Wednesday, May 20, 2020

"Back in the High Life Again" by Steve Winwood

Song#:  3139
Date:  05/30/1987
Debut:  85
Peak:  13
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Winwood's fourth solo album Back in the High Life would be the best selling of his career. It would go triple platinum thanks to three hit singles including the #8 Pop/#1 AC "The Finer Things." To cap off the successful run of the album, this title track single was released as its final single. It would be a hit at AC becoming Winwood's second song to top that chart. While it wouldn't do as well at Pop or Rock, it still made an impact on each chart getting inside the Top 20 at #13 and #19, respectively.

ReduxReview:  This mandolin-driven track came along at the right time. Bruce Hornsby & the Range were scoring hits with their Americana sound and this song had a similar feel, so it fit right in on both pop and AC radio. I thought it was strong enough to reach the Pop Top 10, but it ended up stopping just short of that mark. It was my second favorite track from the LP following "Higher Love." The tune's relaxed, breezy feel and message about turning things back around to the positive was always a joy to hear. I don't know if Winwood was ever approached by the Miller Corporation, but it seemed like a no-brainer that they would secure this song for use in an ad campaign for Miller High Life beer. If Miller did indeed drop the ball on this, it had to be doubly painful when their competition Anheuser-Busch picked up Winwood's "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do" from his next LP for use in their commercials for Michelob beer. Ya snooze, ya lose.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Winwood's album had been released earlier in '86, which made it eligible for the '87 Grammy awards. It would generate six nominations and would win three including Record of the Year for the single "Higher Love." Since "Back in the High Life Again" was released in '87, it then became eligible for Grammy consideration for the '88 awards and it would receive a nomination for Record of the Year (it lost to Paul Simon's "Graceland").  2) The album featured appearances by several famous singers and musicians including Chaka Khan, James Ingram, Dan Hartman, Joe Walsh, Nile Rodgers, and Jocelyn Brown. This title-track tune also had a big name attached to it. Superstar James Taylor provided background vocals on the track.


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