“Foolish Heart” by Steve Perry (1984)

Steve Perry’s voice is amazing. Obviously, he’s best known for being the lead singer of a rock band (Journey, for those unaware). But he could’ve been a soul singer. He could’ve been a jazz singer. Guy could probably (still) sing opera.

“Foolish Heart” might be the most middle-of-the-road song Perry had done up to that point. I mean, “Open Arms” was a power ballad, and power ballads are different from what “Foolish Heart” is. It’s a pretty straight down the middle mid ’80s easy listening song. Michael Bolton could’ve covered it and had a smash. Sharon Bryant, the one time lead singer of Atlantic Starr, did cover it and had a sizable R&B hit.

The key is Steve’s reading of the lyrics. He could’ve scenery-chewed the hell out of “Foolish Heart” (the way, say, Bolton might have), but he doesn’t. He sings powerfully, but sensitively. The pyrotechnics are brief and are there for emphasis as opposed to showiness. This song was a highlight of my Lite-FM listening days, and still holds up decades after I discovered it.

Do you think anyone born after 1990 would sit through a video this simple and slowly paced? The album budget was clearly depleted when the time came to shoot this clip.

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