Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………on November 6th of 1982 the Oscar-winning song from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, led the US hit parade. Although their contrasting styles complimented each other perfectly, the singers had never met each other until the day they recorded the song. The entire process – from idea to inclusion in the movie and release – took only 30 days. 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. Jennings told us:
“Joel Sill, who was head of the music department of Paramount, asked me to consider writing a song for this film. I watched a rough cut, loved the film and I heard enough parts to make up a song. I asked Joel to send me the work track and I stitched together the verse, chorus, and bridge of the song and wrote the lyrics… Joel sent it to Stewart Levine, a fine music producer, and Stewart and I talked the song over on the phone and he went in to the studio and cut the hit track with Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.” Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Saint-Marie wrote the score for the movie and the music for this song; they got married the following year. Nitzsche scored many films, including The Exorcist, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Indian Runner. He also played piano on several Rolling Stones songs and did arrangements for many songs Phil Spector produced. This won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by Duo or Group With Vocal in 1983. Island Records boss Chris Blackwell liked to idea of Cocker recording the song with Warnes, but Cocker was on tour in the Pacific Northwest at the time. No problem: he simply flew to LA one afternoon, recorded the track with Warnes that evening, and flew back to resume the tour. The song reached #7 in the UK.