Contrary to what some critics of teen pop might imagine, pop sensation Debbie Gibson saw herself not as the next Madonna, but as the next Carole King. And when her single “Foolish Beat” reached the top of the Biilboard Hot 100 on this day in 1988, she achieved something very much in keeping with that goal: She became the youngest person ever to write, produce and perform her own #1 pop single.
Debbie Gibson was the poster-child for everything a talented teenager might achieve if she set her mind to justifying her parents’ investment in music and voice lessons. Raised in suburban Long Island, New York, Gibson began piano lessons at age five with the same teacher who taught Billy Joel. She wrote her first song, “Know Your Classroom,” at age six and her first “hit” at age 12, with a song called “I Come From America,” which won her $1,000 in a songwriting contest and convinced her parents to hire a professional manager. Five years later, with more than 100 original unreleased songs to her credit, she signed a contract with Atlantic Records and recorded her debut album, Out Of The Blue.
During the summer of 1987, Debbie Gibson earned her first Top-10 hit with her debut single, “Only In My Dreams.” After two more hits with “Shake Your Love” and “Out Of The Blue,” she earned her record-setting #1 hit with the self-produced original song, “Foolish Beat.”
Like so many teen stars before and after her, Debbie Gibson did not remain a viable pop star for long, but she made the most of her time in the spotlight, earning another #1 hit in early 1989 with “Lost In Your Eyes,” from her second album, Electric Youth, which reached the top of the Billboard album charts and inspired a pioneering foray into the youth cosmetics market with the creation of Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson perfume and cologne spritz by Revlon.
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