Video: The number one song in the US on June 10, 1989 was Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler

Mister D: And what an ass Gary Morris is?

The number one song in the US on June 10, 1989 was Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler !!!!!!!

Bette Midler, WBMW


It was in 1982 when Nashville songwriters Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley wrote and recorded the demo for this. They had a hard time finding anyone to record the song, and it was a full year before Roger Whittaker became the first artist to take it on. Following Whittaker’s version, several artists recorded the song, including Sheena Easton, Lee Greenwood, B.J. Thomas, Lou Rawls (who was the first to chart with the songs, hitting #65 US), Gladys Knight & The Pips and Gary Morris. Morris’ version became a #4 country hit, which led to Silbar & Henley winning the Country Music Association (CMA) Award for Song of the Year. Gladys Knight & The Pips had a R&B hit with their version, which they retitled, “Hero.” >>

Larry Henley came up with the title and Jeff Silbar loved it, especially since he was learning to fly planes at the time. The title came out of a poem Henley had written. Instead of writing the chorus first (like Silbar and Henley usually did), they wrote it from start to finish. They were done writing it by the end of the day.

The demo that Silbar and Henley recorded had a medium tempo. Their music publisher had the idea of slowing it down and making it a ballad.
This was conceived as a love song from a man to a woman or vice versa, but it ended up with lyrics that were more universal, and could apply to many different types of relationships (friends, family, etc.). This is a major reason why the song was so successful.

The most famous version of this song was Bette Midler’s, who recorded it in 1988 for the movie Beaches, in which she starred. It appears in a dramatic scene at the end of the film after the character played by Barbara Hershey dies. After Midler’s version became a hit, many other artists recorded the song, including Willie Nelson, John Tesh, Patti LaBelle, Perry Como and Judy Collins. It is one of the most performed songs of all time.

This is the most popular song for funerals, beating out Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Gary Morris still performs this ballad live and usually precedes it by saying, “Bette is free to sing this however she wants but personally I think she butchered it.” >>

The Gladys Knight & the Pips version, renamed “Hero”, was on the soundtrack of the 1986 film The George McKenna Story. >>
Midler revealed to The London Times February 14, 2009, that she initially disliked this song, but it later grew on her. She explained: “It’s really grown on me. When I first heard it, I said, ‘I’m not singing that song,’ but the friend who gave it to me said, ‘If you don’t sing it I’ll never speak to you again’, so of course I had to sing the damned song. Whatever reservations I might have had I certainly don’t have any more.”

This won the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990.

Midler performed this song following the death montage at the Oscars in 2014. It was her first time singing at the Oscars.

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9 thoughts on “Video: The number one song in the US on June 10, 1989 was Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler

  1. After reading Gary Morris’ comment, I had to check out his version on YouTube. Talk about butchering a song….his version is uninspired, and lacking in emotion. Another country singer, Ray (“For the Good Times”) Price, sang it much better, and the original version, sung first by Roger Whittaker is also quite good. There’s something about the lyric, which I think lends itself more to a female singer, though. Nonetheless, it’s hard to knock a good song, sung by a good singer. There’s a reason why Bette’s version is the gold standard…her interpretive skills when it comes to conveying the emotion and strength of a lyric is unparalleled in the music industry. However, it’s a beautiful song, and my hats off to the other artists that have sung it well. Gary Morris is not on that list.

    1. I saw Morris live in a Christmas concert and he was saying that shit 15 years ago. Its like get over it already. I dudnt like his version either.

  2. Ah yes, Gary Morris and his version of the song …I remember back in the days when the Usenet was a thing, one could search the forums and find comments from the 1990’s by country music fans making the same comments. Talk about holding a grudge.

  3. I always thought Gary Morris version was a “snore fest”…..and look who had the biggest hit with it…Bette owns the song with her version which is still played constantly on radio as well as weddings, funerals etc…..he isn’t even relevant anymore…or was he ever?

    1. I remember when I first read about him saying that. I had appreciated his version like I do with many artists, but I never could listen to it again after that remark. There was just no need for it. It’s so obviously rooted in jealousy. But you can’t help what the public likes or dislikes.

  4. I’ll never forget when this song started rising on the charts and was on FM radio like all the time! I was THRILLED to hear Bette on the radio again…it had been such a long time (her last hit single was “THE ROSE” in 1980…) And then her first hit studio album in years…”SOME PEOPLE’S LIVES”…came out thereafter which launched yet another hit single (“FROM A DISTANCE”…) Every Bette Midler album is a treasure…but it was nice to see a couple of them getting the recognition and accolades they ALL deserved (after so many “disappointing record sales” in terms of the recording studio ideal…) On a final note, I was ecstatic when Bette performed “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” on the Grammys right before her big win! Bette Midler was Back!

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