Larry Henley, a Writer of ‘Wind Beneath My Wings,’ Dies at 77

Larry Henley, a Writer of ”˜Wind Beneath My Wings,’ Dies at 77
By REUTERSDEC. 19, 2014


Larry Henley, a songwriter best known for “Wind Beneath My Wings,” died on Thursday in Nashville. He was 77.

His death, after a long illness, was confirmed by Charlie Andrews, his lawyer and business manager.

“Wind Beneath My Wings,” which Mr. Henley wrote with Jeff Silbar, was a No. 1 hit in 1989 for Bette Midler, who sang it in the movie “Beaches.” Her recording won the Grammy Award for record of the year, and Mr. Henley and Mr. Silbar shared the Grammy for song of the year.

The song, written in 1982, has also been recorded by Lou Rawls, Sheena Easton, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Gary Morris and numerous others.

Mr. Henley was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. In a statement, Pat Alger, chairman of the Hall of Fame, praised Mr. Henley for championing the rights of songwriters and noted that he often went to Washington to lobby for their cause.

Born in Arp, Tex., on June 30, 1937, Mr. Henley grew up in Odessa, Tex., and had originally planned on an acting career before becoming a singer and songwriter.

He was a member of the Newbeats, a Louisiana singing group that had a Top 10 hit in 1964 with the infectious “Bread and Butter” (on which he sang the memorable falsetto part) and toured with the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and others.

Weary of life on the road, Mr. Henley eventually settled in Nashville and pursued a songwriting career. Among the many country hits he co-wrote are Tammy Wynette’s ” ”˜Til I Get It Right” and Janie Fricke’s “He’s a Heartache (Looking for a Place to Happen).”

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