♫ Up Where We Belong ♫

Earlier this week I wrote a post, the title of which was Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings, a line from this song.  Well, as these things happen, the song got stuck in my head … I seem to have given myself an earworm, and the only way I know of to exorcise it is to share it with my friends!  I’ve always loved this song, loved the voices of Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker, but I did not realize it was the theme song to the movie An Officer And A Gentleman.  But it almost wasn’t …

Once the song was recorded, the film’s director, Taylor Hackford said that “the final version was absolute magic—or at least Joel (Joel Sill, who was head of music at Paramount at the time) and I thought so.”  But, when they presented the song to the executives at Paramount, Michael Eisner and Don Simpson, they hated the record and said it would never be a hit.  But, as time was running out and the budget had long since run out, the two ultimately agreed and the song was released as a single on 22 July 1982, to promote the movie, which was released six days later.

Will Jennings wrote the lyrics. He’s responsible for the words to many famous songs, including My Heart Will Go On, Looks Like We Made It, and many of Steve Winwood’s hits.  Of the lyrics he says …

“I am a working class person and these people in the film trying to make it, they are my people. The mountain imagery is about striving for the top – people often don’t hear the lyric right – it is ‘Where eagles cry, on a mountain high’ instead of ‘Where eagles fly, on a mountain high’ – if you have ever heard an eagle cry, the power and beauty of it and all the wild freedom of it, you will get the distinction. As far as “All I know is the way I feel…’ well, if you have nothing else to tell you what to do in your life, you have to go with the way you feel… if you are lost, you have only your instinct and passion to guide you.”

Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Saint-Marie wrote the score for the movie and the music for this song; they got married the following year.

Joe Cocker’s life and career could cover an entire post … or a few.  Sadly, he died in 2014 of lung cancer.

Up Where We Belong
Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it’s real, I keep it alive

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to used to be
Live their lives looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our lives, out there to find

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Time goes by
No time to cry
Life’s you and I
Alive today

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong

Songwriters: Jack Nitzsche / Buffy Saint-Marie / Will Jennings
Up Where We Belong lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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