Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings

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.

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4 Responses to Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings

  1. tPenguinLTG says:

    I never did mind this song. It is well sung, for one.

  2. RBerman says:

    I like Roger Whittaker and the whole crooner genre; there’s something to be said for quality vocal tone and classic arrangements. I also didn’t realize this song had so many recordings before Bette Midler: Gladys Knight, Lou Rawls, Sheena Easton, and more. Just goes to show once again that if you want your recording to be a hit, get it into a movie.

    As for this recording: Those clavichord keyboard samples sure were popular in the 80s. Then there’s a keyboard pad in the background, and of course synth bass in the rhythm section. Midler had not had a real hit since 1980’s film and single “The Rose.” She hadn’t even released an album in six years, though she’d had a few film and TV roles, including one Golden Globe comedy nomination.

    I don’t read the lyrics bitterly. Every successful entertainer knows lots of talented colleagues who never got a break, or never got the credit they were due. I take this one at face value, as a “thank you” to the faceless ones.

    We narrowly missed hearing this song’s co-author back when you were covering 1964; in that year of Beatlemania, Larry Henley sang a falsetto lead for The Newbeats on their #2 hit “Bread and Butter.” Not a track that changed the direction of pop music.

  3. V.E.G. says:

    All of a sudden, everything I hear the song of Wind Beneath My Wings with Bette Midler, the old style from 1968 to 1982 Montgomery Ward sign appears and the face of Montgomery Ward, the person.

  4. V.E.G. says:

    Correction:
    All of a sudden, every time I hear the song of Wind Beneath My Wings with Bette Midler, the old style from 1968 to 1982 Montgomery Ward sign appears and the face of Montgomery Ward, the person.

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