Monday, June 26, 2017

Songoftheday 6/26/17 - ...and there are no guns no bombs and no disease, no hungry mouths to feed...

"From A Distance" - Bette Midler
from the album Some Peoples Lives (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 19

Today's song of the day is from Bette Midler, who after decades of being a film, stage, and music star finally earned her first #1 hit in the summer of 1989 with "Wind Beneath My Wings" from her starring role movie Beaches. A little over a year later, Midler would return with a proper studio album, Some People's Lives, that she also included a cover song that she would truly make her own. "From A Distance" was originally written by Philadelphia-area native Julie Gold, who shopped the inspirational song around until alternative country artist Nanci Griffith recorded it for her 1987 album Lone Star State Of Mind. That delicate and yearning reading of the song would be the standard still among a lot of people (including myself), though it by far didn't get any attention on the radio...


Bette and producer Arif Mardin transformed "From A Distance" into a power-ballad anthem tailor made for the lead-up to the first war in Iraq...


"From A Distance" climbed all the way to the runner-up spot on the American pop Hot 100 in December of 1990, spending 19 weeks in the top-40 (more than any other song of that year). The track spent a week at #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the record reached the top ten in the UK (#6), the Netherlands (#3), New Zealand (#3), Canada (#7), and Australia (#8). It went to to win Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards the following year.

The follow-up single "Night And Day" would stall out at #62 on the pop Hot 100, though it would get to #15 AC, while "The Gift Of Love" also from the album peaked at #19 AC but didn't scrape the pop chart. In fact, after she popped in at #78 with another movie song, "Every Road Leads Back To You" from For The Boys, she hasn't returned to the pop chart since. However, she's had other musical success, with four of her singles reaching the top ten on the Dance Club Play chart in Billboard, with "I'm Beautiful" topping that chart in 1999. On the radio, she had a few more hits on the Adult Contemporary format, reaching the top-20 four more times. But beyond that, she remains a force in the artistic world, with wildly successful tours, movies like The First Wives Club, and most recently her Tony-winning starring turn on Broadway in the revival of Hello, Dolly.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


British pop icon Cliff Richard had a charting hit of his own with the song as his "From A Distance" climbed to #11 in the UK two months before Bette's peaked in the States...


Bette came on Arsenio Hall to perform the song live...


...and here she is in concert from her Showgirl Must Go On run, which I was lucky enough to catch...


...and again on her One Night Only appearance in 2014...


In 2006, she reprised "From A Distance" with added lyrics for the holiday season, and climbed to #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart (her most recent appearance)...


Lastly, here's Bette at the Grammy Awards, where she opened the show and took home Song Of The Year honors...


Up tomorrow: A pop/soul diva declares your evening desires.

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