603. ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, by Tiffany

Continuing the pop bangers run that we’ve been on in the deep midwinter of 1987-88…

I Think We’re Alone Now, by Tiffany (her 1st and only #1)

3 weeks, from 24th January – 14th February 1988

I love the juddering intro, with the choppy chords and the synthesised hand claps. It sets the tone for a song that, depending on your tolerance for all things ‘80s, could be as brilliant as it is cheap and tacky. It’s an interesting meshing of big and bold American production with the Euro-pop style that was dominating across the Atlantic. A bigger-budget SAW, if you will.

Children behave, That’s what they say when we’re together… Apparently Tiffany had no idea that the song was about teenagers looking for a place to have sex. Trying to get away, Into the night, Then you put your arms around me and we tumble to the ground… You do have to wonder how she didn’t know, until you realise that she was just fifteen when she recorded it. Then you have to wonder about the ethics of having a child record such low-key smut…

It’s a cover of a sixties hit by Tommy James and the Shondells, which had made #4 in the US in 1967 but hadn’t charted in the UK (their big smash would come a year later, with ‘Mony Mony’). Tiffany had to be persuaded to record a cover of a song written long before she was born but, once she did, it became a worldwide hit… Just in time for this writer’s second birthday.

In my last post, I commented on Belinda Carlisle’s girl-next-door image, at least in her music video. Well, Tiffany Darwish outdoes her on that front, being a literal girl. This is not as hard-edged as ‘Heaven Is a Place on Earth’, but I’d rate it just as highly. You do have to suspend your… What’s the musical equivalent of suspending disbelief? Suspending taste…? You have to suspend something, certainly, and forgive it some of its more flagrant eighties excesses (the solo, for example… what in God’s name is that?) but it is fun.

The video really ups the teeny-bopper vibes, with footage of Tiffany performing in shopping malls across the USA (it opens in Ogden City, Utah) spliced with her goofing around in recording studios. Like many teen idols, Tiffany’s career didn’t stretch much past two albums and a few more Top 10 hits. Though she did find time to cover/desecrate (delete as appropriate) another sixties classic: the Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. It’s one of the least respectful Beatles covers of all time, and for that I kind of admire it…

Before we go, I’ll repeat a well-worn piece of pop trivia. In the US, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ was knocked off top spot after two weeks by Billy Idol… and his cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ ‘Mony Mony’. The only time two cover versions of songs originally recorded by the same artist have replaced one another on top of the charts…?


5 thoughts on “603. ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, by Tiffany

  1. I’m in two minds about this. OK, it might have been a bit tacky and we may wonder about a girl of such tender years singing about such, er, potentially adult misbehaviour, but it was a decent enough pop tune that didn’t disgrace the original. I heard the album when it came out and was favourably impressed. The track that really knocked me out, appeared some months later as the fourth single – and followed three Top 10 entries by only just crawling into the Top 60 – was for me the best of the lot by a mile. ‘Feelings of Forever’ was an absolute stunner – and I found myself full of admiration of someone her age putting heart and soul into such a love song. I even remember hearing Elvis Costello, normally renowned for his acerbic comments on anything he didn’t like, putting in a good word for it on Radio 1 Round Table as a new release. Even 30+ years later it still moves me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx2V84omm-k

  2. I’m sticking with Tommy James/Shondells versions…of both songs. I think I read, somewhere, that someone found Tiffany and pulled her out of the shopping malls to go against Debby Gibson. Gibson was an actual musician. Tiffany, just a singer, mostly mumbling thru her words. She was pretty. I will giver her that and many young girls adored her, much like the early 80s teens that either dressed like Madonna, Boy George or wore trash bags from A Flock of Seagulls.

  3. Pingback: 604. ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, by Kylie Minogue | The UK Number Ones Blog

  4. It’s not her voice that bothered me…and I never thought about the words to that song because yea it was originally wrote that way but…when she sings it it’s something else. BUT it’s that damn bouncy synth that I would like to take a sledgehammer to. It makes it pretty much unlistenable for me…I Saw Her Standing There is the same way.

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