Angel of the Morning

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"Angel of the Morning"
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts
from the album Angel of the Morning
B-side "Reap What You Sow"[1]
Released 7 February 1968
Format 7" single
Recorded American Sound Studios Memphis
January 1968
Genre Pop, country
Length 3:19
Label Bell
Songwriter(s) Chip Taylor
Producer(s) Chips Moman
Merrilee Rush single singles chronology
"How's the Weather on Your Street"
"Angel of the Morning"
"That Kind of Woman"
"How's the Weather on Your Street"
Merrilee & the Turnabouts
"Angel of the Morning"
Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts
"That Kind of Woman"

"Angel of the Morning" is a popular song, written and composed by Chip Taylor, that has been recorded numerous times by, or has been a hit single for, various artists including Evie Sands, Merrilee Rush, Juice Newton, Nina Simone, P. P. Arnold, Olivia Newton-John, The Pretenders/Chrissie Hynde, Dusty Springfield, Mary Mason, Melba Montgomery, Vagiant, Billie Davis, Bonnie Tyler, Rita Wilson, The New Seekers and Skeeter Davis.

Original and charting versions[edit]

Written and composed by New York City-born songwriter Chip Taylor, actor Jonathan "Jon" Voight's brother, "Angel of the Morning" was originally offered to Connie Francis to sing, but she turned it down because she thought that it was too risqué for her career.[citation needed] The song's narrator describes the breakup of a presumably illicit love affair: "If morning's echo says we've sinned, well, it was what I wanted now."

Taylor produced a recording of the song with Evie Sands, but the financial straits of Cameo-Parkway Records, which had Sands on their roster, reportedly prevented either that version's release or its distribution. Other early recordings of the song were made in 1967 by Danny Michaels for Lee Hazlewood's LHI label and by UK vocalist Billie Davis.

"Angel of the Morning" finally became a hit in 1968 through a recording by Merrilee Rush, made that January at American Sound Studios in Memphis, with Chips Moman and Tommy Cogbill producing. Rush had come to Memphis through the group she fronted, the Turnabouts, being the opening act for a Paul Revere and the Raiders tour. While in Memphis, the Raiders recorded the album Going to Memphis at American Sound Studios, an association which led to Rush's discovery by Tommy Cogbill, who had been hoping to find the right voice for "Angel of the Morning"—he had kept a tape of the demo of that song constantly in his pocket for several months. Rush recorded the song and the tracks which would comprise her Angel of the Morning album with the American Sound house band, even though the single and the album would be credited to the group Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts.[2] The single version of "Angel of the Morning" was released in February 1968, and reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 that June, peaking at No. 7. A No. 1 hit in Canada,[3] Australia and New Zealand, "Angel of the Morning" also afforded Rush a hit in the Netherlands (No. 4). "Angel of the Morning" earned Rush a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary-Pop Vocal Performance, Female. Rush would record a new version of the song for her 1977 eponymous album release. Rush's version of "Angel of the Morning" would be featured on the soundtrack of the 1999 film Girl, Interrupted, whose time frame is 1967 and 1968, in which author-composer Chip Taylor's niece Angelina Jolie had a starring role.

In the United Kingdom, where Rush's version had failed to reach the Top 50, stalling at No. 55, "Angel of the Morning" reached No. 29 in August 1968 through a rendition by P. P. Arnold,[4] who had sung background on the 1967 Billie Davis version; Arnold's version was produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. In 1977, Mary Mason also had a UK Top 30 hit with her version, which was actually a medley of two Chip Taylor songs, "Angel of the Morning" and "Any Way That You Want Me;" this reached No. 27.[5] British act Guys 'n' Dolls had a hit in the Netherlands in 1977 with "Angel of the Morning," their version reaching No. 11 on the Dutch chart.

"Angel of the Morning"
Angel of the Morning Juice Newton.jpg
Single by Juice Newton
from the album Juice
B-side "Headin' for a Heartache"
Released February 1981
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded 4 September 1980
Genre Soft rock,[6] Country rock
Length 3:49
3:57 (7")
Label Capitol 4976
Songwriter(s) Chip Taylor
Producer(s) Richard Landis
Juice Newton singles chronology
"You Fill My Life"
"Angel of the Morning"
"Queen of Hearts"
"You Fill My Life"
"Angel of the Morning"
"Queen of Hearts"

Tying with Juice Newton's version as the highest-charting C&W version of the song is the 1978 release by Melba Montgomery which reached No. 22 on the Billboard C&W chart. Previously, "Angel of the Morning" had appeared on the Billboard C&W chart through a rendition by Connie Eaton; this had reached No. 34 in 1970.

The highest-charting and best-selling version in the United States, outperforming even Merrilee Rush's 1968 version in both ways, was recorded and released in 1981 by country-rock singer Juice Newton for her album Juice, which released on Capitol Records. Newton re-interpreted the song at the suggestion of Steve Meyer, who promoted Capitol Records singles and albums to radio stations and felt a version of "Angel of the Morning" by Newton would be a strong candidate for airplay.[7] Newton would state that she would never have herself thought of recording "Angel of the Morning," and even though she immediately recognized the song when Meyer played it for her (quote): "I [hadn't been] really aware of that song because...when [it] was popular I was listening to folk music and R&B and not Pop, and that was a very Pop song." [8] Newton's version reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 22 on the Billboard country music chart, and spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart in April of that year.[9][10] The recording also earned Newton a Grammy nomination, and in the same category as Rush's 1968 hit. More than 1 million units of Newton's single of the song were sold in the United States, and the single reached the Top 10 in a number of other countries, including Canada and Australia. Notably, Newton's video for "Angel of the Morning" was the first country-music music video aired on MTV; it first aired in 1981. In the UK, this recording reached No. 43 on the UK Singles Chart, marking the song's third appearance on that chart without becoming a truly major hit.[11] Newton recorded the song again in 1998 for her The Trouble with Angels album.

The song "Angel," released by reggae artist Shaggy, heavily samples "Angel of the Morning," using the melody, but with different words, for the sung refrain. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending March 31, 2001.

Swedish singer Jill Johnson released "Angel of the Morning," with lyrics in English, in 2007 from her album of cover versions, Music Row. This version peaked at No. 30 at the Swedish singles chart.

Versions by Chip Taylor[edit]

  • In 1972, Taylor released a version on Buddah 325. It reached #101 in the Record World survey.
  • In 1996, Taylor released a version on the album Hit Man.[12]
  • In 1999, a version by Taylor appeared on the KGSR fundraiser CD Broadcasts Vol. 7.[13]
  • In 2004, Taylor released a version of the song with his singer/songwriter partner Carrie Rodriguez on the album of the same name.[14]

Non-charting versions[edit]

Translated versions[edit]

A number of non-English versions of "Angel of the Morning" have been recorded including the following:

  • In Czech as "Dál jen vejdi" a 1989 single by Věra Martinová
  • In Dutch as "Vlinder van een zomer" a 1968 single by Willeke Alberti.
  • In French as "Au revoir et à demain" (literally: "goodbye and see you tomorrow") a 1967 single by Liliane Saint-Pierre.
  • In Finnish as "Kaipuu" a 1968 single by Pepe Willberg and also as "Jos Itket Silloin" recorded by Pirjo Lehti for her 1985 Se On Rakkautta Oikeaa album.
  • In Italian as "Gli occhi verdi dell'amore" (literally: "the green eyes of love") which was a 1968 hit in Italy at No. 9 for I Profeti.
  • In German as "Der Engel der Verdammten" by Juliane Werding on her 1975 album Wenn du denkst, dass du denkst, dann denkst du nur, du denkst and also as " "Ich bin dein Engel bis zum Morgen" a 1981 single by Suzanne Klee.
  • In Spanish as "Ángel de la Mañana" by Enrique Guzmán in 1975.
  • In Swedish as "En enda morgon" recorded by Elisabeth Andreassen for her 1981 album Angel of the Morning and also as "Nattens sista ängel" recorded by Wizex for their 1982 album Nattfjäril. These respective lyricists for these versions were Mats Rådberg and Roine Carlsson.
  • In Russian as "Нелегальный Ангел" (Nelegal'nyj Angel) by Julia Kova in 2005.

Film, television and literature[edit]

  • The Merrilee Rush version of the song is featured in the soundtrack of the films Girl, Interrupted (as noted above) and Violet and Daisy.
  • Rush's version is also played during a scene in the 1978 film Fingers, where it is used to accentuate the conflicted nature of the main character played by Harvey Keitel.
  • The song was performed live by Chrissie Hynde in a 1995 episode of Friends titled "The One with the Baby on the Bus," and that version also appears in that show's soundtrack album. (As noted above, though released as a single, it did not chart.)
  • The song also makes an appearance in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, with Tom Cruise's titular character singing what appears to be the original version, enthusiastically if badly.
  • More recently, Conan O'Brien has referenced the track, during periodic ironic pledges to cease his show's use of arbitrary and stupid humor in which he presents a gorilla dressed as a nurse who uses an old-fashioned abdominal exerciser while enjoying the song.
  • In "Branch Closing", an episode of The Office, Michael Scott sings "Levinson in the morning" to his supervisor, Jan Levinson.
  • The song plays a central role in Graeme Simsion's 2016 novel The Best of Adam Sharp[15] (optioned to Vocab Films in 2017).[16]

Juice Newton's version is heard during Drew Barrymore's first scene in the film Charlie's Angels, in the film Charlie Wilson's War (in which it is also sung by Emily Blunt), the opening titles of Deadpool, and the ending of The Meddler. It is also featured in Season 1 of HBO's True Detective.

The Toyota Highlander "Kid Cave" commercial, aired from late 2010, features a young boy who is embarrassed by his parents's singing of the song while he is riding with them in a car.[17]

The song features in an episode of ABC's sitcom Modern Family, "Regrets Only" (Series/Season 2, Ep 16), when Gloria, portrayed by Sofia Vergara, is singing along to it on a karaoke machine. A karaoke version of the song is also featured in the second-season finale of the HBO series The Leftovers.

Juice Newton's re-recorded version of the song was featured in the opening credits of the 2016 film Deadpool.

Versions (English language-chronology)[edit]

Chart history[edit]

Juice Newton version[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts -- "Angel of the Morning"/"Reap What You Sow"". Discogs. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Jones, Roben (2010). Memphis Boys: the story of American Studios (1st ed.). Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 126–130. ISBN 1-60473-401-9. 
  3. ^ "Item Display – RPM v Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  4. ^ Arnold UK Singles Chart info Archived August 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 12 September 2009
  5. ^ Mason UK Singles Chart info Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  6. ^ "VH1’s 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. SpinMedia. May 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2016. 
  7. ^ Lewiston Daily Sun April 15, 1981 p. 4
  8. ^ Kentucky New Era p.2
  9. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of No. 1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 250.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 454.
  11. ^ Newton UK Singles Chart info Archived March 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  12. ^ Hit Man – Chip Taylor.
  13. ^ KGSR BROADCASTS CDS – Volume 7 Archived December 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine..
  14. ^ Angel of the Morning – Chip Taylor, Carrie Rodriguez
  15. ^ Best of Adam Sharp Playlist, Penguin
  16. ^ Anita Busch. Toni Collette Options Graeme Simsion Novel ‘The Best of Adam Sharp’ For Her Vocab Films, Deadline Hollywood
  17. ^ Beth Harpaz. What Embarrasses a Teen? A Parent's Mere Existence, Associated Press, 2010-12-20
  18. ^ "Discography". Asha Puthli official website. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "MusicMight :: Artists :: THE STATES". Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  20. ^ RPM 100 Singles, July 6, 1968
  21. ^ " – Merrilee Rush – Angel of the Morning" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ "Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts.
  23. ^ "Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts.
  24. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, July 13, 1968
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1968
  28. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). Sydney: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  29. ^ " – Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  30. ^ RPM 50 Singles, May 23, 1981
  31. ^ " – Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning". Tracklisten.
  32. ^ " – Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning". Swiss Singles Chart.
  33. ^ " – Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning". Top 40 Singles.
  34. ^ "Juice Newton – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Juice Newton.
  35. ^ "Juice Newton – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Juice Newton.
  36. ^ "Juice Newton – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Juice Newton.
  37. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 16, 1981
  38. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1981
Preceded by
"This Guy's in Love with You" by Herb Alpert
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
(Merrilee Rush version)

July 6, 1968 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Lady Willpower" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
Preceded by
"What Kind of Fool" by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
(Juice Newton version)

April 11-April 25, 1981 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Morning Train (Nine to Five)" by Sheena Easton

External links[edit]