Piano in the Dark

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"Piano in the Dark"
Piano in the Dark - Brenda Russell.jpg
Single by Brenda Russell
from the album Get Here
B-side"This Time I Need You"
ReleasedFebruary 2, 1988
Length5:20 (album version)
4:20 (single version)
  • Brenda Russell
  • Jeff Hull
Brenda Russell singles chronology
"Piano in the Dark"
"Get Here"

"Piano in the Dark" is a song by the American singer-songwriter Brenda Russell (featuring backing vocals by Joe Esposito). It was the first single to be taken from Russell's 1988 album, Get Here.

Song information[edit]

Initially "Gravity" was planned to be released as the first single, however Herb Alpert pushed to have "Piano" released instead feeling that it better represented her as an artist. [1]

"Piano in the Dark" was released in early 1988, nine years after Russell's previous charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 (1979's "So Good, So Right"). The song gained heavy airplay and became Russell's biggest hit, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the R&B Chart[2] and number 3 on the Adult Contemporary Chart. The song was also a moderate hit in the UK, peaking at 23.

The song earned Russell two Grammy Award nominations in 1989, including one for Song of the Year.

Music video[edit]

There are two music videos. The first version, filmed in black-and-white, shows Brenda looking depressed in her apartment as she tosses cards in a derby and thinks about her lover, a long-haired blond man playing on the piano. The second video was filmed in color and mostly shown in the US where a smiling Brenda is shown performing with her band (including Joe Esposito) in a dimly lit nightclub with many people during a thunderstorm at night.


Chart (1988) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles[3] 23
UK Singles Chart 23
US Billboard Hot 100 6
US Billboard Hot R&B Songs 8
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 3

Cover versions[edit]

  • Pianist Alex Bugnon covered the song from his popular 1989 album Love Season.[4][5]
  • AMP (Alan Matthews Project) released a 1991 version of the original song with a dance beat, using Brenda Russell's vocal.
  • British actress/singer Bonnie Langford covered this song on her four track CD Limited Edition in 1996.
  • Pop/rock singer Jennifer Rush recorded a version on her 1997 album Credo.
  • The song was covered by house music singer Shanie and remixed as a dance track by 7th Heaven.
  • George Howard covered this song on his 1989 album "Personal."


  • The song was sampled by 2Pac & tha Outlawz for the song "U Can Be Touched," from their 1999 album, Still I Rise.
  • The song was sampled by Steve Angello in the EDM track "Davali" in 2004.
  • August 3, 2009, Guy Robin is sampled is track "Cry A Little".
  • Sixty-9 vs Discodrive featuring DJ Fierce sampled the chorus under the song "Rainbow" in 2006.
  • Danny-S Vs. TAITO sampled the chorus under the song "Rainbow" in 2010, and bonus track called " Rainbow (DJ Roxx Remix Edit)".
  • Vinylshakerz is sampled in its song "Rainbow" in 2011.
  • In 2011, the Bingo Players released a dance mix "Cry (Just a Little)", which consisted entirely of a repetition of the first line from Piano in the Dark's main chorus: "I know I'm caught up in the middle, I cry just a little, When I think of letting go".
  • The song was sampled by Sedelic for the song "Cry Just a Little (Sedelic's inb4 the Bingo Players Mix)".
  • The song was sampled by DJ Milton & DJ Dizzy in the EP "Cry (Just a Little) (Milton's Bootleg Mix)" in November 14, 2011.
  • September 27, 2011, Re-Mix Stems Tribute is sampled of "Bingo Players" in track "Cry (Just a Little) (Re-Mix Stem 126 BPM)".
  • Roger-M is sampled using the vocal of Neu Era was the song "Letting Go (Piano in the Dark)" in 2011.
  • Qwote sampled the song for his 2012 single featuring Pitbull "Letting Go (Cry Just a Little)".
  • Bingo Players' version was also used in Flo Rida's 2012 hit "I Cry".
  • January 9, 2013, Drew Smith is sampled is track "I Cry".
  • The song was sampled KIDZ BOP Kids in the track "I Cry" released in January 15, 2013.
  • July 23, 2013, Paolo Tuci is sampled is track "Piano In The Dark (Cry Just a Little)", As for the female vocals are Lafaux (Stefania Del Prete).
  • The single "Cry" by Stefan Rio from 2016, sampled the chorus.


  1. ^ Hunt, Dennis. "Russell Shines With 'Piano in the Dark'". Los Angelis Times. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 507.
  3. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1988-06-25. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  4. ^ "Love Season overview". Allmusic.com.
  5. ^ "Berks Jazz Fest 2008: Alex Bugnon". SmoothVibes.com.

External links[edit]