Monday, May 15, 2017

Jeffrey Osborne - On the Wings of Love (1982)

 On the Wings of Love
b/w I'm Beggin'

Released: 1982 (A&M)
Written by: Jeffrey Osborne & Peter Schless
Produced by: George Duke
Album: Jeffrey Osborne

 U. S. Billboard Charts:
 Hot 100 29
 Adult Contemporary 7

A vastly underrated and mostly forgotten gem of adult contemporary deliciousness. And when I say underrated, I include myself in that club: I placed this song at #45 in my list of the Top 82 singles of 1982. If I were redoing that list today, the song might be 20 spots higher. (After further re-examination of that list, I can see I need a do over, but that's for another time.)

Osborne was the lead singer of L.T.D. until 1981, when he left the group for a solo career. This single came from his self-titled first solo album. Lots of familiar names on that album and this cut: George Duke, Michael Sembello, and Abe Laboriel.

This song didn't fit into the hipster New Wave "Johnny Slash" image I was trying to cultivate in 1982 so it didn't get any play time in the Markmobile, but in the privacy of my home, it was a different story. The intro and verse are fantastic but they don't compare to the bridge and the soaring chorus. I will confess to singing this song many times over the past 35 years - sometimes I hit the notes, sometimes I don't, sometimes the neighborhood dogs start howling. The bouncy eighth note bridge extends the normal eight measure form to nine measures to add a little tension and then the key modulates from G up to A flat and the whole thing moves to another level.

Sadly, the only time I've heard this song on radio or TV lately has been in parody or melodrama. My theory for its lack of respect and success? It's range makes it too difficult to sing along with. If it were easier, it would have been a wedding staple for at least a decade. But then it wouldn't be what it is.

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