“Wind Beneath My Wings” (sometimes titled “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Hero”) is the title of a song written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. They recorded a demo of the song, which they gave to musician Bob Montgomery. Montgomery then recorded his own demo version of the song, changing it from the mid-tempo version he was given to a ballad. Silbar and Henley then shopped the song to many artists, eventually resulting in Roger Whittaker becoming the first to release the song commercially. It appeared on his 1982 studio album, also titled Wind Beneath My Wings.
Following Whittaker’s recording, many other artists recorded the song, including Sheena Easton (who also recorded it in 1982). Easton’s version appeared on her 1982 studio album Madness, Money & Music, though it was not released as a single by her record company. She did, however, perform it on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, her HBO live concert special, as well as her NBC television special.
The first year “Wind Beneath My Wings” appeared on music industry trade publication charts in the United States was 1983. Singer Lou Rawls was the first to score a major hit with the song, as his version peaked at #10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, as well as #60 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart and #65 on the main Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Gladys Knight & The Pips also released a recording of the song in 1983 under the title “Hero”, and their version peaked at #64 on Billboard’ Hot Black Singles chart while also reaching #23 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. Singer Gary Morris released a country version of the song in 1983 that charted highest on any of the Billboard music charts that year. Morris’s version of the song peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, and also later won both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association awards for Song Of The Year.
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 #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 certitifed Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of one million copies in the United States.
“Wind Beneath My Wings” has also been recorded by Kerry Ellis, Colleen Hewett, Lee Greenwood, B.J. Thomas, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Patti LaBelle, Eddie & Gerald Levert, John Tesh, Judy Collins, Shirley Bassey, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, Sonata Arctica, Chyi Yu and Perry Como. Donald Braswell II recorded this song on his 2011 album, Unchained. Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his last album, Encore in 1989
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