Heart of the Night (song)

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For the Spyro Gyra album, see Heart of the Night.
"Heart of the Night"
Single by Poco
from the album Legend
A-side Heart of the Night
B-side The Last Goodbye
Released May 1979
Format 45" single
Recorded 1978
Genre Country rock
Length 04:49
Label MCA
Writer(s) Paul Cotton
Producer(s) Richard Sanford Orshoff
Poco singles chronology
"Crazy Love"
"Heart of the Night"

"Heart of the Night" is a song introduced on the 1978 album release by the country-rock group Poco entitled Legend: a 1979 hit single, "Heart of the Night" is also featured on the group retrospective 20th Century Masters album as well as The Essential Poco album.[1]

Featuring a lead vocal by its composer Paul Cotton, "Heart of the Night" is an evocation of the night life of the city of New Orleans. Cotton, who was born in Alabama but raised in Chicago, said in a September 2000 interview with Sound Waves magazine: "I'm just drawn to the South. Hey, I spent 25 winters in Chicago."[2] Cotton's experiences in New Orleans had been the basis for a previous composition: "Down in the Quarter", featured on the 1975 Poco album Head Over Heels, and Cotton has described a track from the 1982 Poco album Ghost Town: "Break of Hearts", as being a followup to "Heart of the Night" (Cotton has cited "Down in the Quarter" and "Break of Hearts" as being his favorite overlooked compositions).

In 1978 Paul Cotton and Rusty Young, another veteran member of the evidently defunct Poco, had auditioned for Poco's label ABC Records in hopes of being allowed to record an album together: in Young's words he and Cotton "got a little rehearsal hall, put together a band, and played...'Crazy Love' - written by Young - "and 'Heart of the Night'" for ABC Records executives "who said go ahead, make a record".[3] The resultant project was intended to be credited to the Cotton-Young Band: however ABC Records elected to issue the completed album as Legend credited to Poco.

Legend was issued in November 1978 with "Crazy Love", the lead single release in January 1979, becoming the band's breakthrough Top 40 single ascending to #17 on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine . "Heart of the Night" was issued as follow-up single in May 1979 - the label of issue being MCA Records who had purchased ABC Records - to reach a Hot 100 peak of #20: Billboard also ranked "Heart of the Night" as a #5 Easy Listening hit, with the track appearing on the C&W chart at #96. In Canada "Heart of the Night" had a chart peak of #18.

"Heart of the Night" is highlighted by an alto saxophone solo by Phil Kenzie whose virtuosity had previously been showcased on the Al Stewart hit "Year of the Cat": Kenzie's playing on the sessions for the Poco album Legend had been facilitated by Poco having the same manager as did Al Stewart.

A live performance by Poco of "Heart of the Night" appears on the November 1979 multi-artist album No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future which contains selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective. A live rendition of "Heart of the Night" is also featured on the 2004 Poco concert album Keeping the Legend Alive recorded May 20, 2004 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.

"Heart of the Night" was used as background music in a scene in Season 1, Episode 7 ("Giant") of Halt and Catch Fire.[4]

This song should not be confused with the John Bettis/Michael Clark composition "Heart of the Night" which was a hit for Juice Newton, reaching #25 in February 1983.


  1. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/343664/poco/chart
  2. ^ "Paul Cotton by Mark T. Gould". Swaves.com. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ The Daily Gazette (July 18, 2002): p. 46.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  4. ^ "Halt and Catch Fire - Season 1 Episode 7". TuneFind. TuneFind LLC. Retrieved 7 May 2015.