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Ross King: Remember Debbie Gibson? She’s back with a Christmas album… and it’s a cracker

© Annie Lesser/imageSPACE/ShuttersDeborah Gibson in 
Cirque du Soleil.
Deborah Gibson in Cirque du Soleil.

It’s always great to catch up with old pals out here and it’s even better when you can watch them perform too.

Last week it was the turn of Debbie Gibson, the lady who made pop history when she burst on to the pop scene in 1987 with her triple-platinum album Out Of The Blue as she became the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a Billboard Hot 100 No 1 single Foolish Beat.

A string of hits followed, including Only In My Dreams, Shake Your Love, Out Of The Blue, Electric Youth, and my favourite (and my sister’s too) Lost In Your Eyes. Miss Gibson, 52, is still having hits 30 years later!

Debbie is on tour with her wonderful Winterlicious show, with an album of the same name, and we chatted about how we’ve bumped into each other over the years. We first met in the early ’90s when she was starring in London’s West End as Sandy in the musical Grease.

She came on my TV show Pebble Mill back then and I always remember she sent me a hand-written thank-you card, which I still have. We also laughed at one time when she spotted me sitting out in the front of the Ivy restaurant in LA and she decided to have fun by chanting my name out loud. Nobody noticed me but they didn’t miss the gorgeous Debbie!

She’s always broken down many barriers. She also broke the mould by writing her own hits and she shared the 1989 Songwriter Of The Year Award with a certain Bruce Springsteen.

Debbie has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and many more but I love it when I see her belt out her hits – and she dances up a storm too.

She told me: “I really want it to be like those awesome holiday specials we used to watch as kids and, for me, it’s like going to Disney and seeing those theme park shows. It’s that kind of dose of nostalgia and warmth and festivity.

“I love giving people those song and dance numbers, I spend a lot my life living in a modern rock’n’roll mindset, like the way I perform, but this is a really fun reason to go back to those Broadway roots and that more theatrical sound and presentation.”

The album, her first Christmas one ever, is great fun too with a brilliant new festive song – I Wish Everyday Was Christmas co-written by Debbie and a new friend of mine, Sylvia MacCalla.

“I put the album on in my car and celebrate,” said Debbie. “I go, ‘Wow, this is the record I always wished to make for the holidays. So that’s a great feeling…It really reflects all of the elements I’ve been inspired by in holiday music over my 52 years on this planet.”

On the night I saw the show she duetted via video with her dad Joe on White Christmas but, when the tour hits Florida, Joe will join her on stage at the ripe young age of 80. “That’ll be so incredible and will really make the show so special”. Yes, a special show from a special lady.

Funnily enough the last time we duetted was on US TV when I lay on top of Liberace’s piano as Debbie tinkled the ivories. I’ll leave you to make up your own jokes.