By Craig Clizbe
Earlier this week both Billboard.com and Variety reported an announcement coming from The West Orange Scholarship Fund in West Orange New Jersey. That announcement was about the establishment of a of a permanent endowment in memory of musician and music executive Tommy Page. Tommy who was a friend and supporter to many in the music industry is best known in pop culture as a teen idol who earned a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with his 1990 single, “I’ll Be Your Everything. ” He sadly passed away suddenly on March 3, 2017.
The earnings from the Tommy Page permanent endowment will be awarded annually beginning in June, and in perpetuity, to a qualified West Orange High School graduate with an interest in continuing their education in the fine arts with a preference in music education or performance. “We are excited to announce this endowment in memory of Tommy Page and thank his friends and family for establishing this tribute to him with the WOSF,” said West Orange Scholarship Fund President Rich Rizzolo. “The West Orange school district has a music program second to none and we believe the district is a perfect match for this scholarship endowment.”
Tommy was a resident of West Orange with his partner, Charlie Wright, and their three children who currently attend the West Orange Public Schools.
The scholarship was founded by his good friend and long-time attorney, Mark Levinsohn, and devoted friend and neighbor, Lisa Boymann, in the hopes of continuing to keep Tommy’s spirit, love of music, and memory alive.
“From a young age, Tommy loved singing and songwriting,” said music attorney Mark Levinsohn, “but as much as he enjoyed exercising his creative skills, he also acknowledged the importance of education. By combining his talent, intelligence, drive and magnetic personality, Tommy achieved remarkable success, both as an artist and as an executive in the music industry.” Added Lisa Boymann, “Tommy was extraordinarily kind, warm and attentive to all kinds of people. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always humble and compassionate toward others, regardless of his many achievements. Tommy touched many lives and it’s great to know every year a West Orange High School graduate will benefit from a scholarship honoring his memory.”
It was with that in mind that we wanted to dedicate this week’s #TBT article to Tommy as we tell the story behind the creation of “I’ll Be Your Everything” from his album, Paintings In My Mind.
The story of “I’ll Be Your Everything” began in 1989 when he was touring to support his first hit single “A Shoulder To Cry On” which peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. At that time Tommy was the opening act for the biggest pop group in the world at the time, New Kids On The Block. He was becoming known around the USA as part of their blockbuster Hangin’ Tough tour.
The early stages of the I’ll Be Your Everything”‘s creation began on the road with a spontaneous collaboration with New Kids On The Block member, Jordan Knight. Tommy famously told the story in Fred Bronson’s book, The Billboard Book Of #1 Hits. The story goes that while on the road with New Kids and Tiffany, a lonely Tommy Page would often find himself in hotel lobbies in various cities around the country, randomly playing tunes on the piano. After doing this regularly for a couple weeks he was eventually noticed by Jordan Knight.
Page told Bronson in the book, “We were at the Hyatt Hotel in Kansas City. Jordan came over and said, ‘Can I sit down on the bench?’”
Tommy played Jordan a new song he had partially written that would become “I’ll Be Your Everything.” Jordan liked what he heard, and Tommy reportedly offered the song to him for the New Kids’ next album. However in response Jordan expressed interest in holding on to it for a possible solo album that he wanted to record in the future. Tommy agreed, but plans would change a month later when he asked Jordan and some of the other New Kids to help him finish the song. He had toured with New Kids to support his 1988 self titled debut album, but it was time for the follow up. His label, Sire/Warner Bros. Records picked up their option for Tommy to record a second album for them. That inspired Page to ask Jordan if he could include “I’ll Be Your Everything” on the upcoming project. Knight agreed if Tommy allowed him to produce it.
Tommy Page Jordan Knight, and NKOTB member Danny Wood wrote the final version of the song. As promised Tommy did allow Jordan to produce the track, he did so alongside his band mate, Donnie Wahlberg and their collaborator Michael Jonzun. This was a significant achievement for New Kids On The Block because it was recorded at the height of their popularity, and was a unique opportunity for them to show their creativity as songwriters at a time when the majority of their music was still being written by their producer, Maurice Starr.
“I’ll Be Your Everything” was released as the first single from Tommy Page’s second album,1990’s Paintings In My Mind. It became a huge success at radio and received heavy rotation on MTV. Tommy talked to Bronson about how he eagerly helped get the song out to radio a little ahead of schedule in February of 1990.
“The single was not supposed to come out until the end of February,” Page told Bronson. “I was a little devil and started giving the song to people [in radio] I shouldn’t have given it to. But before I knew it, my friends were calling [saying], ‘Your song’s on the radio.’”
“I’ll Be Your Everything” is still one of the most successful singles that the New Kids On The Block have contributed to creatively. It was certified gold by the RIAA and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1990.
Tommy’s fan base quickly grew with NKOTB’s “blockhead” fans falling in love with his sound, as new and exciting opportunities quickly presented themselves. One of those opportunities was a famous appearance on the iconic 90s sitcom, Full House. That episode, “Crushed” aired on ABC on January 14, 1992 during the show’s season 5 run.
Tommy played himself as a special guest at Stephanie Tanner’s 10th birthday party, singing a song he wrote that was named after her. The guest spot became one of Tommy’s most famous contributions to pop culture that he is still recognized for to this day.
Tommy reflected on that success exclusively in an interview that was published here on Clizbeats.com in April 2010 to commemorate the 20thanniversary of “I’ll Be Your Everything” topping the charts.
Clizbeats.com’s “Tribute To Tommy Page” (Originally Published In April 2010)
Tommy Page (With New Kids On The Block)
“I’ll Be Your Everything”
From Paintings In My Mind
Sire/Warner Bros. Records
“I’ll Be Your Everything” (Jordan Knight, Danny Wood, Tommy Page) (Original Demo)
From Jordan Knight Sings NKOTB (Released In 2007)
Essential Media Group LLC
From Full House
Season 5 Episode 16 “Crushed”
Jeff Franklin Productions/MillerBoyett Productions/Lorimar Television/Warner Bros. Television