I remember it like it was yesterday.

Standing backstage with Debbie Gibson.

I don't remember who was onstage while she waited, but Debbie was clearly enjoying the vibe from the crowd.

My "ticket" to party. (Craig Allen photo)
My "ticket" to party. (Craig Allen photo)

I am working at WPST (now New Jersey 101.5's sister station)...and each year, we hold a listener appreciation concert with the biggest artists.

We are at the Hyatt Regency-Princeton, and there are several hundred listeners in the ballroom, on the other side of the backstage wall.

Debbie Gibson is wearing a nice blue and white striped dress. She is decked out with her two trademark ("Swatch") watches and wristbands.

She is bubbly. Lots of youthful enthusiasm. Debbie clearly enjoys live entertaining, as I find out in "small talk."

Unfortunately, I don't have a camera...but Debbie smiles broadly, as I ask her to sign the back of my "Anniversary Party" pass, just before she goes out onstage.

The crowd goes wild, as she sings her first hit "Only In My Dreams" (#4/1987), and "Lost In Your Eyes" (#1/1989), along with songs from her new (at the time) album.

Debbie Gibson was born in Brooklyn, NY on August 31, 1970. She began acting in community theater at the age of 5, and sang in the children's chorus at the Metropolitan Opera House at the tender age of 8.

In 1987, while performing at nightclubs around the country, Gibson starts recording her first album "Out Of The Blue." It is finished in 4 weeks.

"Out Of The Blue" (Craig Allen photo)
"Out Of The Blue" 1988. (Craig Allen photo)

When "Foolish Beat" rockets to #1 in 1988, Gibson becomes (at age 17) the youngest artist to ever write, produce and perform a #1 Billboard hit.

"Electric Youth" (Craig Allen photo)
"Electric Youth" 1989.  (Craig Allen photo)

When "Lost In Your Eyes" reaches #1 in 1989, Debbie becomes the first female to have a #1 album and single on the charts, at the same time.

Among her other noted accomplishments, Debbie debuted on Broadway in 1992, in "Les Miserables." And starred as Sandy in a London production of "Grease" in 1993. She also starred in later Broadway productions of "Grease," "Funny Girl," "Beauty And The Beast," and "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." She has also been a part of several "reality shows," including "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2012. And, that's just a few highlights in an incredible, multi-media career.

Debbie Gibson's "Greatest Hits" 1995. (Craig Allen photo)
Debbie Gibson's "Greatest Hits" 1995. (Craig Allen photo)

But to me, she'll always be Debbie, backstage in Princeton...early in her career, and mine too.

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