I haven’t been paying much attention to “American Idol” this year (other than GG’s awesome wrap-up columns), but my eyes did perk up when I realized one of the contestants performed Taylor Dayne’s 1990 chart topper “Love Will Lead You Back”. It was the first and only #1 hit for the songstress, a leather-lunged lass from Long Island who first appeared on the scene two 1/2 years before with the dance/pop classic “Tell it to My Heart”.

(you’re gonna have to click on the link since embedding seems to not be working today.)

 

Taylor’s big voice was obviously the star of the show, but the video for said song is one of the Eighties’ most unintentionally humorous clips. From the hair to the red footprints to the choreography, watching the video for the first time in (probably) two decades sent me into hysterics. I also remember a big debate in my household regarding Taylor’s ethnic background. My aunt caught the video on BET (yes, BET played this video) and swore up and down that Taylor was some sort of Paula Abdul-esque ethnic hybrid (I say this in retrospect, as Paula was not yet famous at the time “Tell it to My Heart” was released. I, having read an article in some magazine or another, figured out that Taylor Dayne was actually Leslie Wunderman, a nice Jewish girl from Nassau County. It does seem that Taylor’s handlers tried to play the ethnic ambiguity card at the beginning of her career and, to be fair, I know several Jewish girls who could very easily pass for either Latina or mulatto. Regardless of what she looked like, though: there was no denying that voice. Taylor was the big-voiced chick from Lawn Guyland three years before Mariah Carey stepped onto the scene.

The pop hits dried up for Taylor by the mid-Nineties, but she’s gone on to become a mainstay on the dance charts and she still performs to this day-something tells me that “Tell it to My Heart” is probably the song that she ends her show with. Maybe she should bring out the hair from the video as a stage prop some day.

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