The song marks her first top 10 since “Electric Youth,” which hit No. 3 on Dance Club Songs in May 1989.
“Girls” becomes Gibson’s third Dance Club Songs top 10; before “Electric Youth,” “Shake Your Love” rose to No. 6 in November 1987. She’s tallied eight entries to date, beginning with “Only in My Dreams,” a No. 12 hit on the chart in March 1987 (when she was 16 years old).
Gibson’s new top 10 follows her featured turn on Sir Ivan’s “I Am Peaceman,” which reached No. 26 in July 2017.
“Girls,” released on Stargirl/Dauman, was remixed by Tracy Young, Dirty Werk and John Hohman, among others.
“It’s so meaningful for many reasons, but, namely, it’s a full-circle moment since my recording career started in the clubs,” Gibson tells Billboard of her latest Dance Club Songs success. “Atlantic Records initially signed me to a 12-inch single deal, and that was the test to see if the public would respond, because the dance community is a really discerning crowd; they either like the music on its own merit or they don’t.”
After its Dance Club Songs run, “Dreams” soared to No. 4 on the multi-metric Billboard Hot 100. Gibson has notched two Hot 100 No. 1s, “Foolish Beat” in 1988 and “Lost in Your Eyes” in 1989, the former making her the youngest female artist to have solely written, produced and performed a Hot 100 No. 1, a record that still stands.
In subsequent years, she recorded and wrote (including for other artists) and added multiple Broadway, film and TV roles to her resumé.
In 2019, Gibson performed, along with Naughty by Nature, Salt-N-Pepa and Tiffany, on New Kids on the Block’s The Mixtape Tour (regularly singing, among her setlist, a duet of “Lost” with New Kids’ Joey McIntyre).
True to its title, the official fan video for “Girls” spotlights those who attended shows on the tour.
Gibson views her latest hit as “especially important for women who are feeling stuck in their lives and have the need to be youthful and vital and bond with their girls and the men who celebrate them. I always felt like a spokesperson for my generation. From ‘Electric Youth’ to ‘Girls Night Out,’ it’s a connectedness. When music can do that, it’s a profound thing.”
In addition to The Mixtape Tour, Gibson recently starred as a judge on Nickelodeon’s America’s Most Musical Family, whose first season, which wrapped in January, highlighted 30 families vying for a contract with Republic Records and a $250,000 prize. She currently hosts Debbie Gibson’s Mixtape on SiriusXM’s The Blend.
“This moment is extremely satisfying, and it’s not wasted on me or the people who have supported me throughout the years,” Gibson muses of her latest hit. “It’s a huge moment of validation for all of us. I wake up grateful every day.”
Additional reporting by Gordon Murray