(I've Had) The Time of My Life

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"(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - (I've Had) The Time of My Life single cover.jpg
Single by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
from the album Dirty Dancing: Original Soundtrack from the Vestron Motion Picture
ReleasedJuly 10, 1987
GenreSoft rock[1]
  • 6:46
  • 4:50 (LP and single version)
Producer(s)Michael Lloyd
Music video
"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" on YouTube
Alternative cover
7" - U.S.
7" - U.S.

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" is a 1987 song composed by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz.[2] It was recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, and used as the theme song for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.[2] The song has won a number of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.


Singer-songwriter Previte was the lead singer of the band Franke and the Knockouts. He had success with the song "Sweetheart" in 1981, but by 1986 was without a recording contract. In late 1986 or early 1987, producer and head of Millennium Records, Jimmy Ienner, asked Previte about writing some music for "a little movie called Dirty Dancing". Previte initially turned the request down because he was still trying to get a record deal,[3] and he thought the film was a pornographic film based on the title,[4] but Ienner was persistent, declaring that it would "change his life", and got Previte to write several songs for the film, including "Hungry Eyes", later recorded by singer Eric Carmen, which also became a top 10 hit.

Previte wrote the lyrics, and the music was written by John DeNicola and Don Markowitz. He compared writing the song to the writing process of "MacArthur Park". The title was conceived at random while he was traveling down the Garden State Parkway. He suggested that Ienner's pleading inspired the lyric.[5] After getting further approval, Previte, along with DeNicola and Markowitz, created a demo of the song, performing on it himself, along with singer Rachele Cappelli. The demo showcased how the harmonies were to be used, employing a "cold open", or a slow build-up of the song to its finale.

A song by Lionel Richie was initially planned to be used as the finale of Dirty Dancing,[6] but choreographer Kenny Ortega and his assistant Miranda Garrison (who also played Vivian in the film) selected "The Time of My Life" instead. This demo wasn't used in the final cut of the film − the more polished version with Warnes and Medley was. However, because the Warnes/Medley track was not ready by the time the finale was filmed (it was shot first, due to the tight budget), Previte and Capelli's much lighter and more youthful version was used as a backing track, so that the actors, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and the dancers, could have something to dance to (Swayze had later remarked it was his favorite version, even including all the subsequent remakes). The demo version finally appeared on the 1998 CD reissue of Previte's 1981 album Franke and the Knockouts, but is only listed as "Bonus Track".

The movie's writer, Eleanor Bergstein, wanted a famous 1960s singer to perform it to blend then-contemporary musical elements with the aesthetics of the period.[7] The song was initially intended for Donna Summer and Joe Esposito, but Summer turned it down because she didn't like the title of the film.[8] In response, Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers was approached by Jimmy Ienner repeatedly over two months to do the recording, but he also turned it down because his daughter McKenna was due to be born, and he had promised his wife he would be there. He was also concerned about appearing in another song that would flop (as had happened with "Loving on Borrowed Time" with Gladys Knight from the soundtrack for Cobra) and also thought the title was "like a bad porno movie".[6]

Ienner then approached Jennifer Warnes, who had just released a cover of Leonard Cohen songs the previous year. She initially expressed reluctance upon hearing Previte's demo but was persuaded because of Ienner offering a large sum of money by her then-boyfriend to take the offer, on the condition that she could sing it with Medley, whom she admired.[7] As a result, after the birth of his daughter, Medley was approached again, this time with Warnes' offer.[9] Medley then agreed to record the track, having also admired her singing, on the condition the he record the song in Los Angeles.

To give emotional depth to the song, Warnes had a video playback machine and footage of the final scene brought in to synchronize her singing with the movie's ending scene, particularly "the lift". After completing the main vocals, Medley and Warnes were asked by Lloyd to add additional harmonies and flourishes for the song.[7] The song was completed in around one hour.[4] The resulting mix was described as a "Righteous Brothers-type song" by DeNicola.[7]

The song was originally released on July 10, 1987; it was intended to be released alongside the film, but the film's producer Vestron Pictures had moved the American release date to August without notifying RCA Records. Ienner quickly edited the song from the original 6:46 to 4:50 for radio airplay.[7] With the release of the film, it became a worldwide hit, and is one of the most frequently played songs on radio.

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced for this song in October 1987. The video features several couples dancing like in the movie, and it also featured clips from it.


  • Bill Medley - vocals
  • Jennifer Warnes - lead vocal and additional backing vocals
  • Gary Herbig - saxophone solo[10]
  • Laurence Juber - guitar[11]
  • Dennis Belfield - bass[12]
  • Paul Leim - drums[12][13]
  • Marcy Levy - backing vocals
  • Produced by Michael Lloyd
  • Arranged by Gene Page; additional arrangements by Michael Lloyd and John D'Andrea
  • Recording (at The Village Recorder) and Mix by Carmine Rubino; First engineer: Dan Nebenzal (Second engineer: Jeff DeMorris)
  • Remixed by Carmine Rubino, Dan Nebenzal, Jimmy Ienner and Michael Lloyd
  • Published by Knockout Music Inc., Jemava Music Corp., Donald Jay Music and R U Cyrius Music.

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1987 for one week and also reached number one on the Adult Contemporary for four weeks.[14] In the United Kingdom the song had two chart outings: in November 1987, after the film's initial release, the song peaked at No. 6;[2] in January 1991, after the film was shown on mainstream television, the song reached No. 8.[15]


In 2004 AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey placed it #86 among the top tunes in American cinema.

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • 7" single
  1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
  2. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:52)
  • 12" maxi and CD single
  1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
  2. "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins (2:59)
  3. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:53)
  4. "Overload" by Zappacosta (3:39)
  • Cassette
  1. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (4:47)
  2. "In the Still of the Night" by The Five Satins (2:59)
  3. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (2:53)
  4. "Overload" by Zappacosta (3:39)



Sales certifications for (I've Had) The Time of My Life
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[45] Gold 35,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[46] Gold 30,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[47] Gold 45,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[48] Gold 25,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[49] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[50] Platinum 20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[52] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Other versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annie Lennox, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Jennifer Warnes all deliver singer showcases". Christian Science Monitor. October 19, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ Robert Dye (October 10, 2014). "The Times In His Life: A Q&A With Franke Previte". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Yates, Henry (9 April 2019). "How we made Dirty Dancing's (I've Had) The Time of My Life". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  5. ^ Dye, Robert (22 May 2020). "Behind The Song: "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life"". American Songwriter. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b "(I've Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes". Song Facts.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kring-Schreifels, Jake (20 August 2020). "How "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" Saved 'Dirty Dancing'". The Ringer. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Lost Soundtrack Classics: "You're the Best"". popdose.com. 12 February 2007. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-0306823169.
  10. ^ Gary Herbig @Lastudiomusicians.org Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Callwood, Brett (2017). "Laurence Juber is the ultimate Wing-man." Culver City News, 18 Nov. 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack: the inside story from its hitmaking songwriters." The Strange Brew Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  13. ^ "My Pro" (4 May 2015 post) @Facebook. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 167.
  15. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 359. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  16. ^ "John DeNicola Bio". Archived from the original on 2016-01-14.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  19. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  20. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  21. ^ a b Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved April 7, 2008)
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life". Top 40 Singles.
  25. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  26. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  27. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Bill Medley: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  30. ^ "Bill Medley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  31. ^ "Bill Medley Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life". GfK Entertainment charts.
  33. ^ "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (1990 issue), UK Singles Chart. OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved April 7, 2008.
  34. ^ a b "Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've Had) The Time of My Life" (in French). Les classement single.
  35. ^ "SloTop50: Slovenian official singles weekly chart" (in Slovenian). SloTop50. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  36. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1987/Top 100 Songs of 1987".
  38. ^ 1988 Australian Singles Chart. aria.com. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
  39. ^ 1988 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
  40. ^ "1988 Belgian Flanders Singles Chart" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  41. ^ "Barry's Hits of All Decades Pop rock n roll Music Chart Hits".
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  45. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  46. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Bill Medley & – (I've Had) The Time Of My Life" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  47. ^ "Danish single certifications". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  48. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I've had) The time of my life" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 22 September 2020. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "(I've had) The time of my life" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  49. ^ "Dutch single certifications – J. Warnes & B. Medley – I've Had The Time Of My Life" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 22 September 2020. Enter I've Had The Time Of My Life in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  50. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966–2006. Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warners – (I've Had) The Time Of My Life". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  52. ^ "American single certifications – BILL MEDLEY & JENNIFER WARNES – (I'VE HAD) THE TIME OF MY LIFE". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  53. ^ "Glee Cast". Billboard.