickets on sale at all SM Tickets Outlets.