Up Where We Belong

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"Up Where We Belong"
Single by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
from the album An Officer and a Gentleman soundtrack
B-side "Sweet Lil' Woman" (Joe Cocker)
Released 31 August 1982
Format 45rpm, CD, Cassette
Recorded 1982
Length 4:00 (7") / 3:55 (album)
Label Island
Songwriter(s) Jack Nitzsche
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Will Jennings[1]
Producer(s) Stewart Levine
Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes singles chronology
"Talking Back to the Night"
"Up Where We Belong"
"Threw It Away"
"Talking Back to the Night"
"Up Where We Belong"
"Threw It Away"

"Up Where We Belong" is a Platinum-certified, Grammy Award-winning hit song written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings. It was recorded by Joe Cocker (lead vocals) and Jennifer Warnes (lead and background vocals) for the smash 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman.[1]

Use in the film[edit]

Richard Gere balked at shooting the ending of the film, in which Zack arrives at Paula's factory wearing his naval dress whites and carries her off the factory floor; he thought that wouldn't work because it was too sentimental. Director Taylor Hackford agreed with Gere until, during a rehearsal, the extras playing the workers began to cheer and cry. When Gere saw the scene later, with the song added, he said it gave him chills. Gere was later convinced Hackford made the right decision.[2]

Producer Don Simpson unsuccessfully demanded "Up Where We Belong" be cut from An Officer and a Gentleman, saying, "The song is no good. It isn't a hit." He reportedly said of Warnes, "She has a sweet voice, but she'll never have a hit song, and this definitely isn't it." (This overlooked the fact that Warnes already had a hit in 1977 with "Right Time of the Night" and had another modest hit in 1979 with the song "It Goes Like It Goes" in the film Norma Rae, which won an Oscar. It was proven even more wrong when Warnes recorded the huge hit "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" only a few years later with Bill Medley for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.) Simpson even made a bet with the film's soundtrack supervisor that the song would flop and paid off his loss after the Oscars, where he still insisted the song was rotten and that it should never have become successful.

Release and awards[edit]

However, the American Top 40 radio stations disagreed with Simpson's comments, as the single, released by Island Records in 1982,[3] hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 1982 and held the top chart position for three consecutive weeks, also reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] It was certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies in the United States.

"Up Where We Belong" won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1983.[1] It also won the BAFTA Film Awards for Best Original Song in 1984. Cocker and Warnes also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1983 for their rendition of this song. In 2004 it finished at #75 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Chart performance[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[23] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[24] Gold 5,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[25] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song was performed by Nell Carter and Andy Gibb in the Gimme a Break! episode "The Groupie".
  • The song was featured in the 1985 Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "The Chipmunks Go to Washington", as performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes.
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie, who composed the song with Jack Nitzsche (Will Jennings wrote the lyrics), recorded the song on her Up Where We Belong album in 1996, a "songwriter's version", as she said.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Life on the Fast Lane" the song was played during a parody of the film ending of Homer carrying Marge.
  • The song was performed by Stewie Griffin and Bertram in the Family Guy episode "Emission Impossible". Another parody of the song was found in the show in the episode "Herpe the Love Sore".
  • The song was featured in the South Park episode "Erection Day" as parody on final scene from film.
  • The chorus of the song is featured in the "Elephant Love Medley" in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.
  • The original 1982 version was featured in a 1987 episode of the American soap opera Santa Barbara. In the episode, the Eden Capwell and Cruz Castillo characters danced to the song in a fantasy sequence.
  • Patti LaBelle performed a gospel version of the song entitled "Lord Lift Us Up Where We Belong" on her Look to the Rainbow Tour in 1985.
  • The song was featured in Everybody Hates Chris Season 1 episode, "Everybody Hates Food Stamps".
  • An instrumental version of the song was featured in Miranda, during the first season episode, "Job".
  • An instrumental version of the song was used as background music for a Labour Party party political broadcast in the 1984 New Zealand Election, featuring scenery of New Zealand and the slogan Bringing New Zealand together. [28]
  • An instrumental version of the song is playing over the tannoy when Michael goes to Staples to give Dwight his job back, in The Office season 3 episode 13 "The Return".
  • The scene is spoofed in the Scrubs episode "His Story IV", in which Dr. Kelso twice has a cutaway fantasy sequence parodying the final scene.
  • The Rover Group featured the song in the October 1989 launch advertisement for its Rover 200 Series model range.

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Gere begged director not to shoot romantic scene". PR Inside. 2007-04-29. http://www.pr-inside.com/gere-begged-director-not-to-shoot-r108124.htm.
  3. ^ noted, Jennifer Warnes, except where. "Jennifer Warnes - singer, songwriter, official website". 
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  5. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  7. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  8. ^ "Musicline.de – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  9. ^ http://www.fireballmedia.ie, Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group -. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". 
  10. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". Top 40 Singles.
  11. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". VG-lista.
  12. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  13. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". Singles Top 100.
  14. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". Swiss Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Joe Cocker: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  16. ^ "Joe Cocker – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Joe Cocker. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  17. ^ "Joe Cocker – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Joe Cocker. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  18. ^ http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?brws_s=1&file_num=nlc008388.6167&type=1&interval=24&PHPSESSID=mhe12pta2k83e08udtq66ot062
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Australian Chart Book". 
  21. ^ "Top 100 1983 - UK Music Charts". 
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1983/Top 100 Songs of 1983". 
  23. ^ "Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes Up Where We Belong ARIA Accredited Gold Record". Roots Vinyl Guide. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  24. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Joe Cocker – Up Where We Belong". Music Canada. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  25. ^ "Spanish certifications for 1979-1990" (PDF). PROMUSICAE. p. 917. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 April 2017.  Enter Up Where We Belong in the search field and then press Enter.
  27. ^ "American single certifications – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up Where We Belong". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 16 April 2017.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  28. ^ nzv8fan (26 September 2008). "Fair Go Political Ads" – via YouTube. 
  29. ^ http://www.kalahari.com/Music/It-Takes-Two_p_34516058?gclid=CKeQ-t3v67sCFYUewwodXAsAGw Retrieved 7 January 2014

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Gloria" by Laura Branigan
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
March 28, 1983 – April 4, 1983
Succeeded by
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson