After watching her debut, Raw Like Sushi, become a smash, Neneh Cherry now faces a familiar record-biz challenge: the sophomore jinx. The history of pop music is littered with artists who were white-hot with their first release but never again. Wayne Jancik, author of The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, reminds us that pop ”has a built-in obsolescence. You can only be new for so long.”
The most extreme example of the phenomenon is Debby Boone. With her first single as a solo artist, ”You Light Up My Life,” she was No. 1 in 1977 for 10 weeks. The song and the album by the same name both became million sellers. But Boone’s next single only struggled to No. 50.
More recently, Terence Trent D’Arby’s double-platinum first LP went to No. 4 in 1988, but his second died at No. 61. And let’s not forget the Great White Hope of rap, Vanilla Ice. After topping the charts in 1990 with his 7 million-selling To the Extreme, he released Extremely Live, which melted down at No. 30 in 1991, selling 500,000 copies. Ice ice baby, indeed.
Even now, one hotshot rookie may be going down hard. You Gotta Believe, Marky Mark’s follow-up to 1991’s platinum Music for the People, entered the charts at No. 67, but now it’s dropping faster than his Calvins.