Higher Love

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"Higher Love"
Steve Winwood - Higher Love.jpeg
Single by Steve Winwood
from the album Back in the High Life
B-side "And I Go"
Released20 June 1986
Length5:45(Album Version)
4:14 (Single Version)
Label IslandIS 288
Producer(s) Russ Titelman
Steve Winwood singles chronology
"Higher Love"
"Freedom Overspill"
Audio sample
"Higher Love"

"Higher Love" is a 1986 song by English singer Steve Winwood. [1] It was the first single released from his fourth solo LP, Back in the High Life . It was written by Winwood and Will Jennings, and produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. The female vocals on the song were performed by Chaka Khan, who also appeared in the promotional music video.

Steve Winwood English musician

Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English singer and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboardist, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he recorded all instrumentation including drums, guitars, and keyboards.

Single (music) Type of music release usually containing one or two tracks

In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.

<i>Back in the High Life</i> 1986 studio album by Steve Winwood

Back in the High Life is the fourth solo studio album by English rock musician Steve Winwood. Released in 1986, it was a top ten hit on the album charts in the United States, peaking at #3, and has sold over five million copies. The single "Higher Love" topped the singles chart and won the Grammy Award for "Record of the Year"; "Back in the High Life Again", "The Finer Things", and "Freedom Overspill" were also big hits. After 20 years with the label, this was Winwood's last studio album with Island Records. While Winwood would play most of the instruments on this record, he would also have a number of guest musicians, unlike his prior several albums which were entirely recorded by Winwood on all instruments. The album also features collaborations in backing vocals, featuring Chaka Khan in "Higher Love", and James Taylor in "Back in the High Life Again". It also features the Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh performing slide guitar and co-writing the track "Split Decision".


"Higher Love" was Winwood's first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, topping the chart for one week. It was preceded by Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" and followed by "Venus" by Bananarama. The song also spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart and earned two Grammy Awards, for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It also peaked at number 13 in the United Kingdom, Winwood's highest charting solo hit there, and reached number one in Canada for a week.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Madonna (entertainer) American singer-songwriter and actress

Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress and businesswoman. Referred to as the "Queen of Pop" since the 1980s, Madonna is known for pushing the boundaries of songwriting in mainstream popular music and for the imagery she uses onstage and in music videos. She has frequently reinvented her music and image while maintaining autonomy within the recording industry. Although having sparked controversy, her works have been praised by music critics. Madonna is often cited as an influence by other artists.

Papa Dont Preach 1986 single by Madonna

"Papa Don't Preach" is a song by American singer Madonna from her third studio album True Blue (1986). The song was written by Brian Elliot with additional lyrics by Madonna, who produced it with Stephen Bray. The song also appears remixed on the 1990 compilation album The Immaculate Collection and in its original form on the 2009 compilation album Celebration. The song's musical style combines pop and classical styling, and its lyrics deal with teenage pregnancy and abortion. It was based on teen gossip Elliot heard outside his recording studio.

Music video

The music video, which uses the shorter single version, was shot in June 1986 by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif. The same duo shot an almost identical video for Duran Duran's "Notorious" in November of that year; coincidentally, both videos were nominated for several awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards though neither won. Chaka Khan appears in the video, as does Nile Rodgers, who plays guitar with the backing band.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

Duran Duran English New Wave band

Duran Duran are an English new wave band formed in Birmingham in 1978. The band were one of the most successful acts of the 1980s, but by the end of the decade, membership and music style changes challenged the band before a resurgence in the early 1990s. The group were a leading band in the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US in the 1980s. They achieved 14 singles in the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100, and have sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Notorious (Duran Duran song) 1986 song by Duran Duran

"Notorious" is the fourteenth single by the English new wave band Duran Duran. It was released internationally by EMI on 20 October 1986. "Notorious" was the first single issued from Duran Duran's fourth album Notorious (1986), and the first released by Duran Duran as a 3-piece band after the departure of Roger Taylor and Andy Taylor. It was a commercial success worldwide, reaching number seven on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, behind "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles, and was a success in various other countries.

Track listings

7": Island / IS 288 United Kingdom

  1. "Higher Love" - 4:14
  2. "And I Go" - 4:12

7": Island/ 7-28710 United States

  1. "Higher Love" - 4:14
  2. "And I Go" - 4:12

12": Island / 12 IS 288 United Kingdom

  1. "Higher Love" (Remix) - 7:45
  2. "Higher Love" (Instrumental) - 6:05
  3. "And I Go" 4:12

12": Island / PRO-A-2507 United States

  1. "Higher Love" (Edit) - 4:08
  2. "Higher Love" (LP Version) - 5:45


PPG Wave

The PPG Wave is a series of hybrid digital/analogue synthesizers built by the German company Palm Products GmbH from 1981 to 1987.

David Martin Frank is an American music producer, composer, classically trained pianist, and founding member of the 1980s R&B group the System. Yamaha Music calls him "the founding father of electronic R&B."

Philippe Saisse French musician

Philippe Saisse is a French smooth jazz and new-age music multi-instrumentalist, composer, record producer and arranger.

Charts and certifications


Whitney Houston recorded a cover which appears on her 1990 I'm Your Baby Tonight album Japan edition, and produced by Narada Michael Walden.

Whitney Houston American singer, actress, model, and record producer

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. She released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts—as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know"—influenced several African-American women artists who followed in her footsteps.

<i>Im Your Baby Tonight</i> 1990 studio album by Whitney Houston

I'm Your Baby Tonight is the third studio album of American singer Whitney Houston released on November 6, 1990 by Arista Records. The album has been certified quadruple platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Narada Michael Walden American musician

Narada Michael Walden is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He acquired the nickname Narada from Sri Chinmoy.

James Vincent McMorrow recorded a cover for his We Don't Eat extended Play.

James Vincent McMorrow musician

James Vincent McMorrow is an Irish singer and songwriter. He is best known for his albums Early in the Morning and Post Tropical.

Nick Jonas covered the song for his 2004 album Nicholas Jonas.

In media

"Higher Love" was featured in the closing credits of the 1988 Bette Midler - Lily Tomlin film Big Business .

The song also featured in the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V .

"Higher Love" is featured in the 2018 film Bumblebee (film).

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