Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Song of the Day: 'Leave a Light On' by Belinda Carlisle

Day 12 of my series of Songs That Peaked at No. 11. This one is interesting because like "Head Over Heels" by the Go-Go's, "Leave a Light On" kind of portended the beginning of the end for Belinda Carlisle's solo record sales, just as "Head Over Heels" did for the Go-Go's. After hitting the Top 10 with "Mad About You" (No. 3), "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" (No. 1), "I Get Weak" (No. 2) and "Circle in the Sand" (No. 7) from her first two solo albums, the premiere single off "Runaway Horses" (1989) peaked at No. 11. 

But rather than being a hiccup, it would prove to be her last decent hit, with just one more song ever making the Top 40: "Summer Rain" off the same LP reached No. 30 in early 1990. (Likewise, after "Head Over Heels," the Go-Go's had one more Top 40 hit -- "Turn to You" at No. 32.) Then Belinda only had one more single on the Hot 100: "Do You Feel Like I Feel?" hit No. 73 in 1991 and that was all she (didn't) wrote. (Ditto for the Go-Go's, who had "Yes or No" place at No. 84 only to never chart again.) Like "Head Over Heels," "Leave a Light On" remains one of the Go-Go's singer's best songs to date, further proof that the American record-buying public generally has terrible taste. (It reached No. 4 in the U.K., where her solo hits continued through the '90s.) 


Unknown said...

Loved that song and the whole album!!

GC said...

Great song! Runaway Horses was a pretty good album. I remember being surprised it didn't get as much traction as her previous solo projects. But you are so right, after Runaway Horses, the music took a hard left turn. Jody Watley had a similar trajectory (in my opinion). Her first two solo albums were incredible. The third was pretty strong, and then it is like she fell off a cliff. They both have a strong fan base who would probably disagree with me, but for me, they lost some of their magic.