♫ Angel Of The Morning ♫

A week or three ago, Clive mentioned a few artists/groups he is especially fond of, and among them was Juice Newton.  I couldn’t recall … well, frankly, I couldn’t recall if Juice Newton was a band or an individual singer, let alone any songs attributed to them/him/her.  (Hey, I’m old and senile, okay?  Cut me some slack here!)  So, I went in search of, and found that a) Juice Newton is a female recording artist with a fantastic voice, and b) I remembered a couple of her songs, most notably the one I’m playing here today.

This song was written by Chip Taylor in 1967, originally recorded by Evie Sands, but first charting by Merrilee Rush, of whom I am unfamiliar.  The song has been covered by many artists including P. P. Arnold, Connie Eaton, Mary Mason, Guys ‘n’ Dolls, Melba Montgomery, Olivia Newton-John, Bettye Swann and, most recognizably, by Juice Newton.  Angel of the Morning was originally offered to Connie Francis, but she turned it down because she thought that the love affair lyrical message was too risqué for her image.  Oh, what a difference a few decades makes, eh?

According to SongFacts …

Evie Sands originally recorded this song in 1967. Her version was doing well, but two weeks after it was released, her record label, Cameo/Parkway, went bankrupt. Chip Taylor, who wrote the song, was devastated when he found out the label could not promote it or even make more copies of the song. A few months later, Rush’s version became a hit for another label, Bell Records.

It was one of several close calls for Sands, who never hit it big; she also did the original version of “I Can’t Let Go,” which was later a hit for The Hollies.

According to Kent Kotal at Forgotten Hits, Chip Taylor came up with this song in about 20 minutes. Writes Kent: “After strumming any variety of chords for close to two hours and coming up with nothing, he says the complete lyrics ‘There’ll be no strings to bind your hands, not if my love can’t bind your heart’ flowed out of his mouth. His first thought was ‘What is that? That’s beautiful!’ He then thought, ‘Nobody actually TALKS like that!!! Where did those words come from?’ Incredibly, in one sitting, spread out over no more than twenty minutes, he completed the entire song. He says that during the entire process, he never once thought, ‘I’m gonna say this’ or ‘I’m gonna say that.’ In fact, most of the time he was thinking ‘I don’t even know what this means!’ In his own mind, he feels that he didn’t so much as WRITE this song as that he DREAMED it… the way the lyrics flowed out, meshing perfectly with the series of chords he had been strumming – there just had to be some kind of divine intervention. ‘I write melody and words at the same time and I hum nonsense things until something comes out. So I don’t think about what I want to say… I just let the emotion carry me. In this song, the emotion just totally took over and carried me. It was magic.'”

This was a crossover hit for country singer Juice Newton in 1981. Her version hit #4 on the US Hot 100, and a few months later, she had a bigger hit with “Queen Of Hearts,” which went to #2.

In the UK, two competing versions were released in 1968: by Billie Davis and P.P. Arnold. It was Arnold who scored the hit, with her version reaching #29. The previous year, she became the first to record the song “The First Cut Is The Deepest.”

Juice Newton’s version can be heard during Drew Barrymore’s first scene in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels.

The same version also plays during the violent opening scene of the 2016 superhero film Deadpool, providing an interesting contrast. “It completely made sense to me from the first time I read it [in the script],” the movie’s director Tim Miller told Billboard magazine. “I loved the quirky contrast of having such a sweet and life-affirming song mixed up with all the crazy, abstract violence. I thought it was genius.”

And as per Wikipedia …

The highest-charting and best-selling version in the United States was recorded and released in 1981 by country-rock singer Juice Newton for her album Juice. Newton re-interpreted the song at the suggestion of Steve Meyer, who promoted Capitol Records singles and albums to radio stations and felt a version of “Angel of the Morning” by Newton would be a strong candidate for airplay. Newton would state that she would never have thought of recording “Angel of the Morning,” and even though she immediately recognized the song when Meyer played it for her (quote): “I [hadn’t been] really aware of that song because…when [it] was popular I was listening to folk music and R&B and not pop, and that was a very pop song.”

Juice Newton’s version reached #1 in Canada, #4 in the U.S., and only #43 in the UK.

In the interest of fair play, I am providing both Juice Newton’s and Merrilee Rush’s version … both are well worth the listen!

Angel of the Morning

Juice Newton/Merrilee Rush

There’ll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can’t bind your heart
There’s no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start
I see no need to take me home
I’m old enough to face the dawn

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Then slowly turn away from me

Maybe the sun’s light will be dim
And it won’t matter anyhow
If morning’s echo says we’ve sinned
Well, it was what I wanted now
And if we’re victims of the night
I won’t be blinded by the light

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Then slowly turn away
I won’t beg you to stay with me

Through the tears
Of the day
Of the years

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Chip Taylor

Angel of the Morning lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC