Making Love Out of Nothing at All
|"Making Love Out of Nothing At All"|
|Single by Air Supply|
|from the album Greatest Hits|
|Genre||Pop rock, soft rock|
|Length||5:43 (Album version)
4:29 (Single version)
5:38 (Video version)
|Air Supply singles chronology|
"Making Love Out of Nothing At All" is a power ballad written and composed by Jim Steinman and first released by Australian soft rock band Air Supply for their 1983 compilation album Greatest Hits. It reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks (behind "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, giving Steinman a consecutive peak of two songs).
The song has been covered by many other artists, the most successful being that of Bonnie Tyler.
Background and recording
The song is a reworking of the main title theme from the 1980 film A Small Circle of Friends, for which Jim Steinman wrote the score. It was first recorded by Air Supply, giving them a number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. for three weeks. It was held off from the top spot by another Steinman production, Bonnie Tyler's recording of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". This is the group's last top ten hit in the United States.
The song was subsequently released as a new track from their 1983 greatest hits album. The B-side of the single was "Late Again". They have included the song on their numerous greatest hits and live albums, and recorded an acoustic version for their 2005 album The Singer and the Song.
Steinman offered the song, along with "Total Eclipse of the Heart", to Meat Loaf for his Midnight at the Lost and Found album; however, Meat Loaf's record company refused to pay Steinman for the material so Meat Loaf ended up writing compositions for the album himself. Steinman's songs were then offered to Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply.
By 1983, Air Supply had changed much of its classic musician line-up, both in the recording studio and on tour. But Steinman, known for his lavish, rock-opera-ish type productions, used Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band members Roy Bittan on keyboards and Max Weinberg on drums, to musically underscore the recording with like energies. Glam-rock icon of the 1970s Rick Derringer supplied the electric guitar solo that made the sound of "Making Love Out of Nothing At All" stand so drastically apart from most other Air Supply productions.
The song opens with a few bars of the melody played on piano. The first part of the song lists several things that the vocalist knows how to do, followed by something that they do not. The structure is similar to Steinman's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", where the chorus consists of things that the vocalist would and then would not do.
- And I know just where to touch you
- And I know just what to prove
- I know when to pull you closer
- And I know when to let you loose
Like the final lines of each chorus in "Anything for Love", the end of "Making Love" contrasts with the previous stating what he doesn't know how to do. The final part of the verse laments:
- But I don't know how to leave you
- And I'll never let you fall
- And I don't know how you do it
- Making love out of nothing at all
The title is repeated six times, with background vocals supplying the "making love" part, and the lead vocalist singing the last part of the line.
Strong drumbeats begin the next section of the song, which concentrates upon the attributes of its subject:
- Every time I see you all the rays of the sun
- Are streaming through the waves in your hair
- And every star in the sky is taking aim at your eyes like a spotlight
There is an instrumental interlude, dominated by the melody of the title line played by piano. The final verse returns to the structure of the first. The original Air Supply version had an American football analogy, with "I can make the runner stumble, I can make the final block; And I can make every tackle at the sound of the whistle, I can make all the stadiums rock."
Two videos for the Air Supply version exist.
The first version begins with a couple driving to an airport. The man (Graham Russell) is "leaving for a tour" and asks the woman (played by Graham Russell's real-life spouse, Jodi Russell) to join him, as he give her anything she wants.
- Graham Russell: So, won't you reconsider?
- Girlfriend: So, won't you?
Driving to the airport
- Graham Russell: Come with me, I can give you anything.
- Girlfriend: I've been there, all I want is you.
Infront of the plane
- Graham Russell: But it's just one more tour, then I'll be back.
- Girlfriend: But I won't...I can't...
The remainder of the video intersperses Russel Hitchcock and Graham Russell onstage with various scenes of the man and woman's relationship. Graham and Russell, who comprise Air Supply, leave their dressing room for the stage. As they sing with the band, the female (Jodi Russell - Graham Russell's real-life wife) is shown packing and leaving their home, placing their photograph face down on the table in the process. Nevertheless, she changes her mind and does a u-turn on the freeway, and now drives to the airport. She meets him at the side of the stage near the end of the song and they embrace. The plane seen in the video is a Learjet 35.
Another version is set in 1960s New York City and involves a soldier and a young woman and the various challenges they encounter in their relationship, interspersed with scenes of the band singing the song. See:
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||2|
|U.S. Adult Contemporary ||2|
|UK Singles Chart||80|
|South African Singles Chart||5|
- Russell Hitchcock - lead vocals
- Graham Russell - background vocals
- Roy Bittan - piano, synthesizer
- Larry Fast - synthesizer
- Max Weinberg - drums
- Steve Buslowe - bass +
- Rick Derringer - electric guitar
- Sid McGinnis - acoustic guitar
- Jimmy Maelen - percussion
- Eric Troyer, Rory Dodd, Holly Sherwood - additional backing vocals
+ In initial releases of Air Supply's 1983 Greatest Hits album, Steve Buslowe was not included as the bass guitarist in the album credits. However, this error was corrected in future pressings.
Bonnie Tyler version
|"Making Love (Out of Nothing At All)"|
|Single by Bonnie Tyler|
|from the album Free Spirit|
The song was later covered by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler on her album Free Spirit. It opens with a wordless choral vocal followed by sounds of thunderclaps and a bell before the melody begins, played on piano. Over the piano section is an excerpt from "Un bel di", the aria from Puccini's Madame Butterfly, sung by Tyler's mother Elsie Hopkins.
Allmusic called this version "fantastic, clocking in at nearly eight minutes, and seems perfectly suited for her voice. [Air Supply's] version was already great, but hers is awesome." It was produced by Steinman, with Steven Rinkoff as co-producer, at The Hit Factory, New York City.
These lines were changed for the Tyler version, and also for the subsequent Karine Hannah version, as well:
- I can make you find your power
- I can make you lose your fear
- I can make your body do some very magical things
- I'll make your inhibitions all disappear
Rory Dodd demo version
A version from 1982 sung by Rory Dodd also exists. The only accompaniment is Steinman playing piano, and he includes several variations on the primary melody in the intro and bridge.
After the bridge, there are two verses that appear before the final two verses of the Air Supply version. The verse from the Tyler version is not included.
- I can make your money double
- Or I can make you lose your shirt
- I can make the old wounds start to heal
- Or I can make the new ones hurt
- I can make the music louder
- Or I can make the songs all fade
- I can make every girl just wanna get up and dance
- And make the boys in the band start to play
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||2|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||17|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||45|
In other media
Air Supply's version of the song is also featured in the 2005 film Mr. and Mrs. Smith during the car chase/gunfight scene, and is also featured on the film's soundtrack album. It was also used in the films Click and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.
In 1983, Air Supply performed the song on stage, in "lip-sync" form with full back-up band for the popular early 1980s television program Solid Gold. Absent were many of the musicians that producer Jim Steinman used to record the original tracks. However, original Air Supply members Frank Esler-Smith on keys & Ralph Cooper on drums participated, and former Babys lead guitarist Wally Stocker, "synced" so well, studio player Rick Derringer's guitar solo, without the slightest of glitch.
The song was used for a Wendy's commercial, where a "burger" is "singing" a part of the song, part of a promo being used in conjunction with online music service Rhapsody. The song was also used in the episode "Chuck Versus the Predator" of the American TV series Chuck.
In 2012, this song, along with "Total Eclipse of the Heart", was a central plot point in "Unknown Subject", the twelfth episode of season seven of US TV series Criminal Minds. In the show, a bar piano player attempts to convince a victim that he isn't the one who attacked her. He claims she thought she heard him play "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (which the attacker had played during her attack), when he had actually played "Making Love Out of Nothing At All", and says they sound similar because they were composed by the same person.
- "Making Love Out of Nothing at All - Air Supply - Song Info - AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "VH1's 40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs". Stereogum. SpinMedia. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- "A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Main Title Theme".
- "Special Sub-Topic: 'Making Love Out Of Nothing At All'". FunTrivia.com. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
- "Air Supply: The Singer And The Song". CD Baby. Retrieved 2006-10-22.
- Adams, Cameron (2006-10-26). "Meat Loaf's a Hell raiser". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 17.
- Air Supply - Making Love Out of Nothing at All -- The (Almost) Complete Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman Lyric Archive Retrieved 3-16-2014.
- Air Supply - Greatest Hits @Discogs.com Retrieved 3-16-2014.
- Air Supply- Greatest Hits (1983) liner notes (lists Steve Buslowe's name and contribution at the end). "Accessed" 8-22-2013.
- Free Spirit (booklet). Bonnie Tyler. East West Records. 1995. 0630-12108-2.
- "Bonnie Tyler: Free Spirit". Allmusic. Retrieved 2006-10-22.
- "Ultratop.be – Bonnie Tyler – Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
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