Wednesday, January 6, 2021

"She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze (featuring Wendy Fraser)

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3367
Date:  12/19/1987
Debut:  84
Peak:  3
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Although Patrick Swayze became known for his acting, he had other talents as well. He was a trained ballet dancer as well as a musician. He put both of those skills to use early on in his career when he became part of the replacement cast of Grease during its Broadway run. Swayze got the lead role of Danny Zuko. After that, his acting career began to slowly take off. His breakout role came in 1987 via a low-budget film called Dirty Dancing and once again his two other talents were put to use. Swayze was not only able to show off his smooth moves playing a resort dance instructor, but he also got to show off his musical side by recording a song for the film's soundtrack. Swayze co-wrote and sang "She's Like the Wind," which ended up being released as the third single from the soundtrack album. With the film becoming a success and with two other songs from the soundtrack already becoming hits, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and "Hungry Eyes," not to mention Swayze's new star status, the song began to take off. It would eventually reach #3 at Pop and stay there for three weeks while hitting #1 at AC. Unfortunately, it would end up being Swayze's only song to reach the charts making him a true one-hit wonder.

ReduxReview:  I've always been 50/50 on this song. It kind of sounds like a relic from the late 70s spruced up with 80s production. I don't like Swayze's voice and the lyrics are awful. Yet there is something oddly endearing about the tune. The mysterious verse followed by a quick two measure chorus/hook was a bit unusual as was the outro that was different from the rest of the song and added a female voice. It really shouldn't have worked at all, but in the end it kind of did. Would this have been a hit if it wasn't attached to the movie and Swayze's newfound star status? I dunno. I just think it was one of those songs that found its opportunity at the exact right moment. While the song makes me cringe sometimes, by the end is has usually won me over in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Swayze did not write this song specifically for Dirty Dancing. He actually wrote it for another movie he was in, 1984's Grandview U.S.A. Swayze was cast as one of the leads along with Jamie Lee Curtis and C. Thomas Howell. At some point, Swayze learned that the producers were assembling a soundtrack for the film and were looking for songs. Swayze had an idea for a tune, but was having trouble fleshing it out so he called on his friend, songwriter Stacy Widelitz, to help out. The pair finished "She's Like the Wind" and recorded a demo. Swayze presented his song to producers, but they nixed it. In 1986, Swayze got a role in the film Youngblood, which starred Rob Lowe. According to an interview with Lowe, Swayze brought the tune around for soundtrack consideration, but it was rejected again. The following year, Swayze once again hawked his song, this time to the folks behind his new flick Dirty Dancing. It seems third time was the charm and not only did the song make the film and soundtrack, it became a hit.  2) The female vocal part on the song was done by Wendy Fraser. Fraser was Stacy Widelitz's girlfriend and had sung the part on the original demo for the song. When it came time to formally record the track for the movie, the producer just called her in to do the part instead of hiring in someone else. While the hit didn't present Fraser with an opportunity for a solo career, it did offer her the chance to work as a background vocalist for many artists including Cher, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Barnes, and Neil Diamond.  3) When an actor gets an unexpected hit song, the typical next step is to record an album. This can be driven by the actor's management or even the star thinking - yeah, I can have a music career too! Most of the time it doesn't work out and the actor returns quickly to their day job. Swayze did not do that. He chose to focus on acting. However, that didn't mean he couldn't dabble a bit in music on the side. In 1989, Swayze would star in two films, Road House and Next of Kin. For Road House, he would record two songs for the soundtrack, one of which he co-wrote. For Next of Kin, Swayze would do a duet with country star Larry Gatlin on "Brothers," a song Gatlin wrote.


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