Wildflower (Skylark song)
|Single by Skylark|
|from the album Skylark|
|B-side||"The Writing's On the Wall"|
|Skylark singles chronology|
"Wildflower" is a song written by Doug Edwards and Dave Richardson in 1972. First performed by the Canadian band Skylark, it has been covered by many artists and more recently has been sampled in a number of hip hop songs.
The title, "Wildflower", is not mentioned in the song. The closest line to the title occurs as the final line of the repeated chorus: "She's a free and gentle flower growing wild".
Doug Edwards was a member of Skylark, and Dave Richardson was a friend of band member and organizer David Foster. "Wildflower" was a song which Edwards composed after reading Richardson's poem; the song was included on the band's demo tape. Barry De Vorzon, by 1972 an established music business name, heard the demo tape and was convinced that the song would be a big hit. After the demo was rejected by several studios, an executive at Capitol Records signed the band and the song—with Donny Gerrard doing the vocal—was included on their eponymous first album. The initial single released from the album was not successful. Rosalie Trombley, a music director at CKLW, a Canadian radio station in Windsor, Ontario, played "Wildflower", at that time an album cut, repeatedly for three months in an effort to satisfy the Canadian government's requirements for Canadian content. During that period, it was the only radio station in North America to have the song on its playlist. Capitol decided to release the song in neighboring Detroit as a regional release, where it became a huge soul hit before breaking out nationally and crossing over to the pop charts. Eventually "Wildflower" spent 21 weeks on the Billboard pop chart. The song proved to be extremely popular in Canada as well; it ultimately peaked at number 10 on the RPM Top Singles chart, and number 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Total sales of the single exceeded one million copies, and it was included on their second album as well, at the request of Capitol Records executives who sought to capitalize on the song's success. Ultimately, the song was their only single to chart in the United States.
New Birth's version of the tune features enhancements to the original melody, including a more instrumentally complex introduction, later directly sampled in Jamie Foxx's hit song "Unpredictable," and a spoken monologue from lead singer Leslie Wilson during the bridge. This version became a bona fide hit in its own right, cracking the top 20 on the R&B singles chart in 1974.
The Hank Crawford recording of "Wildflower" was sampled by 2Pac on his song "Shorty Wanna Be a Thug" and by Kanye West and Paul Wall on their song "Drive Slow"; This track was used by a young Eminem on The Slim Shady EP in 1997 with the track "No One's Iller". The Hank Crawford cover was also more recently sampled by Boi-1da on the Lil Wayne featured "Miss Me" from labelmate Drake's debut album Thank Me Later and in 2009 by J. Cole for his track "Dreams" from his mixtape The Warm Up. In 2017, it was covered by Arnel Pineda of Journey and serves as the main theme song of the TV drama series of the same title in the Philippines.
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