|Birth name||Wilbur H. Jennings|
|Born||June 27, 1944|
Kilgore, Texas, United States
Wilbur H. "Will" Jennings (born June 27, 1944) is an American songwriter. He is popularly known for writing the lyrics for the songs "Tears in Heaven" and "My Heart Will Go On". He has been inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and has won several awards including three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Academy Awards.
Life and education
Jennings was born in Kilgore, Texas. He attended school near Tyler, Texas in the Chapel Hill Independent School District. He graduated from Tyler Junior College and taught English at the college. In 1967, Jennings earned his B.A. from Stephen F. Austin State University, located in Nacogdoches, Texas. He then taught at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire for three years.
Jennings has written for a variety of artists, including Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Joe Sample, Rodney Crowell, Mariah Carey, Jimmy Buffett, Barry Manilow and Roy Orbison.
With Steve Winwood, Jennings wrote a series of albums including Arc of a Diver, Talking Back to the Night and Back in the High Life, an album that contained the hits "Higher Love", "The Finer Things", and "Back in the High Life Again". Winwood won the Record Of The Year and Outstanding Male Vocal Performance. Both Jennings and Winwood were nominated for the Song of the Year award for "Higher Love."
With Joe Sample, Jennings wrote "Street Life" (a world-wide hit for the Crusaders with singer Randy Crawford) and several songs for various albums by the Crusaders for guest vocalists, including Joe Cocker ("I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today"), and Bill Withers ("Soul Shadows").
Jennings has collaborated on many songs for films, the most notable songs being "Up Where We Belong" for An Officer and a Gentleman, a song that won the Academy Award in America and the BAFTA (British Academy Award) in the United Kingdom and was a number one hit for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. In 1997, Jennings wrote the world-wide number one Céline Dion hit "My Heart Will Go On" for the film Titanic with his collaborator James Horner. They won the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture.
Among his other collaborations were two albums written with Jimmy Buffett and Michael Utley, Riddles in the Sand and The Last Mango in Paris. Jennings also wrote several songs for Roy Orbison's King of Hearts album.
Teaming with James Horner and Mariah Carey, Jennings wrote the lyrics for the central song in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, "Where Are You Christmas?", sung by a character within the film and by Faith Hill at the end of the film. In 2002, Horner and Jennings contributed a song for the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind.
In 2002, Peter Wolf's new album, Sleepless, appeared with positive reviews. The album featured six songs written by Jennings and Wolf, who collaborated previously on Fool's Parade (1999) on Mercury Records.
Jennings and Joe Sample, the keyboard player for the Crusaders, go back to 1978 and began by writing the Midnight Believer album for B.B. King and then wrote the hit "Street Life" for the Crusaders album of the same name. Jennings and Sample also wrote "One Day I'll Fly Away", originally sung by Crawford, which was featured in the film Moulin Rouge!, along with another of Jennings's songs, "Up Where We Belong". In the film "One Day I'll Fly Away" was sung by Nicole Kidman and, in March 2002, was released as a single in the UK from the second soundtrack album to emerge from Moulin Rouge.
- With Steve Winwood: Arc of a Diver, Talking Back to the Night, Back in the High Life, Roll With It, Chronicles, Refugees Of The Heart
- With Joe Sample, for B.B. King: Midnight Believer, Take It Home, There is Always One More Time
- With Joe Sample, for various artists: The Crusaders Vocal Album
- With Joe Sample, for Randy Crawford: Now We May Begin
- With Jimmy Buffett: Riddles in the Sand, The Last Mango In Paris
- With Timothy B. Schmit and Bruce Gaitsch: Timothy B.
- With Richard Kerr: Welcome To The Club
- With Roy Orbison: King Of Hearts
- With Peter Wolf: Fool's Parade, Sleepless, and Midnight Souvenirs
- Steve Winwood:
- Eric Clapton:
- "Tears in Heaven" (#2, nominated for a Golden Globe award, 1993 Grammy for Song of the Year, 1993 Ivor Novello award from British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors)
- Dionne Warwick:
- Randy Crawford/The Crusaders:
- Barry Manilow:
- Whitney Houston:
- "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (#1)
- Rodney Crowell:
- "Many a Long and Lonesome Highway"
- "What Kind Of Love"
- Jimmy Buffett:
- "Who's The Blonde Stranger?"
- "If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me"
- Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes:
- "Up Where We Belong" (#1, American Academy Award, British Academy Award, Winner Tokyo Song Festival)
- Celine Dion:
- "My Heart Will Go On" (#1, American Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Grammy for Song of the Year)
- Tim McGraw:
- "Please Remember Me" (#1 Country)
- Diana Ross:
He has received the following major awards:
- Best Pop Vocal Performance 1993 Grammy Awards "Tears in Heaven" performed with Eric Clapton
- Academy Award (1997), Golden Globe Award (1997), Grammy Award for writing the lyrics to "My Heart Will Go On" performed by Céline Dion for the motion picture Titanic.
- Golden Globe Award (1991) for writing the lyrics for "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton for the film Rush and also in 1991 for writing the song "Dreams To Dream" for the motion picture An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.
- Academy Award (1983), Golden Globe Award (1983) along with Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie for writing the song "Up Where We Belong" performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes from the motion picture An Officer and a Gentleman.
- BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for "Up Where We Belong" with Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Grammy Award (1993) — "Tears In Heaven" (shared with Eric Clapton)
- Grammy Award (nomination) (1986) — "Higher Love"
- Grammy Award to Dionne Warwick (1979) — "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (co-written with Richard Kerr)
- Academy Award (nomination) (1980) — for writing the song "People Alone" for the motion picture The Competition.
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- Swindle, Anna (January 8, 2010). "Peter Wolf's New Album to Feature Neko Case and Merle Haggard". Pastemagazine.com. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
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