Today’s song is ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’. This song was written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. The song was first recorded by Kamahl in 1982 for a country and western album he was recording. Kamahl talked about being the first to record the song in an appearance on an Australian TV show but stated it was not commercially released because it was felt he did not suit the country and western style.
Instead, Roger Whittaker recorded the song, as well as Sheena Easton and Lee Greenwood. The song appeared very shortly thereafter in charted versions by Colleen Hewett (1982), Lou Rawls (1983), Gladys Knight and the Pips (1983), and Gary Morris (1983).
The highest-charting version of the song to date was recorded in 1988 by singer and actress Bette Midler for the soundtrack to the film ‘Beaches’. This version was released as a single in early 1989, spent one week at Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ singles chart in June, 1989, and won Grammy Awards for both ‘Record of The Year’ and ‘Song of The Year’ in February 1990. On October 24, 1991, Midler's single was also certified Platinum for shipment of one million copies in the United States. In 2004 Midler's version finished at Number 44 in ‘AFI’S 100 Years of the Best 100 Songs’ survey of top tunes in American cinema. Perry Como recorded the song for his final studio album in 1987.
Perry Como wanted "Wind Beneath My Wings" released as a single, but RCA refused; Como was reportedly so angry, he vowed to never record for RCA Records ever again.
In a 2002 UK poll, "Wind Beneath My Wings" was found to be the most-played song at British funerals.
Although this song was first recorded in 1982, It was not until 1989 when Bette Midler recorded the song for the soundtrack to the film ‘Beaches’ which she starred in when it first registered in my mind. I was aged 39 years at the time and was watching this actress on the screen who impressed me as a marvellous comic actress. Then, when I heard the sound-track song in the background and later learned that it was Bette Midler singing the song I became instantly aware that I had witnessed a consummate performer of stage, screen and song that would not be easily forgotten in my mind.
All of us will usually experience one happy day in our lives where we feel that we can do whatever we set our minds to; even fly, were we to spread our wings and literally take off! When this most memorable experience hits us, we should never forget the person/people in our life who made it possible. It was they who first elevated our sight to a higher plane, and it was they who kept our highest of ambitions airborne. They are the ones who effectively keep the ‘wind beneath our wings’ by their breath of constant love; the most uplifting and powerful force in the universe.
None of us does what we do, go where we go or reach the heights we reach without having significant others believe in us and assist us on our journey. I will never forget a sports teacher called Mr McNamara from St Patrick’s RC School where I attended between the ages of 5-12 years. I was a very good footballer at the time with dreams of one day playing for Ireland (the country of my birth), and which my father had played soccer for in his early twenties. I was so skilful at football that at the age of 11 years, I had been allowed to play in the senior football team alongside 14 and 15-year-olds (where I remained a team member until a bad accident one year later prevented me walking for three years).
The sports teacher taught me and the rest of our football team something that was to remain a lifelong lesson. He taught us that our strengths can only possibly be shown off on the football field if our teammates feed us with the ball; thereby allowing our talent to be seen. He taught us that however talented a player we think ourselves to be, we will never get a kick of the ball and the opportunity to show others what skills we possess without the willingness and assistance of the team ‘we are a part of’. Mr McNamara was to teach us that ‘being in a team’ doesn’t mean that one ‘is a part of that team’. He reminded me that it takes more than the pilot in the front seat of the aircraft to fly a plane. It takes every other member of the team in the maintenance department, the airline sales promoters, the cleaners, the man who puts fuel in the tank; everybody in the entire team to ensure that the plane ever lifts off! The team of significant others whom we surround ourselves within our lives represent the ‘wind beneath our wings'. It is their loving support that keeps our sails at full speed and our ship afloat amidst stormy seas.
I received a text message yesterday from a Facebook friend of mine who lives between Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, Ireland and their second home in Turkey. Her message was brief and said, “Hi, I don't know you very well, but I look at your Facebook every day. I am in Turkey at present and I was at Mass at the ‘House of the Virgin Mary’ and lit a candle for your good health. I light a candle for you when I go to church.”
I have not the slightest of doubt as I enter my eighth year of a terminal blood cancer that usually has a life-span of four years maximum, that it is the prayers and the love of many hundreds of people from across the Facebook world, along with the love and support of my beautiful wife, Sheila, who remain the ‘wind beneath my wings’ and keep me in flight and my ship afloat
I dedicate today’s song to Helena Wong who lives in Hong Kong. Helena is my wife’s cousin on her mother’s side. Thank you for being my distant family member and Facebook friend, Helena, and thank you also for all your prayers ever said on my behalf. Bill and Sheila x
Love and peace Bill xxx