Wind Beneath My Wings

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"Wind Beneath My Wings" (sometimes titled "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Hero") is a song written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley.[1]

The song was originally recorded by Roger Whitaker in 1982, and appeared very shortly thereafter in charted versions by Colleen Hewett (1982), Lou Rawls (1983), Gladys Knight & The Pips (1983), and Gary Morris (1983). The highest-charting version of the song to date was recorded in 1988 by singer and actress Bette Midler for the soundtrack to the film Beaches. This version was released as a single in early 1989, spent one week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in June 1989, and won Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year in February 1990. On October 24, 1991, Midler's single was also certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of one million copies in the United States. In 2004 Midler's version finished at No. 44 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

In a 2002 UK poll, "Wind Beneath My Wings" was found to be the most-played song at British funerals.[2]

Background[edit]

Silbar and Henley recorded a demo of the song, which they gave to musician Bob Montgomery. Montgomery then recorded his own demo version of the song, changing it from the mid-tempo version he was given to a ballad. Silbar and Henley then shopped the song to many artists, eventually resulting in Roger Whittaker becoming the first to release the song commercially. It appeared on his 1982 studio album, also titled The Wind Beneath My Wings.

The song was very shortly thereafter recorded by Australian artist Colleen Hewett and released by Avenue Records in 1982. Hewitt's recording became the first version of the song to be issued as a single and to appear on a national chart, peaking at #52 on Australia's Kent Music Report chart.

Following both Whittaker's and Hewitt's recordings, many other artists recorded the song, including Sheena Easton. Easton's versions appeared on her 1982 studio album Madness, Money & Music, and her 1984 Spanish album Todo me recuerda a ti though it was not released as a single by her record company. She did, however, perform it on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, her HBO live concert special, and her NBC television special.

The first year "Wind Beneath My Wings" appeared on music industry trade publication charts in the United States was 1983. Singer Lou Rawls was the first to score a major hit with the song, as his version peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, No. 60 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart, and No. 65 on the main Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.[3] Gladys Knight & The Pips also released a recording of the song in 1983 under the title "Hero", and their version peaked at No. 64 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart[3] while also reaching No. 23 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Singer Gary Morris released a country version of the song in 1983 that charted highest on any of the Billboard music charts that year. Morris's version of the song peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, and also later won both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association awards for Song of the Year. Kenny Rogers released his version of the song in 1996 as part of the "Vote For Love" album.

Gary Morris version[edit]

"The Wind Beneath My Wings"
Single by Gary Morris
from the album Why Lady Why
B-side "The Way I Love You Tonight"
Released August 6, 1983
Length 4:40
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar
Producer(s) Jimmy Bowen
Gary Morris singles chronology
"The Love She Found in Me"
(1983)
"The Wind Beneath My Wings"
(1983)
"Why Lady Why"
(1983)

"Wind Beneath My Wings" was recorded by country artist Gary Morris and reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It was named Song of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 4
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 10

Bette Midler version[edit]

"Wind Beneath My Wings"
Single by Bette Midler
from the album Beaches
B-side "Oh Industry"
Released June 1, 1989
Format CD single, cassette single
Recorded 1988
Genre Pop
Length 4:18 (edit)
4:54 (album and 7" version)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar
Producer(s) Arif Mardin
Certification Platinum (US)
Bette Midler singles chronology
"Under the Boardwalk"
(1989)
"Wind Beneath My Wings"
(1989)
"From a Distance"
(1990)

"Wind Beneath My Wings" was performed by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the film Beaches and became a US number-one single. It was named Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1990. The song became a worldwide hit; it charted at No. 5 in the UK, No. 4 in New Zealand, and No. 1 in Australia.

Midler performed the song following the annual in memoriam montage at the 86th Academy Awards in 2014.[5] By sheer coincidence, Idina Menzel had sung "Wind Beneath My Wings" as a duet with Kristen Bell[6] at her successful audition for the 2013 film Frozen, which would go on to win two awards at that same awards ceremony (and where Menzel performed live the popular song "Let It Go" from the film).

Track listing[edit]

7": US (Atlantic 7-88972) 7": UK (Atlantic A8972) 7": Japan (Atlantic PRS-2048) 3": Japan (Atlantic 09P3-6159)

  1. "Wind Beneath My Wings"
  2. "Oh Industry"

12": UK (Atlantic A8972T) 3": UK (Atlantic A8972CD)

  1. "Wind Beneath My Wings"
  2. "Oh Industry"
  3. "I Think It's Going to Rain Today"

CDM: US (Atlantic PR2615-2) promo

  1. "Wind Beneath My Wings" (edit)
  2. "Wind Beneath My Wings" (album version)

CDM: Germany (Atlantic 756785481-2)

  1. "Wind Beneath My Wings"
  2. "From a Distance"
  3. "In My Life"
  4. "To Deserve You"

Note: Released in 1996

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989–1990, 1996–1997 and 2008) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 1
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[8] 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 4
UK Singles Chart 5
Chart (2008) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[9] 70
Preceded by
"Rock On" by Michael Damian
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 10, 1989
Succeeded by
"I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" by New Kids on the Block

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kawashima, Dale. "Songwriter Jeff Silbar: How He Co-Wrote The Classic Hit, 'Wind Beneath My Wings'". SongwriterUniverse. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Midler and Dion top funeral chart". BBC News. 5 August 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Billboard, 13 April 1996, p. 106
  4. ^ "Gary Morris – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Gary Morris.
  5. ^ Harrison, Lily (2 March 2014). "Bette Midler Sings During Oscars In Memoriam Tribute Honoring James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman and More". E! Entertainment Television. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  6. ^ World Entertainment News Network (November 1, 2013). "Tangled - Secret Phone Recording Helped Idina Menzel Land New Disney Role". ContactMusic.com. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bette Midler – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Bette Midler.
  8. ^ "Bette Midler – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Bette Midler.
  9. ^ UK Singles Chart

External links[edit]