Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jennifer Warnes, The #90 Female Artist of the Rock Era*

Warnes was born in Seattle, Washington before her family moved to Anaheim, California.  She showed remarkable ability at an early age; she was offered a recording contract at age seven, which her father turned down.  Instead, Jennifer sang in church and local talent shows until age 17 when Immaculate Heart College offered her an opera scholarship.  Warnes, however, was attracted by the folk music of Joan Baez and in 1968, after a few years of musical theatre and clubs, signed with Parrot Records and recorded her first album.

That year, Warnes joined the cast of the popular television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  In November 1968, Warnes starred as the female lead in the Los Angeles production of Hair.  In 1971, Warnes met Canadian songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen and the two struck what has turned out to be a lifetime friendship.  Warnes toured Europe with Cohen in 1972 and 1979, first as a backup singer and then as vocal arranger and singer on seven of Cohen's albums.

In 1976, Warnes achieved her breakthrough with the release of the single "Right Time Of The Night".  The song rocketed to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #6 overall.

Warnes recorded "It Goes Like It Goes" for the 1979 movie Norma Rae.  The song captured the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Later that year, Warnes enjoyed another hit, albeit an underrated one, when "I Know A Heartache When I See One" was a Top 10 Country song and Top 20 on both the Popular and Adult Contemporary charts.

In 1981, Jennifer recorded a Randy Newman song ("One More Hour") for the movie Ragtime.  It was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars.

The following year, Warnes recorded the first of two monumental hits.  The song would be featured in one of the all-time classic movies, An Officer and a Gentleman.  Pairing with Joe Cocker, Warnes recorded "Up Where We Belong", which hit #1 for three weeks, has sold over two million copies in the United States alone and won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Warnes had reached stardom, and later that year, she recorded this version of James Taylor's "Millworker" for the PBS production of Working.

In 1983, Jennifer and Chris Thompson recorded the theme for Tom Cruise's movie All the Right Moves:

In 1987, Warnes had a role in the success of another movie, recording "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life for the movie Dirty Dancing.  The song was a smash, reaching #1 on the top format in radio, Adult Contemporary, for four weeks, and also hitting #1 on the "Top 40 charts".  The song was the third performed by Warnes to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and it also captured the Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for Duo or Group with Vocal.

Warnes recorded a duet with B.J. Thomas called "As Long As We've Got Each Other".  It was the theme for the television show Growing Pains for all but one season.

Warnes had four career top 40 hits, but three of them reached the Top 10, and she had the two huge #1 songs.  Jennifer won three Oscars and two Grammys in her career.

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