Bette Midler Song Trivia


Buckets Of Rain

Nuggets Of Rain [no label, 1CD]
Outtakes. Recorded at 2900 Secret Sound Studios, New York City, New York, October 1975.

Towards the end of 2009, a new Bob Dylan bootleg, Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975, surfaced which contained the following:

September 16 1974
1 – Idiot Wind – take 6, overdubbed on Oct 8 Test Pressing
2 – Lily, Rosemary & The Jack Of Hearts- Take 1 Test Pressing, September 17 1974
3 – You’re A Big Girl Now – Take 2 Upgrade to Biograph Version, September 19 1974
4 – If You See Her Say Hello – Take 1 Test Pressing
5 – Tangled Up In Blue – Take 2 or 3 Test Pressing, Studio E Columbia Studios N.Y.C. 14 July 1975
6 – Rita Mae – Studio E Columbia Studios N.Y.C. 20 July 1975
7 – Hurricane, Secret Sound Studios N.Y.C. Oct 75
8 – Bob Dylan / Bette Midler Buckets Of Rain sessions (Uncirculated tape) 27 Mins
9 – Buckets Of Rain (Finished Version ) released in 1976 on Songs For The New Depression

One of the highlights is the newly-found tape of Dylan’s sessions with Bette Midler in October, 1975 which produced her cover of Buckets Of Rain. The bootlegger says: “It opens with some upgrades of the original Blood On The Tracks sessions from September 1974, and progresses chronologically through some early Desire sessions, winding up to the main event: almost half an hour of never-heard October 1975 session outtakes of the recording of Bette Midler’s cover of Buckets Of Rain with Dylan, which would show up on her Songs For The New Depression album the following January.”

While we do not have the complete bootleg, thanks to dag2006 who shared the Bette Midler sessions on the net, readers can now have that fly-on-the-wall experience of being in the studio with Dylan and Midler. noted: “At one point Midler says, ’I can’t sing I Ain’t No Monkey, but Dylan gets her to do it. At one point in the session they get into a great version of I Don’t Believe You lead by [Moogy] Klingman on the piano. Some may question the value, but tapes like this, which reveal Dylan and his creative process, are extremely rare and valuable. This also give insight into him working with an up and coming star Bette Midler.”

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, a song about a virtuoso trumpet player, was a major hit for the Andrews Sisters and an iconic World War II tune.

The song was written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, and was recorded at Decca’s Hollywood studios on January 2, 1941, eleven months before the United States entered World War II. The sisters introduced the song in the 1941 Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates, which was in production when they made the record. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

The song is closely based on an earlier Raye-Prince hit, “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar,” which is about a virtuoso boogie-woogie piano player.

In an interview broadcast July 3, 2006 on CNN, World War II veteran Bill Arter said he often played in jam sessions with the black unit in Company C, who gave him the nickname Bugle Boy from Company B. Arter was a medic who landed during D-day. There is no evidence that he was the inspiration for the song, however, since it was written before the U.S. entered the war. He may have been dubbed the Bugle Boy from Company B in reference to the song, not the other way around.

It was re-recorded by Bette Midler, who took it to the top ten on the U.S. pop singles charts in 1973.

In 1976, MCA Music sued Earl Wilson and his associates for copyright infringement over a sexually explicit parody in Phil Oesterman’s musical Let My People Come.

The all-female R&B group En Vogue recorded an updated version of the song on their 1990 debut album Born To Sing.

In the early 1990s the group 2 In A Tank created a re-mix of the song. It is very rare, usually only found on records.

In 2006, The Puppini Sisters covered the song for their debut single. It was predicted to be “the big hit of the summer” by the Evening Standard.

Delta Dawn

“Delta Dawn” was a song written by former child rockabilly star Larry Collins, and recorded by a number of female artists, most notably, Helen Reddy and Tanya Tucker, whose versions topped the pop and country charts, respectively. Included on Tucker’s first album, the song was released as a single and became the then thirteen-year old’s first hit. Reddy cut the song shortly after Tucker’s version became a hit, and her version became the seventh-highest selling single for the year 1973, hitting number one on the week ending September 15. Barbra Streisand was originally to have recorded the song, and a backing track was recorded, but upon hearing it, Streisand did not like the tune and refused to provide vocals. It was at this time that Reddy was approached to provide vocals for the already recorded backing track. Following the success of her widely popular 1972 single “I Am Woman”, Reddy’s version of “Delta Dawn” sold over a million copies upon its first release.

In addition to Reddy and Tucker, Bette Midler has long been associated with “Delta Dawn”, having included it on one of her early albums. She had heard the song in Nashville, memorized it, and performed it three times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Midler actually attempted to release her version as a single, but as luck would have it, Reddy’s version was released a mere two days before Midler’s, and most radio stations ended up preferring Reddy’s recording; Midler’s’ version of the song was then moved to the B-side of her single release. [1] (Things ended up working out for Midler, just the same, as she also had a number-one pop hit with her single’s flip side, a remake of the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.)

The song is about a woman from Brownsville who earned the nickname “Delta Dawn” in her youth for her unmatched beauty and grace. After being dumped by a deceptive suitor, she lost her splendor and went insane, and now spends her days waiting for the return of her lost love. Although the song has a Southern gospel feel (as evidenced by the song’s introduction by a choir, as well as the lyrics providing the setting of the song in the Deep South), Reddy is from Australia, and trained her voice accordingly to mask her accent.

In addition to Reddy, Tucker and Midler, “Delta Dawn” was also covered by Teresa Brewer and, in more recent years, by the punk rock band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, on their album Ruin Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah.

It was also sung by Monica Geller in an episode of the hit sitcom, Friends (“TOW Monica Sings”). In this episode, her singing is greeted with raptuous applause, but only because the stage light causes her shirt to become transparent without her realizing.

From a Distance

The song, From a Distance was written in 1985 by Julie Gold, who was working as a secretary at the time for HBO and writing songs in her free time. Gold’s friend, Christine Lavin introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who first recorded it for her 1987 release, Lone Star State of Mind. It quickly became a favorite of Griffith’s fans around the world. The song reached commercial success when it was recorded in 1990 by Bette Midler for the album Some People’s Lives, and went on to win a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991. Bette Midler re-recorded a christmas version for her 2006 Christmas Album, Cool Yule, with additional lyrics by Midler, Robbie Buchanan and Jay Landers. Additional recordings of the original have been performed by Gold, Griffith, Simon Nicol (of Fairport Convention) and many others.

The song seems to be about how distance, both physical and emotional, can change perceptions, though perhaps not always for the better. It has a hopeful message about how God is watching us, suggesting that, even though there are wars, cruelty, calamity, and want, somehow, someway, we may yet have a little peace and love in this world.

Another interpretation is that the perception of love and peace only exists “from a distance” and that the reality is not being addressed. It suggests that God doesn’t actually act on our problems, and is only an observer. This perception is heightened when the lyrics are actually examined. From a distance no one is in need, and there are no hungry mouths to feed. God is watching us from a distance. In other words, God is so far from human experience as to not be able to see, and thus respond, to hunger or need. Hardly a message of hope.

Somewhat ironically, much of the song’s popularity coincided with the first Persian Gulf War. It received a “Minute Man Award” from the United States Army for inspiring the troops and a “Seven Seals Award” from the Department of Defense.

The song also won a “3 Million Airs Award” from BMI.

On VH1’s list of the “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever” (compiled with Blender Magazine), Bette Midler’s recording of this song ranked #37 [1].

In the mid 90’s many Los Angeles area public schools had their 5th and 6th graders sing this song in their music classes.

In 1992, singer-songwriter Jay Mankita wrote a parody, From a Dog’s Stance, which appeared in Sing Out! magazine and was later included on his recording, Dogs Are Watching Us. [2]

I’m Beautiful

“I’m Beautiful” is a song by Bette Midler, featured on her 1998 album Bathhouse Betty. In the song Midler revisits the brassy “Divine Miss M” persona with which she first rose to fame in the early 1970s and explains that she has found the secret to a happy life: believe that you’re beautiful no matter what others say (“I’m beautiful, I’m beautiful, I’m beautiful, dammit!”). In 1999 a remix of the song reached number one on the U.S. dance chart. See alsoNumber 1 Dance Hits of 1999

This song is actually a remake of the original performed by the house music group Uncanny Alliance

Mele Kalikimaka

In the Hawaiian language, mele Kalikimaka is the translation of “merry Christmas”, and is used as such around Christmastime in Hawaii. The song “Mele Kalikimaka” (derived from the greeting) was penned by Robert Anderson. One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca 27228(78rpm) / 9-27228(45rpm) and has been sung by several artists:

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
Arthur Lyman
Chris Isaak
Jimmy Buffett
Reel Big Fish
One Eighty
Nick Hexum
Blue Hawaiians, from Christmas On Big Island
Willie K, from Willie Kalikimaka
Orbie Custinger, from Mele Kalikimaka
Kanilau, from Mele Kalikimaka From Kanilau
Genoa Keawe & her hula maids, on the compilation album Vintage Hawaiian Treasures,
on the compilation
as “Mele Kalikimaka Ia ‘Oe” on Hawaiian Style Christmas


“Superstar” is a 1969 song written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett, that has been a hit for many artists in different genres and interpretations in the years since; the most known version is by The Carpenters in 1971. Original Delaney and Bonnie versionAccounts of the song’s origin vary somewhat, but it grew out of the late 1969/early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, that involved Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was “Groupie Song”.

In its first recorded incarnation, the song was called “Groupie (Superstar)”, and was recorded and released as a B-side to the Delaney & Bonnie single “Comin’ Home” in December 1969. Released by Atlantic Records, the full credit on the single was to Delaney & Bonnie and Friends Featuring Eric Clapton.

Sung by Bonnie, the arrangement featured slow guitar and bass parts building up to an almost gospelish chorus using horns.

The song was about, as the title suggests, a groupie who holds a strong love for a rock star after a short sexual involvement. He has moved on to the next town, and despite his promises to see her again she can now only hear him on the radio. She is just left with the pure hopeless yearning of the chorus:

Don’t you remember! You told me you loved me, baby
You said you’d be coming back this way again, baby
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby, I love you! I really do …

Delaney & Bonnie were not yet well known at the time, and “Comin’ Home” only reached number 84 on the U.S. pop singles chart, although it achieved a peak of sixteen on the UK Singles Chart. Mad Dogs and Englishmen versionDuring the first half of 1970, Joe Cocker’s legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen Revue toured in the United States. Rita Coolidge was a backup singer on this tour, and song co-writer Leon Russell was the bandleader. Some accounts have Coolidge suggesting or inspiring the song’s creation in the first place, and working with Bonnie Bramlett on her portion of the writing. In any case, Coolidge was given a featured vocal on the song during the tour, with Russell’s piano driving the arrangement.

In August 1970, the live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen was released, using performances recorded in March and June of that year. Now under the name “Superstar”, the song appeared on it. The album became a huge hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard pop albums chart and number 23 on the Billboard Black Albums chart. So it was on this album that people started becoming aware of the song. The performance helped vault Coolidge to greater visibility, especially when it was also included in the 1971 Mad Dogs and Englishmen film of the revue. Bette Midler versionThe unknown but very lively singer Bette Midler began making regular appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in August 1970. During one such appearance, she sang “Superstar”.

Later, once The Carpenters’ version had become a hit, she sang it again on The Tonight Show in October 1971. Her recording of it then appeared on her 1972 debut album The Divine Miss M. Other early versionsAround September 1970, Cher recorded “Superstar” as her last single for Atco Records. Released in October or November of 1970, and in the gap between Sonny and Cher’s heyday and the start of Cher’s solo successes, it did not chart. After the song became better known, a concert performance of it was included in the 1973 Sonny & Cher In Las Vegas, Volume 2.

Next up was Australian singer Colleen Hewett’s recording of “Superstar”, which was released by May 1971 and became a moderate hit in Australia. The Carpenters version”Superstar” became its biggest hit version for The Carpenters. Richard Carpenter was unaware of the Bramlett or Mad Dogs originals, but as he later wrote in a compilation album’s liner notes: “I came home from the studio one night and heard a then relatively unknown Bette Midler performing this song on the Tonight Show. I could barely wait to arrange and record it. (It remains one of my favorites).”

Carpenter’s arrangement featured Karen Carpenter’s clear contralto voice set against a quiet bass line in the verses, which then built up to up-tempo choruses with a quasi-orchestral use of horns and strings. Produced by Richard with Jack Daugherty, it was recorded with members of the famed Los Angeles session musicians The Wrecking Crew. It is said that Karen Carpenter recorded her vocal in just one take, using lyrics scribbled on a napkin. Since the song’s subject was more risqué than usual for the clean-cut image of The Carpenters, Richard changed a lyric in the second verse from And I can hardly wait / To sleep with you again, to the far less explicit … To be with you again.

The duo’s rendition was included on their May 1971 album Carpenters, and then released as a single in September 1971. It rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart that autumn and earned gold record status. It also reached number 18 on the UK pop singles chart and did well in Australia and New Zealand as well.

Richard Carpenter would be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for his efforts. “Superstar” would go on to appear on two mid-1970s Carpenters live albums as well as innumerable compilation albums.

Opinion is divided as to whether The Carpenters’ treatment of the song lost the meaning of the original, or subversively kept that meaning under the cover of their image, or found a more broader meaning that established the song as a standard for years to come, or some combination of these. Back to BonnieThe original Delaney and Bonnie version would finally surface on an album in 1972 when The Best of Delaney & Bonnie was released, around the time that their marriage and collaboration ended. It also was included as a bonus track on a 2006 reissue of the 1970 album Eric Clapton.

Bonnie Bramlett would later re-record the song on her 2002 solo album I’m Still the Same. Now using just the “Superstar” title, she did it as a very slow, piano-based torch song. Luther Vandross versionIn the early 1980s American R&B singer Luther Vandross had “Superstar” in his stage act, sometimes in a rendition that stretched out at nearly six minutes, with vocal interpolations, an interpretive dancer, and plenty of swaying and swooning females in the audience.

Vandross then recorded “Superstar” in 1983 in a slower, more soulful fashion, as part of a medley with “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” on his album Busy Body. Released as a single the following year, it became an R&B hit, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Top R&B Singles chart. It did not have much pop crossover effect, however, only reaching number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100.

This was the first prominent version by a male singer, and by now the original “groupie” association was far gone. Instead, the song was presented as a tale of universal longing. Ruben Studdard versionSecond-season American Idol contestant Ruben Studdard found his melismatic, R&B groove early in the Final 12 rounds when he performed a Vandross-influenced “Superstar”. It got rave reviews from the judges and established Studdard as one of the early leaders in the competition, a position he held until winning the title in May 2003 in a close battle against Clay Aiken.

By now his signature song, Studdard recorded “Superstar” as the B-side of his June 2003 first single, “Flying Without Wings”. Studdard would earn a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar”, but lose out to his idol Vandross.

The Rose

“The Rose” is a pop song written by Amanda McBroom and featured in the 1979 movie The Rose, in which it was performed by Bette Midler. Midler hit #3 on the U.S. pop charts with her version, which was certified as a gold single. Since then it has been covered by a variety of artists.

In the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite the song was featured in a deliberately mediocre dance by the “Happy Hands Club.”

A Japanese translation of the song titled “Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa Sono Tane” (“Love is a Flower, You are the Seed”) was the ending theme of Studio Ghibli’s 1991 anime feature Omohide Poro Poro (“Only Yesterday”), performed by Miyako Harumi.

LeAnn Rimes’ 1997 album You Light Up My Life includes “The Rose” as one of the tracks. Bianca Ryan, who has also covered other songs by Rimes, includes “The Rose” in her ”eponymous debut album.

In November 2006, the Irish boyband Westlife released “The Rose” as the first single from their new album. The single reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart, registering a huge climb to get there, as it had charted at #143 the week before based solely on download sales.

The song is about how people think that love is represented by a variety of different symbols. The singer says that love is best represented by a rose, which goes through much difficulty but later becomes beautiful

Wind Beneath My Wings

“Wind Beneath My Wings” is a number-one single by Bette Midler from the soundtrack of the movie Beaches. Written by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar,[1] it has also been recorded by Perry Como, Lee Greenwood, Willie Nelson, Kiki Carter, Nana Mouskouri and Sonata Arctica, among many others. Also was performed on Season Three of the hit Fox television show American Idol by semi-finalist Marque Lynche and again on Season Five by finalist Paris Bennett, who was criticized after the song choice by judge Simon Cowell as, “sounding too old for your age.”

It is often erroneously stated that the song was written for Midler; in reality, she was far from the first to record it. Sheena Easton and Roger Whittaker both released versions of the song in 1982, though neither had a hit with it. The song hit various U.S. charts the following year in versions by Gary Morris, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Lou Rawls.

In a recent UK poll, “Wind Beneath My Wings” was found to be the most played song at British funerals.[2]

The song was chosen as one of the Songs of the Century by the RIAA.

Bette Midler – In These Shoes (CD Maxi Single) (2001)

Released in 2001, “In These Shoes” is off of Midler’s 2000 album – “Bette.” According to All Music, “Bette” was her second and final record on Warner Brothers Records. She was dropped after declining sales, eventually signing with Columbia. The track was written by Kirsty MacColl & Pete Glenister.

1.) In These Shoes (Radio Mix) 4:10 (Remix By Jonathan Peters & Tony Coluccio)
Great radio remix. This one is jazzy and campy preserving the sound of the original.

2.) In These Shoes (Soundfactory Vox Mix) 9:07 (Remix By Jonathan Peters & Tony Coluccio)
This mix hits the ground running! Starting out with Bette Midler commanding our attention – finally screaming out “Shut the fuck up!” Love it! I don’t know where that part came from because I don’t think it’s in the original track. This mix is totally high energy and I love it! Vocals start in around 2:40 and start with the first verse. Still no trace of the original instrumentation it’s just Bette’s voice over a house beat. The vocals don’t really extend beyond the song’s first verse. I wish there was more vocal here. It’s still a lot of fun though.

***3.) In These Shoes (Mark’s Heels To Platforms Vocal Mix) 8:35 (Remixed by Mark Picchiotti)
I love a lot of Mark Picchiotti’s remixes, most recently his remixes of Sia’s “The Girl You Lost To Cocaine.” This Bette mix is a lot of fun! High energy with a bit of the original jazzy sound from the original. Vocals start in at around 2:30 with the first verse. This is the only mix (other than the Radio Mix and the Extended Radio Remix) that uses all of the verses…or at least most of the verses. This is hands down my favorite mix on the Maxi.

4.) In These Shoes (Other Side Mix) 7:57 (Remixed by Jonathan Peters & Tony Coluccio)
Good mix. The vocals come in at nearly 4 minutes into the track. The first half of the song is hot. The only vocal present on this track is the Spanish chorus – repeated over and over. Not full vox, but that’s OK. Still plenty enjoyable.

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