Home > Composition Book > [January, 1989] Tiffany vs Debbie Gibson: The Ultimate Showdown

[January, 1989] Tiffany vs Debbie Gibson: The Ultimate Showdown

1/17/89

Dear Journal,

I went to Pennsilvania and it was fun. There was a boy my age there named Wallace who gave me a tape. Tiffany.

Tomorrow night I am going to sleep over Rose’s and stay at her house for Thursday and Friday. I am not really mad at Rose but we get along pretty well.

Today we are going on a trip to prospect park. I am going to be partners with Nisa and Jessica.

I am glad things are working out well for me.

tiffany DoA

Art by DoA

I still remember that cassette, covered with green and blue marker squiggles to the point where you could barely make out the song titles. That weekend, I played that Tiffany tape so many times, I think by the end of my stay Wallace was happy for me to take it off his hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if to this day he shudders every time he hears “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

There have been numerous pop culture debates over the years. Coke vs Pepsi. PC vs Mac. In terms of music there’s been The Beatles vs The Rolling Stones and Blur vs Oasis. In the late 1980s there was a media imposed rivalry among two teen pop sensations: Debbie Gibson vs Tiffany.

Back then, numerous teenybopper magazines had charts comparing the blonde from Long Island and the redhead who got her start singing in shopping malls. As if we had to choose. While I discovered Debbie Gibson first, I wore out my copy of Out of the Blue and was thrilled to find another singer in the same vein. Back then, my main source for discovering music was Casey’s Top 40, which could be tedious considering all the commercials, the hit songs I wasn’t crazy about, and all those request letters Casey Kasem read on the air. Being handed a tape that contained songs I instantly loved was like magic.

While I have a tendency to be pretty damn gullible, I saw the Debbie Gibson versus Tiffany debate for the marketing ploy that it was. Why did one have to be better than the other? Why did we have to choose between them? Yes, Gibson wrote her own songs and had more Top 10 hits, but Tiffany had a bit of an edgy rasp to her voice and wasn’t afraid to sing her guts out to make “Could’ve Been” the heart-wrenching ballad that it was. Tiffany also gets bonus points for doing a cover of U2’s “New Year’s Day” with Front Line Assembly in the late 199o’s.

In the end, Debbie Gibson may have had more career longevity, but both she and Tiffany have a special place in my childhood and musical history. So let’s call it a tie.

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  1. Liz
    September 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    They both grew up to be pretty impressive women, too. However, I was definitely not a pop culture expert as a kid, since my parents were very removed from it…I do remember that I thought Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were friends in real life (and also with Tiffany!), so I would say to my friend, “Let’s play rock stars!” and one of us would be Madge, and the other would be Cyndi…doing…whatever rock stars do… 😉

    • damiella
      September 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

      Hahahaha! That game is genius! I wish I had thought of it when I was a kid. My best friend and I played a similar game, where we were characters from The Facts of Life. I was usually Blair and she was usually Jo. And if she insisted on being Blair, then I would invent some plot twist where Jo hits her head on a rock and starts acting like Blair. In the end, lessons were learned about friendship. Or something.

  2. bridget
    September 27, 2009 at 2:15 am

    that is an absolutely adorable picture

    • damiella
      September 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

      I will give the artist your compliments. Hopefully, his work will be making more appearances in future posts.

  3. bridget
    September 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    next time he has to draw baby damiella with crimped hair :p

    • damiella
      September 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

      I agree. I’ve also requested a side ponytail with or without crimped hair.

  4. October 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I was definitely on Team Debbie. I wore out my “Out of the Blue” tape as well. You should read my blog entry about her: http://midwesterngirlforever.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/6th-grade-crush/

    We really are on the same wave length.

    • damiella
      October 28, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      I love it! And funny enough my next entry is going to be about Ms. Gibson yet again. Go Team Debbie!

  1. January 19, 2010 at 11:52 am
  2. August 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm

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