Higher Love

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For the movie also known as 'Uncorked' and 'Trade Winds', see At Sachem Farm.
"Higher Love"
Single by Steve Winwood
from the album Back in the High Life
Released June 20, 1986
Recorded Unique Recording Studio
New York, 1985
Genre Pop, blue-eyed soul
Length 5:45 (Album Version)
4:14 (Single Version)
Label Island - IS 288
Writer(s) Steve Winwood
Will Jennings
Producer(s) Russ Titelman
Steve Winwood singles chronology
"Higher Love"
"Freedom Overspill"
Music sample

"Higher Love" is a 1986 song by Steve Winwood.[1] It was the first single released from his fourth solo LP, Back in the High Life. It was written by Winwood and Will Jennings, and produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. The female vocals on the song were performed by Chaka Khan, who also appeared in the promotional music video.

"Higher Love" was Winwood's first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, topping the chart for one week. It was preceded by Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" and followed by "Venus" by Bananarama. The song also spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It peaked at number 13 in the United Kingdom, his highest charting solo hit there. It also earned two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The Christian band Salvador has covered this song.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video, which uses the shorter single version, was shot in June 1986 by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif. The same duo shot an almost identical video for Duran Duran's "Notorious" in November of that year; coincidentally, both videos were nominated for several awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards though neither won. Chaka Khan appears in the video, as does Nile Rodgers, who plays guitar in the backing band.

Appearances in other media[edit]

  • The song was used in the closing credits of the hit 1988 film Big Business.
  • It was also featured in an episode of the television drama Cold Case, "Time to Crime".
  • The song was used in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia titled "Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack" which aired 30 October 2008.
  • This song was used in the 1987 film Stakeout.
  • This song was used in the original 1987 debut of 21 Jump Street.
  • This song was featured in the Grand Theft Auto V Soundtrack, on the radio station Los Santos Rock Radio.[3]
  • James Vincent McMorrow recorded a cover of the song for his charity album 'Silver Lining' which was recorded and produced by the students of Sound Training Centre in Dublin for the charity Headstrong.[4] The cover is notable for being a complete reworking of the original and it was used as the soundtrack for television advertisements in the UK by LoveFilm in 2011.


  • Steve Winwood – lead & backing vocals, keyboards, guitar, sequencer programming and drum machine programming
  • Nile Rodgers – rhythm guitar
  • John Robinson – drums
  • Carole Steele – tambourine
  • Chaka Khan – backing vocals
  • Lewis Del Gatto, Bob Mintzer and George Young – saxophones
  • Randy Brecker – trumpet
  • Tom Malone – trombone
  • David Frank – horn arrangements

Track listing[edit]

7": Island / IS 288 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Higher Love" - 4:14
  2. "And I Go" 4:12

12": Island / 12 IS 288 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "Higher Love" (Remix) - 7:45
  2. "Higher Love" (Instrumental) - 6:05
  3. "And I Go" 4:12

12": Island / PRO-A-2507 United States[edit]

  1. "Higher Love" (Edit) - 4:08
  2. "Higher Love" (LP Version) - 5:45
  • US Promo 12"


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
August 30, 1986
Succeeded by
"Venus" by Bananarama
Preceded by
"Mad About You" by Belinda Carlisle
Canadian RPM number-one single
September 13, 1986
Succeeded by
"Friends and Lovers" by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson