These posts are about the songs that just barely failed to cross the key line of chart success, entering the Billboard Top 40. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 41.
Antonio Jeffries went nearly as high as a performer could go with his first single. Released under the name the Tony Rich Project, “Nobody Knows” climbed to the runner-up slot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was boxed out to pop pinnacle by Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me,” which claimed #1 for six straight weeks in the spring of 1996. In the middle of the nineteen-nineties, practically no one was muscling past Celine Dion.
For the follow-up single to “Nobody Knows,” Laface Records opted for “Like a Woman,” another track off Words, the debut album from the Tony Rich Project. Less of a straight R&B number than its predecessor, “Like a Woman” resides in some nebulous zone between pop, adult contemporary, and adult album alternative. Maybe unsurprisingly, the single didn’t fare nearly as well as its predecessor, scratching its way up the chart to finish just shy of the Top 40. The album’s third and final single, “Leavin,” was even softer, peaking at #88. The Tony Rich Project kept right on making music, but there were no more charting singles, making the act a true one-hit wonder.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Top 40 Smash Near Misses” tag.