About six or seven years ago, for reasons I can’t begin to remember, Pete and I decided to watch Three Men and a Little Lady, the 1990 major motion picture and sequel to Three Men and a Baby. It was a weird situation; I remember it specifically being a weeknight. We don’t usually watch bad movies on weeknights, but I’m almost certain this was the case because as the movie ended, Pete went to the kitchen to make coffee for the next morning, which he does every night right before we go to bed. I was distracted by something as the credits rolled and the most intense sense of comfort and familiarity came over me as I heard the words “I hear your name whispered on the wind, it's a soooooound that makes me cryyyyyy.” I snapped to attention and stared incredulously at the TV as I struggled to understand how on earth I’d forgotten about this song for at least 25 years. It hadn’t entered my mind once. And now here it was. Back in my life. For good.
“Waiting for a Star to Fall” was my absolute favorite song in the world when it was released. The experience of having a favorite song for a nine-year-old was very different in 1988 than it is for anyone of any age in 2020. This is particularly true if the favorite song is performed by NOBODY. Because they were ostensibly a one-hit-wonder who were on the radio constantly, I never considered getting the album and didn’t yet know of cassette singles, but it was ok because the song was on the radio CONSTANTLY. But because I never possessed any physical evidence of this song, it was able to leave my consciousness completely until we watched Three Men and a Little Lady on a weeknight for whatever reason.
Boy Meets Girl was first a married-couple songwriting duo who put together some of Whitney Houston’s best early tunes, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know.” They were inspired to write “Waiting for a Star to Fall” while watching a shooting star at an outdoor--that’s right--Whitney Houston concert. Knowing they had a pop classic on their hands, they tirelessly shopped the song around, first to their inspiration and best client Whitney, then to others, including Belinda Carlisle, who actually recorded it for an album, but didn’t end up including it. You can listen to THAT abomination here. Out of options, the duo formed their own group and put out an entire album just to include “Waiting for a Star to Fall” and the rest is history.
That last part isn’t true. “Waiting” appeared on their second album, but in my mind this is how it went. These two are not rock stars. The guy looks like Michael Bolton and until 30 seconds ago, I’d assumed he was bald in 1988 because despite having the long curly blond hair, he always wore a baseball cap. And not like an Athletics or Cowboys hat or whatever kind of hat white guys wore in 1988, it looks like the kind of hat you would get free from an insurance company. His partner is beautiful, but looks like the second-grade teacher your kids would like best because she’s “nice and really pretty.” Dresses accordingly, too. She completely lacks confidence and charisma. In the video for “Waiting” you can tell she’s really trying, but she looks like a robot doing an impression of Tiffany. It’s bad.
In the best possible way, though. I love this video. There are three settings: wheatfield with bubbles and children, the shoreline, and in a beach house with a bicycle. The children in the wheatfield seem random. Like, children aren’t the couple’s children. They’re just children. On the beach they’re frolicking and having a lovely time. In the beach house, when not riding the bicycle in the living room, they seem to be writing the song they’re performing in the video, which seems both high- and low-concept at the same time. They’re doing a passable job at looking like they’re having a good time while oozing stiff awkwardness. I love it because they’re clearly EXTREMELY talented songwriters, but performing just isn’t their thing. They’re fighting through it and it’s inspiring. I’m not a songwriter. I don’t think I could fight my way through writing a song.
Adding to my attachment to this song and this story, how cute is it that these geeks were married to each other? They seemed like the kind of married-couple business-partners who really bonded over collaboration. I love that. It’s really fun when you and your best friend/sexy-time partner can click on a creative level. I bet they were creative partners first and then one late night, they broke through their nervous awkwardness over a bottle of wine and well, the rest of this story writes itself. Until of course, they divorced in 2000. I’m surprised they didn’t divorce on 9/11. That’s the only other edit I’d make to this story.
I was so obsessed with this song that I made plans to produce a music video inspired by this one and “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant, another favorite song of mine from that general era (which will not appear on this list because it is not at all timeless, sounds too much like early 1991). The song was “We Threw Up on Nuns,” an underrated tune from our (not Whitney’s) Bodyguard Soundtrack, which has nothing to do with the beach. Nor is explicitly a love song, but has the bouncy, deliriously happy spirit of a late-80s/early-90s adult contemporary love song, despite being literally about throwing up on nuns. We were going to shoot it in Rehoboth in late September of 2014 when there wouldn’t be so many bozos around to crowd our shots, but we ran into budget and scheduling issues. I would still like to do this someday.
I can’t state enough how much I feel this song is a unique, forgotten masterpiece. Occasionally a song from my childhood will unearth itself and I’ll be magically taken back to that time because I hadn’t heard or thought about it in SO long. “We’re All Alone”by Rita Coolidge comes close but that wasn’t nearly as much of a soundtrack-of-my-life track. The first time I heard “Everything About You” by Ugly Kid Joe in 15-odd years was cool, but I hadn’t completely forgotten about it. I was delighted to share this fixation with Josie. I never got the long-form story of Josie and “Waiting for a Star to Fall,” but evidently she hadn’t forgotten about it like I had, and would occasionally--out of nowhere--think about how good the song was. When she told me this, I’d never felt so close to anyone, ever.