Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Valerie" by Stevie Winwood

Song#:  1248
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  79
Peak:  70
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Winwood's third LP "Talking Back to the Night" got off to a sluggish start when its first single, "Still in the Game," got shut out of the Top 40 (#47). On initial release, this second single spent a short month on the chart and disappeared. However, it would get a second lease on life later in the decade in a remix version that would reach the Top 40. But this original version was quickly forgotten.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure why this song didn't catch on the first time around. The remix version does sound better, but it's the same song. Sometimes when an artist hits it big, as Winwood did with his "Back in the High Life" album, older songs can get an opportunity to be rediscovered. I'm glad this one did. I've always liked it and Winwood's soaring voice on the chorus. My only quibble with it is the short, cut-off ending. It makes the song sound like a demo rather than a fully thought out production.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Winwood's co-writer on this song, Will Jennings, apparently had someone specific in mind while writing the lyrics. The "Valerie" in question seems to be singer Valerie Carter, a popular in-demand background singer whose career was on the skids due to her increasing drug use. This is not the first song where Carter was the inspiration. Jackson Browne's "That Girl Can Sing" (#22, 1980) is said to be about Carter. She also appeared on the pop chart in duet form with Eddie Money on "Let's Be Lovers Again" (#65, 1980)


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