First Hit #1: June 10, 1989
I was ready to dismiss Wind Beneath My Wings as a bit of particularly pungent cheese. It has that chorus, which can’t help but elicit a groan every time I hear it, a bunch of insincere Hallmark card nonsense, rendered in the most maudlin way possible by the otherwise talented Bette Midler.
Then I listened to the lyrics, and it’s actually kind of a dick move. It’s about a famous and spectacular person who is just riding on the coattails of someone else, someone who does all the work, and gets none of the rewards. They do get a sappy chorus on the soundtrack of Beaches I guess, but otherwise it’s just a song about how much the real power in the relationship got screwed.
The funny thing is, it kind of cuts both ways. It’s a song about the uncredited understudy, but it’s clearly not written by Bette Midler (or Roger Whittaker, for that matter, who originated the song) so is this a put upon assistant taking the piss? A songwriter trying to stealthily get credit for their role in a pop star’s career? In spite of the chorus, the cheesy flavor doesn’t do much to hide a bitter center.