(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

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"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Side A of the US single
Single by Jackie Wilson
from the album Higher and Higher
B-side"I'm the One to Do It"
ReleasedAugust 1967 (original version)
June 17, 1998 (digitally remastered Dolby Surround re-release version)
RecordedJuly 6, 1967
StudioColumbia Studios, Chicago
GenreChicago soul
LabelBrunswick Records
  • Gary Jackson
  • Raynard Miner
  • Carl Smith[1]
Producer(s)Carl Davis
Jackie Wilson singles chronology
"I've Lost You"
"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
"Since You Showed Me How to Be Happy"

"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" is an R&B song written by Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, and Carl Smith. It was recorded by Jackie Wilson for his album Higher and Higher (1967), produced by Carl Davis, and became a Top 10 pop and number one R&B hit.[2]


Jackie Wilson, 1961

The backing track was recorded on July 6, 1967 at Columbia's studios in Chicago. Produced by Carl Davis, the session, arranged by Sonny Sanders, featured bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen, guitarist Robert White, and keyboardist Johnny Griffith; these four musicians were all members of the Motown Records house band The Funk Brothers who often moonlighted on sessions for Davis to augment the wages paid by Motown.[3][better source needed]

According to Carl Davis, the Funk Brothers "used to come over on the weekends from Detroit. They'd load up in the van and come over to Chicago, and I would pay 'em double scale, and I'd pay 'em in cash."[3] Similarly, two members of Motown's house session singers The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow, along with Pat Lewis (who was filling in for Andantes member Louvain Demps), performed on the session for "Higher and Higher".[4] Drummer Maurice White (better known as a singer for Earth, Wind & Fire) also played on the recording.[5][6] Motown's Mike Terry played the baritone saxophone.[7]

The song was originally written by Chess Records' in-house writers and producers Carl Smith and Raynard Miner, and initially recorded by The Dells for the label, but not released. Another writer, Gary Jackson, made some changes to the song and pitched it to Davis at Brunswick. When the singer recorded his vocal track, Davis recalls, Wilson originally sang the song "like a soul ballad. I said that's totally wrong. You have to jump and go with the percussion... If he didn't want to sing it that way, I would put my voice on the record and sell millions." After hearing Davis's advice, Wilson cut the lead vocal for "Higher and Higher" in a single take.[8]

A publishing deal for the song was reached with Brunswick after Chess producer/A&R head, Billy Davis, intervened. Writing credits were agreed, with Smith, Miner, Jackson and Billy Davis all named. Later, Davis removed his credit and BMI now lists the song as by the three other writers. The Dells' version appeared on their album, There Is, for Chess subsidiary Cadet the same year.


Released in August 1967, the song reached number one on the US Billboard R&B chart and, in November, peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 6.[9] Wilson's version also rose to number 11 and 15 upon the UK Singles Chart during 1969 and 1987 respectively.[10]

Brunswick Records then released an album titled Higher and Higher in November 1967. Its chart peak was No. 163 (Billboard 200) and No. 28 (Billboard R&B Albums chart.)[2]

The track was ranked No. 246 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Gold 400,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

In popular culture[edit]

Wilson's original version and a cover version by singer Howard Huntsberry were both used in the 1989 comedy film Ghostbusters II, with Huntsberry's version also appearing on its soundtrack. It also appears in the end credits of the films The Bachelor, Disney's The Kid and Death to Smoochy.

Rita Coolidge version[edit]

"(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher"
Artwork for US, German, and Dutch releases
Single by Rita Coolidge
from the album Anytime...Anywhere
B-sideoriginally "I Don't Want to Talk About It" replaced on later pressings with "Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame"
ReleasedMarch 1977
3:28 (single edit)
LabelA&M Records
Songwriter(s)Billy Davis, Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner and Carl Smith
Producer(s)David Anderle
Rita Coolidge singles chronology
"Mean to Me"
"(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher"
"We're All Alone"

Rita Coolidge remade the song as "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher" for her album Anytime...Anywhere (1977). Her version has a more moderate tempo than that of the uptempo original, and largely omits the chorus which is evidenced only in the background vocals sung under the repetition of the first verse with which she closes the song. Coolidge and her sister Priscilla Coolidge had sung background on a version of the song for a prospective album by Priscilla's husband Booker T. Jones; when that album was shelved, Coolidge asked him if she could cut the song using his arrangement.[21]

Released as a single, Coolidge's version became her first major hit in nine years of recording: the track peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was kept from the No. 1 spot by "Best of My Love" by The Emotions.[22] Cash Box ranked it at No. 1.[23][24] "Higher and Higher" also reached No. 1 in Canada. Both the song and a subsequent release, "We're All Alone", earned Coolidge gold records for each selling a million copies.

In the UK it was released as the follow-up single after "We're All Alone" which had reached No. 6, but it only achieved a peak of No. 48 there.[25]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 6
Canada RPM Top Singles[26] 1
Canada RPM Adult Contemporary 3
New Zealand (RIANZ)[27] 7
UK (Official Charts Company)[28] 48
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 2
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 5
US Cash Box Top 100 [23] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1977) Rank
Australia[30] 28
Canada[31] 13
New Zealand[32] 22
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[33] 8
U.S. Cash Box[34] 8

Kevin Borg version[edit]

In 2008, Kevin Borg performed the song, still known as "Higher and Higher", and became the winner of season eight of Idol. The version charted in Sweden, peaking at number twenty-nine.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Record details at 45.cat". 45.cat.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Higher & Higher: The Chicago Soul of Jackie Wilson 1966–1976 – Rate Your Music". Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Jackie Wilson". Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music". May 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Andantes". Doo Wop Blog.
  5. ^ "Maurice White (instrumentalist : drums)". DAHR: Discography of American Historical Recordings.
  6. ^ "MAURICE WHITE, PHILOSOPHER AND TRUTH SEEKER - AN APPRECIATION". Soul and Jazz and Funk.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Williams, Richard (December 2008). "Obituary: Mike Terry". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Jackie Wilson on Columbia Records". Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 630.
  10. ^ "Jackie Wilson". Official Charts.com.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. October 14, 1967. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Higher and Higher". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  13. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  14. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, October 7, 1967". Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. May 20, 1969. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  16. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. April 7, 1987. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  17. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  18. ^ "1967: The Top 100 Soul/R&B Singles - RYM/Sonemic".
  19. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 23, 1967". Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  20. ^ "British single certifications – Jackie Wilson – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  21. ^ "Country Music People 10/06". Archived from the original on February 22, 2007. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  22. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  23. ^ a b "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  24. ^ Cash Box Magazine (September 10, 1977). "Cash Box Top 100 9/10/77". Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  25. ^ "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher: Full Official Chart History". Official Charts. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. July 17, 2013. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  27. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. October 16, 1977. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  28. ^ "UK Official Singles Chart", UK Official Charts Company, October 15, 1977, retrieved August 15, 2018
  29. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  30. ^ "Kent Music Report No 183 – 26 December 1977 > National Top 100 Singles for 1977". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 8, 2022 – via Imgur.com.
  31. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. July 17, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  32. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1977 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. December 31, 1977. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  34. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1977". Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  35. ^ "Sweden Singles Top 60 (December 4, 2008) – Music Charts". αCharts. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011.

External links[edit]