Leave a Light On

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"Leave a Light On"
Single by Belinda Carlisle
from the album Runaway Horses
Released September 25, 1989
Format CD, 7", 12"
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:15
Label MCA, Virgin
Writer(s) Rick Nowels, Ellen Shipley
Producer(s) Rick Nowels
Belinda Carlisle singles chronology
"Love Never Dies"
"Leave a Light On"
"La Luna"

"Leave a Light On" is a pop song written by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley, produced by Nowels for Belinda Carlisle's third solo album Runaway Horses (1989).

The single narrowly missed the top ten in the US peaking at No.11. It fared much better elsewhere reaching the top 5 in many countries including the UK where it peaked at No.4.


Released as the album's first single at the end of 1989 - as a CD single, 7" single and a 12" single - "Leave a Light On" became a Top Ten hit in Australia, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands and the UK. In the U.S. "Leave a Light On" peaked at #11 affording Carlisle her final U.S. Top 20 hit: Carlisle's followup U.S. single release "Summer Rain" would mark her final U.S. Top 40 appearance reaching #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Leave a Light On" features George Harrison on slide guitar; Carlisle recalls: "Rick [Nowels] said we should get someone cool and with a distinctive style to play the lead guitar part. I thought for a moment and said 'What about George Harrison?' I had met George briefly a few years earlier in San Remo Italy and Morgan [Mason, Carlisle's husband] through his work on Sex Lies and Videotape" - a film Mason had produced for Harrison's HandMade Films - "knew someone who was close to [Harrison] and able to get word to him. George responded right away, saying he'd love to help out."[1]

The single can be heard in a 1991 episode of the TV sitcom Out of This World entitled "I Want My Evie TV".

There are four versions of the song: The album version, and the 7" Edit of the song, this versions were mixed by Shelly Yakus and Steve McMillan. The other two are the Extended Mix and the edit of this mix, called the Kamikazee mix, the later included on Carlisle's "Vision of You" CD single, Jason Corsaro made these two mixes.

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Peter Care.[2]


The US 7" B-side is "Shades Of Michael Angelo" (LP Version) 5:52

Track listing[edit]

CD single
  1. "Leave a Light On"
  2. "Shades of Michaelangelo"
  3. "Leave a Light On" (extended mix)
7" single
  1. "Leave a Light On" — 4:15
  2. "Shades of Michaelangelo" — 5:46
12" maxi
  1. "Leave a Light On" (extended mix) — 8:05
  2. "Leave a Light On" (7" version) — 4:15
  3. "Shades of Michaelangelo" — 5:46



Cover versions[edit]

Grant & Forsyth (nl) recorded "Leave a Light On" as part of a medley on their 1990 album Country Love Songs.

A eurotrance cover version of the song by Dream Factory featuring Jessica Palmer was released in 2007.

A Hi-NRG version of "Leave a Light On" was recorded in 2013 by Nicki French.

In 2013, retro synthpop producer/remixer Yisraelee produced a cover version of the track.[20]

In 2016, South African 4 piece band 4Werke (4Warm) released a cover version on their self-titled album. [21]


  1. ^ Carlisle, Belinda (2010). Lips Unsealed: a memoir. NYC: Three Rivers Press (Random House). p. 153. ISBN 978-0-307-46350-0. 
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  4. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  5. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 47, No. 11, January 13, 1990". RPM. Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://wiki.pomus.net/wiki/Singlet_1989-11_marraskuu
  7. ^ "Musicline.de – Carlisle,Belinda Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  8. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Belinda Carlisle – I Get Weak". Top Digital Download.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On". Singles Top 100.
  13. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "Archive Chart: 1989-10-26" UK Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Belinda Carlisle – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Belinda Carlisle.
  16. ^ "Belinda Carlisle – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Belinda Carlisle.
  17. ^ "1989 Dutch Singles Chart" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  18. ^ "End Of Year Chart - Top 50 Singles of 1989". http://www.mostynhouseschool.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.  External link in |work= (help)
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Leave A Light On in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  20. ^ Soundcloud: Yisraelee - Leave a Light On (Retrographic Instrumental)
  21. ^ https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=4werke+4Warm&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgFuLSz9U3KC4wM8koU-LVT9c3NEzOLcgoj0_J1hLPTrbSzy0tzkzWTywqySwusUrMSSrNLX7EGMQt8PLHPWEpz0lrTl5jdObCpVJIg4vNNa8ks6RSSI6LTwrJLg0GKR4uJD4PANh8hiWLAAAA