Jennifer Warnes

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Jennifer Warnes
Birth nameJennifer Jean Warnes
Born (1947-03-03) March 3, 1947 (age 75)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
OriginAnaheim, California, U.S.
GenresCountry rock, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
  • Vocals
Years active1967–present

Jennifer Jean Warnes (born March 3, 1947) is an American singer and songwriter. She has performed as a vocalist on a number of film soundtracks. She has won two Grammy Awards, in 1983 for the Joe Cocker duet "Up Where We Belong" and in 1987 for the Bill Medley duet "(I've Had) The Time of My Life". Warnes also collaborated closely with Leonard Cohen.

Early life[edit]

Warnes was born on March 3, 1947, in Seattle, Washington but raised in Anaheim, California.[1][2] Her desire and ability to sing came early; at age seven she was offered her first recording contract, which her father declined. She sang in church and local pageants until age 17 when Warnes was offered an opera scholarship to Immaculate Heart College. She was so committed to her Catholic faith, that for a while she entered a convent after graduating from high school.[3]

Warnes chose to sing folk music as it became popularized by Joan Baez in the mid-1960s. In 1968, after a few years with musical theatre and clubs, she signed with Parrot Records (a London Records subsidiary) and recorded her first album. That year, she joined the cast of the television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.[4][5]

Early in her career, industry advisors suggested Warnes change her name to "Warren", but then realized that there was already an actress named Jennifer Warren, so she performed briefly as simply 'Jennifer', though she was credited as Jennifer Warren when she provided duet vocals for singer-guitarist Mason Williams on his 1968 album, The Mason Williams Ear Show. Soon, however, she returned to her birth name.[citation needed]

In November 1968, Warnes (as "Jennifer Warren") portrayed the female lead in the Los Angeles, California, production of the stage musical Hair.[4] She had a related UK single release as "Jennifer" on London HLU 10278 in June 1969 with "Let The Sunshine In" and "Easy to Be Hard", licensed from the US Parrot label.[6]



In 1971, Warnes met Canadian songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, and the two remained friends. She toured Europe with Cohen's band in 1972 and 1979 — first as a back-up singer and then as a vocal arranger and guest singer on Cohen's albums Live Songs (1973), Recent Songs (1979), Various Positions (1985), I'm Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 (2001), and Old Ideas (2012).[7] Warnes later (1987) recorded a critically acclaimed audiophile album of Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat.[4]

In 1972, Warnes released her third album, Jennifer, which was produced by John Cale.[4] It was unavailable after the LP was deleted, until it was finally reissued in Japan in 2013 (Reprise WPCR-14865). In 1976, Warnes released the album Jennifer Warnes (Arista 4062), which contained her breakthrough single, "Right Time of the Night", which hit number 1 on Billboard's Easy Listening (Adult Contemporary) chart in April 1977 and number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1977.

Warnes recorded the song "It Goes Like It Goes" for the 1979 motion picture Norma Rae.[4] The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[4] Her 1979 single "I Know A Heartache When I See One",[4] was a Top 10 Country hit and reached the Top 20 on both the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts.


Warnes recorded the Randy Newman composition "One More Hour" for the 1981 motion picture Ragtime.[4] This became her second song performance nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[4]

Warnes teamed up with Joe Cocker to record "Up Where We Belong" for the 1982 motion picture An Officer and a Gentleman.[4] Written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Will Jennings and Jack Nitzsche, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song,[4] as well as a Golden Globe Award. The song also won Warnes and Cocker the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, which was released as a single and hit No. 1 (for three weeks running) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was certified platinum for over two million sales in the United States. That same year, she recorded James Taylor's "Millworker" for the American Playhouse PBS production of Working.

In 1985, she recorded a duet version with B. J. Thomas of the song "As Long As We Got Each Other", the theme for the TV show Growing Pains. It was used as the opening theme for the second and third seasons. For the fourth season, the song was once again re-recorded with Thomas and Dusty Springfield. However, the Warnes version made its return for the fifth season and the seventh (final) season of the show. The same year, she recorded vocals for Leonard Cohen's record Various Positions, getting equal vocals credits with Cohen in the inside booklet. After releasing a praised tribute LP of Leonard Cohen's songs in 1987, Famous Blue Raincoat,[4] to which Cohen contributed two new compositions, "First We Take Manhattan", which featured Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar, and "Ain't No Cure for Love", she contributed vocals to Cohen's 1988 hit LP I'm Your Man, most notably to "Take This Waltz" and "Tower of Song".

Warnes teamed with Bill Medley to record "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" for the 1987 motion picture Dirty Dancing.[4] This marked the third song performed by Warnes to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and second for the Golden Globe Award in the same category. The song also won Warnes and Medley the Grammy Award for Duo or Group with Vocal. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

On September 30, 1987, at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, she contributed vocals for Roy Orbison's star-studded television special Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.

1990s to present[edit]

In 1991, Warnes recorded the Lennon-McCartney song "Golden Slumbers" as a duet with Jackson Browne, included in the album For Our Children which was released by Disney as a benefit for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.[8]

Warnes released her seventh studio album, The Hunter, in June 1992.[4] The LP featured the AC No. 13 single "Rock You Gently", and also featured the track "Way Down Deep" co-written by Warnes and Leonard Cohen. She recorded the track "Cold Enough To Snow" for the 1993 film, Life With Mikey.

In August 2007, the Shout Factory Records label re-released the 20th anniversary edition of Famous Blue Raincoat with a 24-page booklet and four additional songs. The Hunter was re-released in 2009, and The Well was re-released in September 2010.

All remasters were issued on high quality vinyl and 24K gold discs. Famous Blue Raincoat was released with four bonus tracks. The Hunter was released without bonus material. The re-released The Well, however, contains a total of 14 tracks. These include two previously unreleased recordings from the original session: "La Luna Brilla", "A Fool for the Look (in Your Eyes)", and one extra bonus selection, "Show Me the Light" (a second duet with Bill Medley, which was originally featured on the 1998 movie soundtrack Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-The Movie).

In 2018, Warnes released her first album since 2001, Another Time, Another Place. The first cut from the new album, "Just Breathe" was released on March 1, 2018. Written by Eddie Vedder, the song was originally recorded by Pearl Jam. The album includes 10 tracks, among them a new version of "So Sad" by Mickey Newbury, "I Am The Big Easy" by Ray Bonneville, "Once I Was Loved" by John Legend, "Why Worry" by Mark Knopfler, and "The Boys And Me" by Warnes herself and Michael Smotherman.[9]



Year Album Peak chart positions[10][11] Label
US US Country AUS[12] CAN UK[13]
1968 I Can Remember Everything Parrot
1969 See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me
1972 Jennifer Reprise
1976 Jennifer Warnes 43 92 26 Arista
1979 Shot Through The Heart 94 13
1986 Famous Blue Raincoat 72 21 8 33 Cypress
1992 The Hunter 76 Private Music
2001 The Well Music Force/Cisco
2018 Another Time, Another Place Music BMG Rights Management (US) LLC


Year Single Peak chart positions[10][11] Album
US AC US Country AUS[12] CAN CAN AC CAN Country UK
1969 "Easy to Be Hard" 128 See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me
1976 "Right Time of the Night" 6 1 17 33 3 1 18 54[A] Jennifer Warnes
1977 "I'm Dreaming" 50 9 67 6
1979 "I Know a Heartache When I See One" 19 14 10 46 12 Shot Through the Heart
"Don't Make Me Over" 67 36 84
1980 "When the Feeling Comes Around" 45 15
1981 "Could It Be Love" 47 13 57 The Best of Jennifer Warnes
1982 "Come to Me" 107 40
"Up Where We Belong" (duet with Joe Cocker) 1 3 1 1 2 7 An Officer and a Gentleman
1983 "Nights Are Forever" 105 8 Twilight Zone
"All the Right Moves" (duet with Chris Thompson) 85 19 5 All the Right Moves (soundtrack)
1987 "Simply Meant To Be" (duet with Gary Morris) Blind Date
"Ain't No Cure for Love" 86 23 1 17 Famous Blue Raincoat
"First We Take Manhattan" 29 32 43 6 74
"Bird on the Wire" 16
"(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (duet with Bill Medley) 1 1 1 1 3 6 Dirty Dancing
1992 "Rock You Gently" 13 50 7 The Hunter
"True Emotion" 43
1993 "The Whole of the Moon" 49

Compilation albums[edit]

Other media appearances[edit]

Year Song / Album
1979 With Steve Gillette, "Lost the Good Thing We Had" on A Little Warmth. No. 76 on Billboard Country Chart in 1980.[15]
1981 James Taylor, Dad Loves His Work (vocals)
1982 Bert Jansch, Heartbreak
1988 Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night (TV special)
1991 Tanita Tikaram, Everybody's Angel (vocals)
1994 "Up Where We Belong" (live version with Joe Cocker)Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume III[16]
1989 With David Benoit, "When the Winter's Gone (Song for a Stranger)"/"Urban Daydreams"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1983 Grammy Award Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals "Up Where We Belong"
with Joe Cocker
1988 "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
with Bill Medley


  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".


  1. ^ "Biography". Porch Light LLC. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  2. ^ "Orange Pop: Jennifer Warnes' masterpiece gets its due". Orange County Register. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Warnes, Jennifer". Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1231. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ "Jennifer Warnes Biography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Jennifer - Let The Sunshine In". Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  7. ^ Death of a Ladies' Man (1979) [CD booklet]. New York: CBS Records Inc. The liner notes for the album note that Warnes performed all harmony vocals on the album, including the duet.
  8. ^ "For Our Children". AllMusic.
  9. ^ "Jennifer Warnes". Another Time, Another Place. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Discography". Porch Light LLC. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  11. ^ a b "Jennifer Warnes > Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 332. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 591. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 954. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  15. ^ "Steve Gillette & Jennifer Warnes Top Songs". Retrieved 2016-04-24.
  16. ^ "Grammy's Greatest Moments, Volume III: Various Artists". Retrieved 2011-11-23.

External links[edit]