How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

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"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
Single by Laura Branigan
from the album Branigan 2
Released July 1, 1983
Format 7"
Genre Pop
Length 4:29
Label Atlantic
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Jack White
Laura Branigan singles chronology
"Solitaire"
(1983)
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
(1983)
"Self Control"
(1984)

"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" is a song written in 1983 by Doug James and Michael Bolton. The ballad has been recorded by many artists around the world, in several languages, becoming something of a modern pop standard. Instrumental versions of the song have been recorded featuring variously the piano, guitar, saxophone, pan flute, steel drum, and music box.

"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" was supposed to be recorded by the duo Air Supply. But when Arista President Clive Davis asked for permission to change the lyrics of the chorus, Bolton refused, and Davis released the song.[1] Subsequently Laura Branigan recorded it as written, and it became the first major hit for the two songwriters. The song was also performed by actress Lisa Hartman on the soap opera Knots Landing.[citation needed] Bolton's own rendition became a worldwide hit in early 1990.

History[edit]

As the second single from Branigan's second album Branigan 2, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at number twelve on the Hot 100 in early October 1983. Branigan's single also hit the number one spot on the Adult Contemporary chart in Canada. This success came without benefit of a music video. Branigan performed the song on the syndicated music countdown show Solid Gold in late 1983 and on the popular holiday special Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Branigan 2 went out of print in 2004, but Branigan's original version can still be heard on the compilation albums The Best of Branigan (1995), The Essentials (2002) and The Platinum Collection (2006).

The single's B-side was a newly written song over the music to the Italian song "Mama", by Giancarlo Bigazzi and Umberto Tozzi. Branigan's first major hit had been with "Gloria", another English song written to an Italian hit by the duo.

Track listings[edit]

7" single[2]
No. Title Length
1. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"   4:29
2. "Mama"   3:56
7" single – Promo[3]
No. Title Length
1. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (Short version) 3:57
2. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"   4:29
7" single (Canada)[4]
No. Title Length
1. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"   4:29
2. "Don't Show Your Love"   3:30

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 46
Canadian Adult Contemporary 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary 1
Preceded by
"All Time High" by Rita Coolidge
Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary number-one single
September 3–24, 1983 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel

Michael Bolton version[edit]

"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
Artwork for U.S. commercial cassette single
Single by Michael Bolton
from the album Soul Provider
B-side "Forever Eyes"
Released October 14, 1989 (U.S.)[5]
Format
Recorded June 1989
Genre Soft rock[6]
Length 4:48
Label Columbia
Producer(s) Michael Omartian
Michael Bolton singles chronology
"Soul Provider"
(1989)
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
(1989)
"How Can We Be Lovers?"
(1990)
Soul Provider track listing
"It's Only My Heart"
(3)
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"
(4)
"How Can We Be Lovers?"
(5)

In 1989, Michael Bolton recorded a version of the song for the album Soul Provider. The single reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts and also won him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The release marked a turning point in Bolton's career. After years of being primarily known as a songwriter,[7] the single got him recognition as a performer and made him a certified superstar.[8]

The single took off in October 1989,[9] slowly climbed the Hot 100 and by mid January became the first new number one single of the 1990s, following Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins.

Music video[edit]

The beginning of the music video shows Bolton performing the selection whilst he is sitting in his living room, and small bits of story about his and his girlfriend's relationship are told through fade-outs. As he is about to leave the apartment, already having packed his suitcases, he thinks of her and the time they spent together and seemingly decides against the decision; he then cuddles with his girlfriend. It is revealed, the next night, that he plans to give her a bracelet, which he quickly hides as he reads a newspaper before she enters the room. She surprises him with breakfast and they cuddle again. Later on, the two have a fight about something and she storms out of the apartment, and Bolton visibly feels guilty.[10]

Track listings[edit]

7" single
No. Title Length
1. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (Edit) 4:14
2. "Forever Eyes"   4:23
CD single
No. Title Length
1. "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You"   4:48
2. "Forever Eyes"   4:23
3. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" (7" version) 4:56
4. "That's What Love Is All About" (Live) 4:23

Charts[edit]

Chart (1989/1990) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 17
Belgian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 3
German Singles Chart 15
New Zealand Singles Chart 10
Swedish Singles Chart 9
UK Singles Chart 3
US Billboard Hot 100 1
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary 1
Year-end chart (1990) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 12
Preceded by
"Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins
Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary number-one single
January 6–13, 1990 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Downtown Train" by Rod Stewart
Preceded by
"Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
January 20 – February 3, 1990
Succeeded by
"Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul with The Wild Pair
Preceded by
"Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor
Belgian Singles Chart number-one single
April 28 – May 11, 1990
Succeeded by
"Infinity" by Guru Josh

Other versions[edit]

A Spanish translation of the song, "Como he de vivir sin tu cariño", has been recorded by numerous artists. Latin pop singer Danny Rivera recorded the translation for his 1990 album Canto a La Humanidad. This version peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart.[12]

The ballad was one of several hits covered in the Finnish language, as Kerro Kuinka Rakkaudesta Toipuu, by Vicky Rosti on her Edel Records album Vicky Rock Vol. 1. Filipino Sharon Cuneta featured the song on her platinum album When I Love in 1999.[13]

A duet version with Bolton and Coco Lee appeared on the Asian version of Bolton's album Gems.

Bolton himself parodied this song on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver as "How Are We Supposed to Live Without You", a love song to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hyatt, Wesley. The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits, Billboard Books, 1999, p. 277, 354.
  2. ^ "Laura Branigan - How Am I Supposed to Live Without You (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved October 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Laura Branigan - How Am I Supposed to Live Without You (Vinyl, Promo) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved October 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Laura Branigan - How Am I Supposed to Live Without You (Vinyl, Canada) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved October 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ Billboard Magazine. Vol. 101; No. 41; October 14, 1989; p. 83
  6. ^ "VH1's 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. SpinMedia. May 31, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2016. 
  7. ^ Hyatt, Wesley. The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits, Billboard Books, 1999, p. 277, 354.
  8. ^ "Michael Bolton biography". Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 the week of October 28, 1989". Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Michael Bolton". MyVideo. 
  11. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1990". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  12. ^ "Como He de Vivir Sin Tu Cariño". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1990-09-08. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Sharon Cuneta Music News & Info". Billboard.com. 1985-04-07. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  14. ^ Melissa Locker. "Watch John Oliver Get Michael Bolton to Sing an Ode to The IRS". TIME.com.