Song: “To Be With You” by Mr. Big
Reached #1: February 29, 1992 (their first, 3 weeks)
The only song to reach #1 on Leap Day is this earworm that you probably already started hearing in your head as soon as you read the title…
…and if you watch the video, it kind of feels like it fell through a wormhole from 1986, doesn’t it?
In the States, they’re remembered pretty much only for this song. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but they’re much bigger in Japan. The band stayed together through 2002, releasing new material for the Japanese audience, before breaking up as the members of the band wanted to try other things.
They got back together at L.A.’s House of Blues in 2008 for an unofficial one-night reunion, then found it worked out so well that they went back on the road in 2009 and put out a new album in 2011.
So why just the one American hit? I’ve touched on the phenomenon before – if a fairly-unknown band releases a single that isn’t representative of the band’s other work, it will wind up hurting them in the long run. Mr. Big was first and foremost a rock band – putting out a ballad like “To Be With You” set expectations that the rest of their work didn’t meet. And that’s a very uniquely American phenomenon – there’s a song called “Big In Japan” for a reason. In the long run, it simply meant that Mr. Big cashed in on their Japanese fame – and they still do, with a multiple-album greatest-hits set as their last release there.
Tomorrow, another “Mr.” band…
No other songs reached #1 on February 29.