Today’s song is, ‘Up Where We Belong’. This song was written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings. It was recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the 1982 film ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’. Warnes was recommended to sing a song from the film because of her previous soundtrack successes, and she had the idea for the song to be a duet that she would perform with Cocker. Jennings selected various sections of the score by Nitzsche and Sainte-Marie in creating the structure of the song and added lyrics about the struggles of life and love and the obstacles in the way that we attempt to dodge. It was released in July of that year to coincide with the release of the film.
The song reached Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ in the US and topped the charts in several other countries. It also sold more than one million copies in the US and was recognized by the ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ as one of the ‘Songs of the Century’. Cocker and Warnes were awarded the Grammy for ‘Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals’, and Nitzsche, Sainte-Marie, and Jennings won both the ‘Academy Award’ and ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song’.
At the time this song was released, I had separated from my wife and was going through an acrimonious divorce. While all the personal circumstances in my life were working their hardest to ‘lay me low’, I remained determined to make a fresh start and to move on with my life by adopting the most positive attitude I possibly could. I also reminded myself constantly that this world of ours only works because it turns on ‘an axis of love’ as openly expressed from one person to another. Holding hatred, giving false witness, sewing suspicion and spreading ill will against another will slow our world down but it will never be powerful enough to stop the world.
The sole control of saving the world is vested in the hands of the good deeds done daily and not the bad acts of humanity. While our good acts far outweigh our bad deeds tenfold, our wonderful world will continue to spin in an orbit of goodwill. Love is the prime giver and source of eternal goodness. It is the strongest sustenance of survival and the prime purpose of all our lives. We were born to love one another.
I have always been a person who held a half-full glass instead of a half-empty one, and it had been this positive belief system which had largely been responsible throughout my life of lifting me ever higher in my expectations so I would eventually turn the corner and succeed in the future. I am fortunate that I have never once been depressed in my life although there have been many occasions when I could so easily have exploded with anger. My research into the response patterns of individuals over a thirty years period would reveal that ‘depression’ is never the domain of the assertive or aggressive response pattern type (the response pattern type I am) but is overwhelmingly confined to the non-assertive and pronounced introvert type of person.
Ever since I met and married my lovely wife Sheila, we have both been ‘Up Where We Belong’. Despite having had to deal with four cancers in different parts of my body over the past two years; and having had four operations (under a full anaesthetic) and twenty sessions of radiotherapy over the past nine months, since I was first diagnosed with terminal Leukaemia six years ago, I have been happier with my life than ever previously experienced. This is largely down to having met and married my wonderful wife, Sheila. If any convincing was ever required that ‘Love’ is capable of conquering all, then surely the love that Sheila and I have for each other indisputably demonstrates that fact in the mountains we have climbed together.
I dedicate today’s song to my California Facebook friend, Mary Anderson. I know little about Mary’s private life, except that she is a firm believer in ‘goodness, the power of prayer and the inner peace that only a belief in self, others and one’s God are capable of providing. Her daily prayers, her warmth of expression and the loving thoughts she expresses ‘lift me up to where I belong’; indeed, ‘to where we all belong’. God bless you and your family Mary and thank you for being my Facebook friend across the sea.
Love and peace Bill xxx