In 1988, ‘Foolish Beat’ Hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Chart Rewind

“I wanted to write my own haunting breakup ballad,” Gibson recalls. “I drew on experiences from my older sisters and my limited puppy love experiences.”

By Debbie Gibson 

“I find that people have kept [it] with them. I think it’s because the lyrics are simple, but you can fill in the blanks with your adult experience. I know that I can as a singer now.”

In 2013, Debbie Gibson recounted to Billboard her memories of “Foolish Beat,” which had then topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart 25 years earlier, on the ranking dated June 25, 1988. The song made history for Gibson: As she was 17 years old when the ballad reigned, she became the youngest woman to have written, produced and performed a Hot 100 No. 1, a mark that still stands.

“When I was writing it,” Gibson further recalled in 2013, “I was guessing what love would be like … and then also guessing what it would be like to lose love. Now that I’ve been through all that, I can sing the very simple lyrics and really fill it.”

The song was released as the fourth single from Gibson’s Atlantic Records debut album Out of the Blue, which hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200. Her breakthrough hit “Only in My Dreams” reached No. 4 on the Hot 100, as did follow-up “Shake Your Love,” while the title cut then hit No. 3. (Following “Foolish Beat,” fifth single “Staying Together” became the set’s fifth top 40 hit, rising to No. 22.)

Gibson has continued to expand her Billboard chart history, as she sent her first seasonal collection, Winterlicious, into the top 20 of Top Holiday Albums in November 2022. It followed her first proper LP of all-new music in two decades, The Body Remembers, which hit the Top Current Albums and Top Album Sales charts in 2021.

Gibson is currently celebrating the 35th anniversary of her sophomore album, Electric Youth, which ruled the Billboard 200 for five weeks beginning in March 1989. The Long Island native’s run of shows this summer includes a date July 26 at The Town Hall in New York. “New York City is where so many of my dreams started and became a reality,” Gibson recently posted. “This is a full circle moment, as we are recreating the original 1989 tour with several original band members and dancers and adding a few modern updates for a ‘newstalgic’ evening of hits. It’s so incredible that we are all still here together after starting this journey three-and-a-half decades ago.”

Upon marking the milestone of “Foolish Beat” ruling the Hot 100, Gibson recounted, in an exclusive countdown, the chart that week in 1988, musing about each song in the top 20. The song, which became Gibson’s first of two No. 1s, ahead of “Lost in Your Eyes” in March 1989, overcame impressive competition, including fellow classics from Michael Jackson, George Michael, Def Leppard, INXS and Hall and Oates. –Gary Trust


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