Required listening: Cathy Dennis

Work’s been kicking my butt, so apologies for another “required listening” choice that’s from another era, but it’s been driving my energy as the work days maintain their length lately.  So, onto another choice that you may be less familiar with: Cathy Dennis.

Dennis’ first album, “Move to This,” was early ’90s dance at its most perfect.  Most are familiar with her hits from that era, such as “Touch Me (All Night Long),” seen below:

The fiery redhead had a couple of other big hits off the album, such as “Too Many Walls” and “Just Another Dream.”

Her second album, “Into the Skyline,” didn’t go anywhere in the U.S., but offered up some good selections, like “Irresistible,” seen here:

Dennis performed at the original “Beverly Hills 90210” prom, and one of the numbers she performed is perhaps my favorite from her during that era, “Moments of Love”:

She started to record a third album that was more soul-based, and then went a different direction.  The video that leads this post is one of my favorite tracks from that album, “When Dreams Turn to Dust.”  The “Am I the Kinda Girl” album had a more rock tinge with a subtle throwback to a different era, although the timing was unfortunately just too early to hook into the retro trend that started around the “Austin Powers” time frame and artists like Amy Winehouse have hooked into since, but it’s possibly the strongest of the three.  Sadly, it was never released in the U.S. and didn’t sell well elsewhere.

All three albums are worth a look – Dennis is a good singer and songwriter and is underrated.  But don’t feel too badly for her.

Additional listening

She started to transition into songwriting around the time of the release of “Girl.”  Her manager was Simon Fuller – he managed the Spice Girls and was one of the executives responsible for “American Idol.”  You know the ubiqutious “American Idol” theme?

Yeah, she co-wrote that.  And her vocals are in that “Aaah.”  She wrote a number of songs performed by “Idol” winners and finalists, including the B-side to Kelly Clarkson’s victory song… “Before Your Love” was a hit in its own right:

She co-wrote the song that brought Kylie Minogue back into the U.S. in a big way, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” and was part of the backing vocals, too:

How about Britney Spears’ “Toxic”? Same.  In fact, here’s her demo version of it, which shows you how fully formed the song was when Dennis was done with it:

Dennis was a Writer on Katy Perry’s first #1 hit, “I Kissed a Girl,” as well. So I guess she’s partially at fault for unleashing that one.

It seems like things have been quieter for Dennis lately; I hope that’s just a temporary trend, but she’s definitely brought a lot of great music into the world.

Just to see if 9 YouTube embeds is too much, here’s one last one – a demo for a song she submitted for Rihanna to record after the whole Chris Brown affair.  It didn’t make the cut, but it’s a good song and you can hear the Rihanna-like vocals… it would’ve been a good track for her:

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