Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Wind Beneath My Wings" by Lou Rawls

Song#:  1390
Date:  03/26/1983
Debut:  82
Peak:  65
Weeks:  6
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  A three-time Grammy winner, this R&B singer began recording jazz-oriented albums for Capitol Records in 1962. Although his recordings were selling well, he didn't have much luck on any singles chart until he moved to a full R&B sound on his 1966 album "Soulin'." That LP featured his first #1 R&B hit "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing" (#13 pop). His silky voice would front more hits that culminated in his 1976 #1 R&B (#2 pop, #1AC) gold hit "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." Chart hits began to ebb after that single and as the 80s started he was looking for a new label. Epic picked him up and his second album for them, "When the Night Comes," produced this single that became a #10 AC hit. Pop and R&B (#60) were not that interested and it became Rawls' final pop chart entry. His last R&B chart showing would come in 1987. Rawls would continue to record and remain a popular concert draw and TV personality. He would receive a Grammy nod for Best Jazz Vocals, Male, for his 1989 album "At Last." Rawls died of cancer in 2006.

ReduxReview:  Speaking song lyrics is really tricky. It can be very effective or incredibly corny. I have to say for this song, it is the latter. I almost wanted to give up on this song within the first 10 seconds. But I hung in there and I'm glad I did. Once the groove starts, the song sounds good. I'd never heard the tune at this tempo and I rather like it. Rawls is always in great voice, so that certainly helps. If I'm being honest, I think this song is full of cheez-whiz. It's never been a favorite of mine. I like a good slice of processed cheeze every now and then, but this one was just a little too filling for my taste. However, the arrangement (although dated) is interesting and puts a different spin on a song we all know. Now, if only the first 35 seconds of the song could be lopped off, destroyed, and redone.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Here is another song that took several years to become a major hit. Composed in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley, the song was demoed by the writers and also by fellow songwriter Bob Montgomery. Montgomery's version was shopped around and got picked up by British crooner Roger Whittaker who recorded the song for his 1982 album of the same name. The same year, an Australian singer became the first to chart the song anywhere. Colleen Hewett's version reached #52 on Australia's Kent Music Report. The song's next appearance was on Sheena Easton's 1982 album "Madness, Money & Music." Rawls' 1983 version came next and was the first to hit a US chart. This was followed by a country version the same year by Gary Morris. His single of the song was a hit reaching #4 on the country chart. Many other artists would cover the song, but of course the most famous version would be Bette Midler's 1989 Grammy-winning #1 single. Although primarily known as a ballad, Silbar and Henley's original demo was a mid-tempo song while Montgomery turned it into a ballad. Rawls' version is in the style of the original demo.


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